What compelled a working mum to start selling low price children’s books?
I’m often asked where the idea for Books & Pieces came from, so I thought I’d share my story of how I went from a PR professional to a children’s bookseller.
I started Books & Pieces in early 2012 when I was heavily pregnant with my second son. I’ve always been a bit of a bookworm myself and after my eldest was born we quickly built up a good collection of children’s books. I got a lot of my books second hand from friends and relatives, with the odd charity shop find – new books can be expensive after all! We would also regularly visit the local libraries to pick out new books and join in their Wriggly Readers sessions too.
The light bulb moment
I’d often see book sellers at craft fairs or children’s events, but their books were full price and I knew I could get the same titles online or in the supermarket for less – and this is where I had my light bulb moment… what if I could source brilliant children’s books that I would read with my own children and sell them at really low prices?
So I set about researching the children’s book market and sourcing suppliers that could provide me with the books I loved at the lowest prices. I did my first event in Spring 2012 – it was a small table top sale in a neighbouring village, and my stand looked vastly different to what you see today.
Over the years I’ve refined and improved my business, I’ve tested out different ideas, I’ve found new suppliers and hugely expanded my range, and I’ve added another two children to our family – both of whom have attended various events with me in a baby sling! I also kept up my day job (public relations at a university, if you wanted to know!) until Christmas 2016 when it just wasn’t feasible to do it all, so I put on my big girl pants and made the leap to become full-time self-employed and haven’t looked back.
The best value children’s books
I love what I do, and I get such a thrill at finding brilliant books I can sell in my 3 for £10 offer. I’m a real bargain hunter in my day-to-day life (my friends often come to me to find out where they can get different products at the best prices) and so Books & Pieces brings together my love of a bargain with my love of books.
I spend a lot of time sourcing children’s books for my 3 for £10 deal that I would read to my own children and that I know my customers will love. I am so encouraged by those customers who enjoyed my recommended books so much that they return for new suggestions when their little ones reach a new milestone. My ethos is about selecting quality books rather than just picking any old chuff I can sell at a low price – and that’s what I’m becoming known for, which is just awesome.
Why children’s books?
Books have played such a huge role in our family life. I’ve read with my boys since they were babies, and I’ve always encouraged the boys to enjoy and share books together too. It’s had a HUGE impact on their language development – teachers, nursery workers and friends are always commenting on how advanced their language is. And for me personally, I love those special moments snuggling up with my boys and a book. My boys are a bit rowdy, to say the least, but as soon as a book comes out they all gather round and sit nicely (and quietly!) to enjoy the story. Not a day goes by that we don’t read at least one book together – some days it could be close to 10.
My business is constantly evolving. I’ve got so many ideas for growing Books & Pieces and making it easier for families to buy children’s books they love at prices they’ll adore too.
Long-term, I would love to be able to employ other parents who are looking to work flexibly around their families. It’s hard work getting the work-life balance right when you have children, and it’s even harder to find a job that fits around school hours and holidays.
But my ultimate mission is just to get more families reading with their little people. If I can introduce new families to the joy of books and they can get just a fraction of the fun from them that we’ve had in our own family then I’ll consider that a job well done!
Get regular tips for enjoying books with your children via my facebook page.