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The only gift that her new son received that he didn’t outgrow was books. When Susannah Altman left the field of clinical psychology to raise a family, she never thought a baby gift would lead her to a business venture. “Coming from a family of avid readers, books became the gift of choice for my friends’ new babies. I created a book basket for a shower and the moms there raved about it and asked me to make the gift for them to give. This is when I realized I had the seed of a new business.”
After leaving her career and staying at home with her kids, she thought to herself, “I’ve been looking for my own business and this could be it,” so Susannah set out to get organized. She started with a name and a logo. “I wanted the name to tell what I did and give a feeling of whimsy, so I came up with The Enchanted Bookery.” Next she began to set up accounts with the publishers of her favorite children’s books.
Now she needed to do some marketing and started building a mailing list that included her friends and family. This was in 1996 and pre-internet so Susannah sent out mailers about her new business to potential clients. Orders started to come in from this process, from word of mouth and from gift recipients. She had taken books that children love and packaged them in a fun, new way.
The baskets of books are created around themes and can be tailored to age and gender. For example if you need a gift for a boy who loves things with wheels, Susannah will create a basket of books that focuses on cars, trucks and the like and she packages the books in a Radio Flyer wagon – so cute. Or if you want to give a baby the classics, Susannah says, “I love popular books like Good Night Moon, The Giving Tree, and Dr. Suess’ Oh The Places You’ll Go, ” books that should be in every collection.
The Enchanted Bookery ships charming book collections all over the world. Now that Susannah’s kids are older she decided to take on a partner to expand her clientele and her corporate client base. By chance, a long time customer and mom who lived nearby was looking for a new venture, “Lynne was a big fan of The Enchanted Bookery so it was a perfect match.”
Susannah and Lynne are constantly researching to keep up with new trends and are always looking for books that children will love. Moving into the online world in 2001, Susannah created a web site for The Enchanted Bookery and Social Media has become a big part of their sales strategy.
When asked when their high season is, Susannah says, “There are new babies all year long, so we are always busy. I love that I have created my own business and can run it from home.” Clients can pick their own book theme, or choose a basket with a focus found on the site; with books, the sky is the limit.
Take an old idea and add your own creative spin on it to create a venture.