I met up with Emma of [reads]...
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO START [READS]?
I think I’ve always loved books and after meeting Rachael I really felt like we could help people read books differently. I myself was reading only non fiction at the time and Rachael really helped me explore more fiction and read things outside my taste. I had so much fun and felt empowered reading things that were different and wanted to share that experience with others.
When did you start [reads]?
We started building out the idea and brand in 2017 and launched our product/ website January 2018. I think what people don’t realize is that it takes a really long time to make something work and let your idea take on different forms to what you originally intended. I think for us being able to adjust and listen to hard feedback was really important. Something that is equally important is learning to trust your gut and Rachael and I have always made sure with everything that we do, whether it’s a small decision or a big event that we align to why we started reads.
What did you hope to achieve with [reads]?
I hope that we can inspire people to be forever learners. I think books are the most important tool we have for educating people and making sure that we remain relevant, foster empathy and understanding and learn how to grow and evolve into better versions of ourselves.
Who is [reads] for?
One of our goals with [reads] is to make it an open community that embraces everyone—in saying that we know that [reads] is not for everyone and that’s ok! We’ve created [reads] for people who care about lifelong learning and discovery. We know how easy it is to get suffocated by technology and overloaded with information, so we hope that [reads] is able to bring you something digestible and inspiring. We hope that our boxes leave people feeling accomplished for finishing their books, inspired to expand their library or empowered to share their books and knowledge with others. [reads] is for people who want to celebrate living offline and create a life that is surrounded by physical books, conversations and the sharing of knowledge.
What kind of subscription models do you offer?
We offer adults and kids subscriptions right now. For each of those boxes we work with a curator that we respect and want to share and outsource their personal library and taste, in hopes that it will in turn broaden our readers tastes and perspectives! We will be launching a recycled [reads] program this fall and we are hoping to expand and build upon our kids subscriptions to offer more specific books for the different age ranges.
Where can one buy a [reads] subscription?
You can sign up for a subscription at reads.delivery, if you get stuck, you can email either Rachael or myself and we can help you out! firstname.lastname@example.org + email@example.com
Who is involved with the brand?
We are slowly building out our team and we’ve been lucky to have so many friends believe in us and want to help out where they can. Right now our team is:
Rachael and I,
Umaimah who helps with our operations
Our wonderful developers Michael, Sasha, and Rinaldy
Our senior designer Jonathan and junior designer Chloe
3 interns: Miriam-creative, Alessandra-marketing, and Joe-development
Plus a million friends who have helped out with various shoots, videos, packing reads boxes, and lots of events! :)
What is special about [reads]?
The magic of [reads] is that everything is hand picked and curated, we’ve intentionally moved away from algorithms to provide people with authentic discovery. We’re also REAL people— we personally email everyone of our subscribers, we hand write our thank you notes and we always give out our personal emails. At the end of the day we want to be the human side to technology, and if you email us to say you want to grab coffee we will treat you on us! :)
When did you think about creating this brand first?
We started [reads] in Marfa Texas while we were on a Yoga retreat, we visited Donald Judd’s library and the tour guide kept telling us we couldn’t touch anything or take any pictures and we were so mad. We wanted to come home and create a place where people could be so inspired by books in the way we were at Donald Judd’s House but a space where people could touch and interact with them in whatever way they wanted. Books serve as such tactile inspiration for people, they need to be smelt, touched, flicked through etc. Our initial idea for [reads] was to have our own bookstore, when we realized that was insane we pivoted, and realized we could still build an offline authentic community but reach more people and remain relevant with an online presence.
Do you have any inspirations / role models?
Of COURSE, tons— I’m inspired by Tove Jansson and the way that she lived her life on a magical remote island in Sweden. She wrote all her books and created this magical world of “The Moomins” away from technology and other people. As an introvert I always admire people who are able to create these fantastical worlds with their imagination and nature as inspiration. I am also inspired by Oliver Jeffers, his childrens books are fundamental life lessons like learning how to share, or what to do when you’re stuck or how friendships work, but they always make me want to be a better adult and write my own kids books. I’m also inspired by Charlie Kaufman, I listened to a talk he gave at BAFTA and I guess it was a very vulnerable time in my life where nothing made sense and everything felt either humiliating or like a painful self inflicted wound. He says that “This wound is unknowable and inarticulable. It is specific to you and common to everyone...It is the thing about you that must be hidden and protected. It will not be interesting to others if revealed. It makes you weak and pathetic. It is the thing that is looked over. It is your secret even from yourself. It makes loving you impossible. It is the thing that wants to live. Out of it your art is born.”
Any other interesting things to know about [reads]:
I think it’s very hard to understand what [reads] is until you experience it for yourself! :)
“Meticulously designed to be feminine yet comfortable, and most importantly, perfect to sleep in.”
– Related interviews & stories –
“For me it´s very often a 'replay' of stories that bothered me during the day.“