Our “The Spotlight” series features founders and brands that inspire us. Whether it’s empowering kids, inspiring parents, or making sustainable solutions part of everyday life, we’ve spoken to people who embody the values at the heart of GRASP. Our hope is that these founder’s stories, the products they’re making, and their ambition to make a difference in the world also inspires you.
After enjoying the Book of You first hand with our three children, we caught up with Ruth Sturdy on her business, The Colour Chronicles, a modern take on classic record keeping books for your kids and family. These journals are designed to help you keep a record of growing up and aim to be as inclusive of every kind of family as possible.
GRASP: Where did the idea for Colour Chronicles come from and how did you get started? What's your advice to anyone thinking about starting something for themselves.
I had been enjoying filling out a book for my daughter which was yearly, but there were a few things I didn’t like about it such as the presumptions on our family and how it was formed and then when she turned three, I thought she should be having an input in to it as she had so much to say for herself and it was at this point that I went looking for a book that I did want to fill out with her and for her.
I searched and searched then realised there wasn’t one so it was then that I decided to start Colour Chronicles and make one of my own. I found a great designer who put down on paper what was in my head and together we created The Book of You.
I had a set amount of money I was willing to throw at it and took the plunge, had them printed and they were delivered just four months after the initial idea so all very quick. Then I had to sell them! The first thing I did was get a stand at a trade show and showcased them there. I was delighted at the reaction and felt validation for them and even took some orders. This gave me the confidence to really push them out in the market.
My advice for anyone who has an idea they truly believe in would be to first of all decide how much you’re willing and able to spend to trial it and then set a time frame for it and then go for it!
GRASP: With all the different ways that we can capture memories now, especially on our phones, why do you think people love your range of books as a way to capture memories with the people in their lives?
When I first had the idea, lots of people discouraged me saying that everything is digital now and people don’t really like writing things down, but I just knew there would be people like me, who absolutely love it.
The beauty of a written book is being able to go back on past entries and compare answers from this year’s questions to those from the years gone by. It’s also lovely to see the written word, the drawings, and the progress plus seeing what was written by who and when evokes really strong memories and emotions.
I have a recipe written by my Granny who’s no longer here and I love the thought of her hand on that paper and seeing her beautiful handwriting, it’s really precious. I also have my 8 year old signature on a doll’s ‘birth certificate’ which is all flicks and sass and that brings back so many memories for me.
GRASP: What are some of the biggest challenges you've faced running a small business. How do you handle these challenges?
My biggest challenge is time and having to accept there’s only so much I can do. I wanted to start a business to be able to look after my children and run the business around them and that is my priority. It’s hard to go at a speed slower than you would like to, but over the few years I’ve been going, I’ve got much better at this and I also realise in a few years my children will be less dependent and I’ll have more time to work and just do as much as I can with the time I have now.
GRASP: What's one of the best stories you've heard back from families about doing one of your books together?
I had a really lovely message from two mums who were given the book as a gift. They told me they didn’t think there was anything out there that was suitable for their family and their message really touched me. Inclusivity is at the very core of our designs. We’re so careful to make sure there are no assumptions or triggers and to have feedback like this really makes it all worthwhile.
GRASP: At GRASP we're about inspiring kids and we often think about how our own kids will be inspired by what we're doing. What do you hope your kids will be inspired by from what you're doing?
I hope my children will treasure their books and know that they were created for them to do so. I hope they see a working hard parent and value being a hard worker. I also hope they see that you can follow your dreams and bring to life a product you truly believe in.