Hello! I wanted to start a Friday series where I interview some of my favorite small bookish companies and let them take over a post on Fridays. I have been friends with Laura since last June when I held my first rep search for BibliophilePrints. Laura has since been a huge inspiration within my store and one of my biggest cheerleaders and supporters. In turn, when she opened up her own shop BookishStarDesigns , I helped her start her Etsy page and brand her with her logo. We have shared so much more than just business tips and some nights we find ourselves talking wayyy too late and daydreaming about getting a chance to visit one another. (She is all the way in Minnesota, and I am down here in Texas – so far – *cries*) I am thankful to have her as a friend, supporter, and mentor in so many things that I am passionate about.
I did interview her over email, so here are the questions and answers I received!
1 How did you get started on Bookstagram?
Riddles Tea Shoppe rep search. *laugh* So, backstory.. I never ever thought I could be a bookstagrammer. I’d always admired the lovely photos and set up, and to be a rep for awesome bookish companies would be a dream come true, but to actually imagine myself doing it? I knew I wouldn’t be good enough to compete with the awesome accounts I saw. Well, my best friend saw my desire and encouraged me to give it a try. She believed in me, and thanks to her, I started. It was hard at first. I had huge confidence issues, but everyone on bookstagram is so wonderful, awesome and supportive, I fell in love with the community and learned more and more as I went. It’s so fun to share my bookish love with others who instantly just “get it.” And nope, I still haven’t snagged that dream Riddles Tea Shoppe rep spot. Someday! 🙂
2. What was the inspiration for Bookish Star Designs?
Well, I had already been sewing rice bags as a fun way to earn money at local craft shops/shows, and I even had them featured in a store in my hometown, but it was always in the back of my mind, “Should I make an etsy shop?” I talked myself out of it a few times, just due to all the unknowns, but finally in July, I took the plunge, and made my etsy shop.
I just love natural calming ways to relax, and I hoped others would love my rice bags & fandom prints, and you all do! It’s awesome and amazing.
3. You are famous for your #TeaTuesday posts, what is your favorite type of tea and do you have a favorite company you buy tea from?
It makes me smile that I’m now famous for #TeaTuesdays, because initially, when I started my little account, I wanted a way to be unique and stand out, and since I adore tea, and had a lot of pretty tea things, I decided to start a #TeaTuesday weekly post where I could feature my favorite teas, to share with others. I also figured it’d be a great place to practice my tea photos to hopefully get a tea rep spot, and it was! Plus, they’re some of my favorite photos to take. I just love them.
I am a sucker for any fruit teas. That’s really my jive, although I do love a strong cup of black tea with cream, and a delicious herbal or green tea with honey. Some of my favorite tea companies on IG are Grimoire Tea, Bookish Teas, and Riddles Tea Shoppe.
4. If you were trapped on a desert island and had a limited library of ten books, what would they be?
Oh man. Probably a few Harry Potter books, the Illuminae trilogy, ACOMAF, Mark of Athena, Everything Everything, and some Bardugo titles.
5. What are your future goals or dreams for your bookstagram, company, or other goals and dreams you hope to achieve in the bookish world?
I actually LOVE to rep for companies, its one of my passions. Not just to get free stuff, but to get to know the fabulous owners, other reps, and to help them build & expand their business. I have a small list of companies I’d someday love to work with, so here’s hoping some of those get to happen someday. Especially a book box! I’d love that.
When I started my small account, I thought I’d finally “arrive” the day I was sent free books from companies and authors to feature on my page. And thanks so some awesome Book Tour companies, that’s started to happen, and I just love it. Free books are a great perk of bookstagram!
And honestly, my shop dreams have already happened. In October, my shop exploded with sales, and really took off, and I was SO not expecting that. To see so many people love my products was incredible. I recently reached 1,000 sales and still can’t believe it. I’m so thrilled & excited. But I’m excited to see what the future holds. I’d love to collab with a few more book boxes! That’d be really fun.
6. Do you have any hobbies that don’t get featured on Instagram as much?
I actually am a homemaker at heart, and I love to garden, can and preserve foods for my family of 6. We live on a small rural hobby farm, and I love all that comes with it. Well, maybe not watering my chickens in winter. That just stinks. *laughs*
I’m also a huge movie buff, and love any PBS and BBC dramas. I love to travel and explore new places, and am a huge aspiring foodie. I love trying foods from different cultures.
7. Imagine you are throwing a character dinner party. Which characters would you invite and why?
Hm.. I’d love Nina Zenik & Nikolai, (Their one liners & sass are epic) Jace Lightwood (he’d be so fun to have at a dinner party!) Nik Malikov & Ella Malikova (their conversations would be epic) and Ginny Weasley, (she’s my fave HP character) I think that sounds like a crazy fun dinner!
8. You are a homeschooling mama to 4 kiddos, and as a teacher I understand how difficult that must be. What do you do to make homeschooling fun for you and for your kids? If you could recommend 5 books to teachers and parents for all kids to read, what would they be? (Sorry I know that is two questions…they just go together)
Yes, honestly as a 2nd generation homeschooler, ( my parents homeschooled me) I thought I’d have this homeschooling thing in the bag. But, wow.. it’s a lot more work & sacrifice than I thought. But it’s worth it to have my kids at home and know exactly what theyre learning, and to control the speed/timing/scheduling etc. To make homeschooling fun, I do a lot of field trips, and we participate in a homeschooler’s co-op, which is a group of fellow homeschoolers who get together 2x a month for fun classes with their friends/peers & mom time for us. It keep us all sane! haha.
As far as books, Harry Potter, Narnia and Percy Jackson books I will forever recommend to those starting with elementary readers, for parent read-alongs. I’m not much of a non-fiction reader, which might be horrible as a teacher, but I do love historical fiction, either kid or YA. Things like “Magic Tree House” “Dear America books” “American Girl books” and the like. It’s a great way to get kids interested in history and the world around them, while still being fun. Just find something your kid loves and read it with them. It’s that simple.
9. Running a small business is so rewarding and so difficult at the same time. What is the best part about it for you, and the worst part?
I love having a small business, but my danger is letting it take over. I love it so much I’ll gladly put aside other parts of my life (housework, teaching, etc) to put my full self into it. So, I very occasionally just step back and do as much as I can, when I can. The best part also goes right along with it, is getting to choose your own hours, work when you want to, and meeting all my fabulous customers, and my reps, and hearing their reviews. It’s so worthwhile!
10. If you could give a newbie to #bookstagram some advice, what would it be?
Your account should be a reflection of YOU. Do it your own way, at your own speed. And don’t worry about the quality of your first few photos, or compare yourself to other accounts that have been posting for years. You WILL get better and learn more as you go. Have fun with it, and just enjoy this magical bookish community and your journey. We’re all here for you. Don’t let it stress you out. Bookstagram should be FUN. Enjoy it!
Please visit Laura’s Instagram page HERE
and her shop instagram HERE
to join in all the #bookstagram fun!
Laura also has a blog so step on over to check out what she writes about over on ToReadisToBreathe
Also go grab a ricebag from her whether or not you care about books because these things are HANDY.
All Photos from this post are from Laura’s Instagram! Thanks so much Laura.
Who would you like me to feature for a feature Friday?? Drop a comment below to let me know!