Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Kimberly Batson, Co-Owner of The Story Bound Society, curated by Fabled Bookshop & Cafe, located in Waco, TX, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

The Story Bound Society is a monthly book subscription program curated by Fabled Bookshop & Cafe. We send thoughtfully selected books to our subscribers each month based on their reading preferences, which we have categorized as various archetypes in literature.

The Story Bound Society for Kids also caters to a child's reading level. It follows the journey of growing as a reader from an infant to a young adult. Our customers range in age, reading level, and interest, which we love!

Tell us about yourself

Alison and I first met in 2016, just after my firstborn, Nora, came along. We had a mutual friend who knew we both dreamed of opening a bookshop in Waco, and Alison reached out to me to discuss the possibility and see if there was any traction there.

What was so surprising about our first conversation—and all of them after!—was that we carried the same vision for what we wanted the shop to be: a place that celebrated the nostalgia of reading and helped people deepen their love of books no matter where they were on their reading journey.

In his book The Prophet, Kahlil Gibran writes, "Work is love made visible." Indeed, this is what work at Fabled feels like for us. Our team's work here—creating a space of inspiration, bringing people together around books, and curating the best book selection—is an extension of our love for this place and our community.

With The Story Bound Society, we wanted a space to extend our incredible bookish community beyond our walls and put fantastic books into people's hands. It's been so fun to see the community expand across the country and for them to feel a part of what we are doing at Fabled.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Alison and I are proud of how we pivoted to stay afloat during the early days of the COVID pandemic, when our storefront had to close for two months. We had only been open six months then, and we had to get scrappy! We launched an "Indoorsy Box" product online geared toward parents who were suddenly at home with their kids due to schools closing and needed something to spark their time together.

The parents would fill out a form with their child's name, reading level, and a few interests, and we would send them a curated box of books and activities just for them. What started as a local delivery endeavor rapidly grew to ship packages all over the country, and we had to adapt to accommodate the growth.

We were so proud of our team, who worked hard to launch this concept quickly and then saw it through. Overall, I think our biggest accomplishment happens in the moments when someone tells us their love of reading was started or strengthened by a visit to Fabled or through The Story Bound Society. Our whole purpose is to champion the transformative impact reading can have on an individual and a community!

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

One of the challenges of being a business owner is creating a team around you that has bought into the vision and will spearhead the business along with you for the long haul. The fluidity of jobs these days makes it hard to establish rhythms when team members transition sooner than expected, etc.

It's a natural part of being an owner and will always be an element of what we do. Keeping momentum while personnel are shifting requires ongoing attention and energy.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Partner with someone if you can. Honestly, having a solid, trustworthy business partner has been a grand slam. We are both moms who work part-time out of the home, and having a partner has been essential to establishing a work/life balance that is doable and life-giving. Likewise, having someone who is equally as invested as I am in the flourishing of the business and someone I can talk through all the moving pieces with has been crucial! I know it's rare for a partnership to flourish, but if there's a capacity for it-- I think it's a huge asset.
  2. Don't feel like you have to rush it. Take time to hone in on the foundation of your business: your business plan, core values, marketing strategies, etc., before you open the doors/launch the site. Once the company goes, finding the time to work on these essential elements is tough when you're just trying to figure out operations and systems. Do the thorough and deep mental/heart work in preparation because, most likely, it will be a few years before you have the space to return and see if it's still aligned with what your business has grown into.
  3. Budget for Working Capital! I am SO thankful that after we made our business plan and started the process of raising investment for this concept, we had good counsel tell us that we needed to grow more to have more working capital for the early days and months of the business. It was a hard choice because it meant diluting our shares further, but I genuinely think it's the cushion we needed to help us thrive once we opened. It takes a while to learn budgeting and the expenses of the business. Having that working capital was invaluable and gave us the space to breathe when our doors shut six months after opening due to Covid. Working capital will be your lifeline as you get established!

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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