Three cheers for Barefoot Books Studio, your Totally Awesome pick for best Boston-area bookstore! This community hub and out-of-this-world learning resource is a clear favorite among parents and kids alike. Founded by two moms who wanted to make a difference in the world while keeping their children at the center of their lives, Barefoot Books continues to be a family-centric, kid-loving hotspot. Co-owner Nancy Traversy recently chatted with us about what makes Barefoot Books Studio awesome, the inspiration behind it all, and more. Read on:
Red Tricycle: Congratulations! Your community recently voted you “Most Awesome.” What do you think your customers value most about your business?
Nancy Traversy: At our Barefoot Books Studio we bring stories to life. With nearly 100 family fun events each month, including storytelling, art activities, African drumming, puppet shows, pottery painting, birthday parties, fundraisers and more, families can truly “step inside a story,” make new friends, discover new talents and look at the world from different points of view. Our Barefoot Books Studio is also a place where we hatch new ideas–we invite our customers to offer feedback on books we’re creating and suggest new stories they’d like us to make. They can also create ‘Step inside a Story’ events in their own local communities through our Ambassador Program. From jugglers to singalongs, crafts to storytime, the Concord Studio is a wonderful place to make memories.
RT: What inspired you to start your business?
NT: Tessa Strickland and I started Barefoot Books in 1993 with the goal of creating children’s books that feed the imagination, while instilling a respect for diversity and a love of the planet. Two decades and more than 500 books later, we think of Barefoot Books as more than just a publisher, but really a way of life. We are a world-wide community of people “living Barefoot” who are connected by a shared love of storytelling and creativity, and who are committed to raising happy, healthy, engaged children.
Our children were definitely our biggest inspiration for starting Barefoot. As new mothers, we were having a hard time finding books that would nurture their imaginations, introduce them to different cultures, and inspire their creativity with artwork that conveyed as much as the words on the page. Believing in children’s innate good taste and wisdom, we aim to make high-quality books that appeal to both children and parents. Our children have “grown up Barefoot,” surrounded by creativity and hard work, reading manuscripts, choosing illustrators, and generally helping out. The message that you can live your life on your own terms, and in accordance with your own values, is one that we are proud to pass on through our wonderful, and rapidly growing, network of independent Ambassadors who bring our stories to life in their own communities.
RT: Any advice for new business owners just getting started?
NT: Find something that you really love. Focus on finding, and building relationships, with a community of people who love it too. Don’t be afraid to follow the path not yet taken. Pick yourself up when you fall. Pick yourself up when you fall again. And again. And again…
RT: Can you give us one tip for balancing entrepreneurship with parenthood?
NT: Don’t compartmentalize your life–if you can make it work, it’s much more fun and rewarding when your kids, and even your whole family, are involved in your business. You’ll also be teaching your kids important life and business skills, and showing them the value of hard work. Maybe they’ll be entrepreneurs one day too!
RT: What is your proudest moment as a business owner or parent?
NT: Recent proud moment as a business owner? Winning the Red Tricycle Most Awesome Award for Best Bookstore. We were also pretty proud when our Barefoot World Atlas app was selected by Apple in July as one of the top ten best apps of all time in celebration of 5 Years of the App Store. We had over 4 million downloads in one week! More importantly, I am really proud to have raised four amazing children, to still be able to tell my Barefoot story twenty years later – and to empower other moms to build their own businesses and share their own stories.
RT: Is there a special offer you’d like to include for Red Tricycle readers?
NT: Yes, absolutely! As a special thank you for casting your vote to help the Barefoot Books Concord Studio receive the “Most Awesome Bookstore” award, we’d love to offer Red Tricycle readers 25% off their purchase at our Studio or on our website at www.barefootbooks.com. Just enter code redtricycle at checkout, or mention it when you visit our Studio. Expires 12/31/13. We’d love to have you join us and live Barefoot!
You can also find out more on the Barefoot Books main website.