How you helped
Kaleidoscopes & Polka Dots
become a reality
It brings me so much joy to know that everyone who purchases a piece from Kaleidoscopes & Polka Dots knows they are purchasing a little piece of handmade magic inspired by a favorite enchanting story.
– Jessica Gibson
Kaleidoscopes & Polka Dots, Headmistress
Once upon a time…
Before opening shop as Kaleidoscopes And Polka Dots, I was a bookworm and fangirl. I adore reading magical stories, love stories and everything in between – but mostly love stories. My favorite is Pride and Prejudice. As an avid reader, I make it a habit of carrying around a book with me everywhere because 1) you never know when you’ll have a few minutes to sneak in a few more pages and 2) because it is easier to read from a physical book than from the screen on my phone.
A problem I would often find is that my paper bookmarks would fall out during travels, which would create the unnecessary stress of losing my place in a story. As a result, solving the problem of finding the perfect bookmark became a bit of a quest for me. I invested in magnetic bookmarks, which solved the falling out problem but then I found that they would tear pages a little if I was not careful about removing it. I tried paperclip bookmarks, but they dented the pages. Then, I was a bit more fussy about keeping my books in pristine condition, hence the denting of a page once again induced added stress. Overall…my level of unwarranted stress wasn’t pretty.
Then one day…
I did it! I found the perfect bookmark. My perfect bookmark turned out to be the book thong. A book thong is a bookmark whose middle consists of a flexible cord, generally, a string, finished off with a set of charms at each end – the bottom is generally heavier than the top set of charms.
Initially, I only purchased one because I wasn’t sure that it would work. The string was a bit thick and I worried that it would get in the way when my books were closed – it didn’t. A problem I did find, however, was that it was too short for taller books. That is when I decided to create my own book thongs, and because I love the dangle I made the thong quite long.
Initially, I was really excited to share my creations with all book lovers. I gave them to family and friends. I asked for suggestions and opinions and while most were just as enchanted with my pieces as I was, some express concern that my bookmarks took a bit of getting used to as they did not experience the same issues I was having given that they didn’t travel with their books often. Their experience and opinions gave me pause before opening Kaleidoscopes And Polka Dots.
Randomly I ran into a friend I hadn’t seen in a long time. I had gifted her a few bookmarks previously and upon recognizing me she exclaimed that she was just thinking about reaching out to me to get a few more. She absolutely adored her bookmarks and used them all the time with both her planner AND with her books. Her words brought me so much joy and delight. Prior to her remark, I had not considered my bookmarks as planner essentials.
With this newfound surge of motivation and inspiration, I made it my mission to create the most charming and versatile bookmarks that would enchant booklovers worldwide.
Trials & Tribulations
It turns out that making the decision to proceed with my business was only step one. I still had a lot of learning to do.
First, I had to learn how to run a business. It wasn’t something that was truly covered in college or that came naturally to me. Second, I had to overcome my fear of putting myself out there—something that I am even worse as doing.
My first problem was a bit easier to overcome. As a bookworm, learning how to run my business from books and e-courses came naturally. Overcoming my fear of rejection, of putting myself out there, was, and sometimes continues to be, crippling.
I am a girl with a love for magical love stories. I love creating lovely things that are beautiful, charming and fulfilling. Sharing my creations with fellow book lovers as an anxious, self-doubting introvert, as someone who has grown in with the internet and who has seen both how wonderful and how detrimental it can be, has been daunting. It is something I don’t take lightly and something I continue to work on daily. I cope with this challenge by connecting with individuals who support me. I value their time and opinions and as such aim to reciprocate by creating pieces that will delight for years to come. Getting to the understanding that we are all connected and that together we can create little pieces of magic has been instrumental in propelling my journey.
Overcoming & Expanding
Eventually, after a lot of meditation and preparation, I finally released my first set of bookmarks and since then the response has been utterly heartwarming and beyond my expectations. Readers who travel with their books understand the struggle of holding your place and picking up exactly where you left off so as not to come out of the story.
Their enthusiasm, my continued love and need for inspirational books, and my love for creating beaded creations fueled my next move – expanding my creations to include jewelry inspired by some of my favorite stories. My goal with such pieces is not to make them overtly bookish. I love the idea of wearing pieces that everyone, bookish or not, can love and appreciate. However, as a book lover, there is a certain magic to wearing a piece inspired by a favorite story that more closely connects you to its essence. These are pieces that you can envision your favorite characters wearing, or pieces that were meaningful to the story – they are magnanimous handmade interpretations.
Essentially, I aim to create pieces that could easily translate into everyday staples for the fashionista and fashionable book lover. Once again, since launching my first combined jewelry and book thong collection, the response had been inspiring. Continued support and encouragement have fueled my imagination and drive to create more pieces that unite book lovers worldwide. If you are one of them, thank you so much for your support. It means the world to me that you’ve decided to join my bookish tribe. If you are still thinking about it or have a few questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.