We’re so proud of the local BC businesses that agreed to participate in our boutique pop-up shop. Anne Uebbing is the founder of Kinder Books – an independent children’s book store offering quality books for children focusing on cultural diversity and the natural world. Read Anne’s story.
Who are the brains behind the business? Tell us a bit about yourself.
I, Anne Uebbing, started this business by myself in 2011. I am a teacher and interesting teaching materials are a must for me. I started my business with a publisher called Barefoot Books, which is a direct selling business. I presented my collection at various teacher conferences and community events and received positive feedback. The years following I partnered with other publishers and distributors and local authors, and I expanded my collection. I am also a mom of two avid readers, Amelie and Luka. My kids love to have a book store in their basement and opening book deliveries is a big highlight in our house.
What first inspired you to open an independent children’s book store? How did you get started?
I was born and raised in Germany and there even little towns have a book store. When I moved to North America in 1999, I missed the little book store feeling where you could sit down and read for hours. I only found the big, sterile looking stores and there people with a passion for books were a rare find. When I found them, and I did, they were indeed real book lovers and I got to learn from them. I decided that I needed to find children’s books that are beautiful, challenging and open ended. I believe that we need to give children the freedom and opportunity to think and feel for themselves. We need books which include everyone on the planet and books which make us aware of the beautiful place we live in. For the past 6 years we have been a traveling book store and with this concept we have reached a broad audience throughout the Lower Mainland. You can find us at Artisan Markets, community festivals, teacher’s conferences. A brick and mortar store is planned within the next 5 years. We are in the planning stage.
What is your favourite part about your job?
That new books are being published all the time ! And that children’s books are so versatile. My horizons have expanded since I started reading children’s books ! The words wittiness, depth and mindfulness come to mind when I think about children’s literature. I get to share my passion for great children’s books with my audience and inspire thinking. More than once I had people shedding a tear at my booth when I told them about a certain story. I love that I can make connections with my community – small and big. I was surprised after talking to a mother I had met an a book event many years ago how much my book suggestions for her then 1 year old helped to turn this boy into an avid reader. He is now 6 and I still receive calls by this mom asking for more recommendations for him. When you come to see my book display you will see a big part of me, my thoughts and my interests are displayed on the table.
Do you have any tips for people thinking of starting their own small business? Or attending a market for the first time? What do you wish you knew for your first market?
Have a plan. Be authentic. Sell your wares because you know them, use them, believe in them. If you are at a market for the first time, don’t bring everything you have to offer, only the most important/most beautiful things you have. Something you feel confident showing to another person. If you have too much on your table, people will feel overwhelmed. Not every market will be successful. During the first two years in your business you will learn which ones are a good fit for you. If table fees seem too high, make sure you go and see the event first. Then decide if it is worth it. People will always ask for discounts (this still makes me upset because they wouldn’t ask at Chapter’s for a discount). Let them know that this is your business and that you have costs to cover. (Even though my husband thinks I shouldn’t have to explain).
What’s your favourite part about living in the lower mainland?
Could be the great outdoors, your favourite spot for a cup of coffee or tea, favourite bakery, etc. I love local businesses because they show the labour of love that goes in. I am willing to pay more there because the service and quality are there. We live in Port Moody and I love the community there. I enjoy seeing little businesses pop up like our new bakery Gabi & Jules, a cozy hang out place with delicious pies ! For many of my events I am in New West where the arts and cultural scene is incredible. This community is very connected, supportive of entrepreneurs and vibrant.
Meet Anne and other awesome local vendors at the pop-up shop on May 27-28th!