Monday, September 22, 2008

September 26 - And The Guest Author Is . . .


I am crazy about GOOD STOCK, Kim O'Neill Screen's custom heirloom book design and binding company. The name GOOD STOCK comes from her grandfather's expression "we come from good stock." The personalized books she designs tell a family's story through photographs, letters, newspaper clippings, memoirs, historical documents, and family trees. All the things we as family historians cherish. Kim organizes the information, designs a beautiful book, prints and hand binds a one-of-a-kind family treasure.

Shades is very fortunate to have Kim talk to us about her creations in the September 26 Friday From The Collectors.

About herself Kim says:

Several times I’ve been told I’m surprisingly young to care about family history. I’m 35 years old. Generally, these comments come from contemporaries of my mother or my grandmother, and for a while I believed that yes, maybe I was a little bit unusual for choosing this line of work at my age.

But lo and behold, to my absolute wonder and excitement, . . . I’ve heard from four like-minded women of my age . . . And let me tell you, these ladies are tackling their family book projects with downright gusto…traveling to family farms, sitting down with last remaining relatives, visiting historical organizations, collaborating with mothers and grandmothers, poring through old letters and memorabilia, researching family trees. And lucky me, I get to turn all their findings into beautiful books.

For me, it is mind-blowingly wonderful and inspiring. And yes, such a relief not being so surprisingly young after all."

When you see Kim's work you will realize age has nothing to do with it, it's all about talent and love of family. This is Kim's journey:

My path to Good Stock was anything but direct. I can now say with confidence that I’m a designer and storyteller, but that wasn’t always the case. It took me a very long time to “find” my creativity, so to speak.

A Seattle native, I attended the University of Washington and – not knowing what I wanted to do in life – majored in Spanish, which was a great excuse to travel and experience other countries. My first job out of college was working for a ski trade show, but my career really began at the Sports and Events Council of Seattle/King County, a program of the Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce. I worked primarily doing event planning work and loved it. But I was ready for a change of scenery, and in 2000 I moved to Los Angeles to serve as Director of Product & Brand Marketing for Ticketmaster, where I led the research and marketing of new technologies. Moving away from home turned out to be the best decision I could have made.

From the time I got to LA, I began studying art and design at every community college, university extension program, and art college I could find. In 2003 I finally responded to a growing itch to do something independent and more creative. I quit my corporate job and enrolled at Art Center College of Design, one of the top design schools in the country. At about the same time, I began consulting in design management on behalf of Barry Diller of IAC/InterActiveCorp, which lasted for two years – just the time I needed to develop my business. I finally launched Good Stock in late 2005.

Good Stock was inspired by my grandfather, Donald W. Close, who loved reminding us we came from good stock. The original Good Stock tale was written with the help of my mother, a talented kindergarten teacher, for the littlest members of our family. I started offering this original tale and got a great response. But to my surprise, I also got a number of requests for more customized books – with photos, detailed family trees, different sizes and binding options, etc. And to make a long story short, that’s how I started making custom books.

I now design and publish custom coffee table books that tell people’s stories – their family ancestry, their life story, their child’s story, their wedding story. I literally take people’s boxes of “stuff” – family photos, memorabilia, family tree – and turn them into a beautiful story book. I also make what I call “milestone books” – a book to honor a special family member who is celebrating a milestone event like a birthday, anniversary, or retirement.

Since old family photos are such a big part of what I do, I look forward to sharing later this week a bit about the magic of photos for bringing a story to life.

Join us 26 September when Friday From The Collectors features Kim O'Neill Screen and GOOD STOCK.



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