Name of Company: Simply Said Reading Accessories
Owner: Debra Owsley
Location: Sunrise Florida
Product/Services: Custom Bookmarks, (several varieties types and styles) Book Thongs, Kindle Charms, done by hand, LitVersations, The Book Conversation Game, Promotion and marketing products and other book candy for book lovers.
Tell us a little about your company:
Honestly I started this business quite by accident! I am a hair stylist and every year I give my clients a small gift as appreciation for their business. We always discuss books we’re reading and most clients read under the dryer. I simply decided to give them bookmarks as a Christmas gift that year. They loved them! Some asked me to make more so they could give as gifts. Marcia King-Gamble was a client of mine at the salon before I knew who she was! She was also one of the clients who received a bookmark and asked me to customize some for her for the Goodie Room at the Romantic Times Convention. I had been reading her books for years and just never put the two together. She is also the person who told me about the trade shows, book events and different festivals that went on. She introduced me to a whole new world I never knew existed
What milestones has the company accomplished?
It really just hit me, that I’ve been doing these products for 10 years this month! Time has really flown by. This has never felt like work to me, it’s just joy! I love what I do, where it has taken me and the people I’ve met along the way, I’ve gained many new relationships with this business.
What is your company motto?
“A “novel approach* of making your mark” and “Everything is “remarkable”.
Tell us about your products/services:
The “Gift-marks” are bookmarks have great quotes or sayings that are designed to inform, encourage and inspire. They come in 2 sizes full size is 31/2 by 8 and the half sizes are 31/2 by 4. They can be customized to any book, event, or occasion. They are durable and are heavily laminated and cut by hand with scalloped or torn paper edges to add to their uniqueness. They are the most effective and versatile item because they are more of a gift than just a bookmark.
The Paper Chase Collection. These have sarcastic remarks and other things that readers say when reading their books. This collection contains bookmarks, card sized bookmarks and door hangers.
The Book Thongs are book jewelry for book lovers. They are gorgeous bookmarks that can be beaded or with charms. They will fit just about any size book and they are absolutely deliciously girly!
The note card sets we call Love Notes. They can range from a quote or a scripture, a “thinking of you” or a “thank you”. These also can have a half size gift-mark to match and fit inside. These come in sets of 8.
Book boxes I added to the Simply Said Reading Accessories line to offer people a beautiful place to keep all their book candy in and for authors to use as raffles or contest giveaways. They are beautiful boxes shaped and styled like books that are filled with all the treasures we book lovers love. Gift-marks, book thongs, a book light, a tote bag, post cards, note cards, book plates, a note book and pen , even a change purse (if chosen), just to give an idea of treats are available! There are several themes available and it also comes wrapped with a beautiful ribbon. These are by special request only and created to your specifications.
Remarks were created because I would read a great line in the book I was reading and hated to write in my books. They also work well when preparing for book club discussions and for note taking about the book so when the sequel comes out (which is sometimes a year later) it refreshes your memory of the story. They come in packages of 12, 25, 50 etc…
LitVersations, The Book Conversation Game Its 70 thought provoking questions to really get into an in depth discussion about what book you and you club is reading. These questions really get into the characters, the story line and into the authors head. It is also a great set of questions for bloggers, interviewers and for authors to use as discussion questions.
Kindle Charms These I added to the Simply Said Reading Accessories family because so many of my clients do only EBooks and I needed to have things available for those readers.
3D bookmarks I love doing those Extra Special Pieces that just WOW people! These are higher end pieces that are Limited Editions and usually for launch or release parties. These can be souvenirs of the event as well as table décor.
Table in a Box is where I create a complete table display for you! In the box comes everything you, the author need to present a Gorgeous table. I create your theme and display items, you just add books!! I also include a photo on how everything is to be used. Remember, Presentation Is Everything!
I also do Coaching and Brainstorming sessions to help authors create an effective promotional and marketing road map
I love to create and offer Book Candy for book lovers. I’m always coming up with new ideas and finding things we readers love and need! We readers like our bookish things so as I make them I share them with my fellow bibliophiles.
Please visit my fan page @Facebook.com/simplysaidreadingaccessories to see more and options
Who can benefit from your products/services?
These are not created for only for readers, but I do custom work for many bestselling authors, party planners, wedding planners, organizations, sororities, and many other types of events. They have also been created as coupons, gift tags, event tickets/ souvenir of the events I’ve also done work for Birthdays and Tea Parties, as gifts for guests. The possibilities are endless and everything is “remarkable”.
Which product/service is the most popular?
The “Gift-marks” are bookmarks have great quotes or sayings that are designed to inform, encourage and inspire. They come in 2 sizes full size and half sizes. I also create these customized for authors, events, or occasion. They are durable and are heavily laminated and cut by hand with scalloped or torn paper edges to add to their uniqueness. They are the most effective and versatile item because they are more of a gift than just a bookmark.
What makes your company unique from others?
I am an avid reader and I think like a fan. Authors are most times so busy writing and working on the business of their books that they have forgotten how it felt to just be a fan and a reader. If you remember how it felt to be “just a reader” then you can look at things from their point of view.
• What would YOU like if You were the reader?
• What would stand out as significant in the story that was memorable? Not to you the author
• What would make a lasting impression to You if you at your signing or at an event?
• What memory and keepsake would you take away and hold on to forever because it reminds them of the time spent with You?
These things are often overlooked. Not intentionally but they are. These things are taken into heavy consideration when creating a product or gift for your book. All possible angles are looked at to give your readers a “remarkable” memory. I help create those memories and the keepsakes that go with them. I help you to connect with your customers on an intimate level.
Bookmarks are one of the most effective marketing tools there are. They can say a lot and are used frequently which also means they are seen frequently. They work through repetition They are constant reminders of things, people and messages, This is one reason I decided to use quotes and phases of inspiration or provocative thoughts, they stick to your memory. They influence quietly, repeatedly and consistently. Almost like subliminal messaging.
Does the company participate in community activities/charities? If yes, explain which ones and why?
I pick different charities for many reasons; they must pull a heart string. It could be The Boys and Girls Club or The 100 Black Women Coalition, book event for literacy or even a Fund raiser; I donate my time and products as raffles. Why? Because it feels good to promote literacy.
What challenges have you encountered as a business?
The biggest challenge for Simply Said Reading Accessories was to get people to understand the value. The retail division of the company was fine but it took a lot of effort to convince authors that these products were the exception to the rule. Bookmarks are an industry standard. I’ve always said that there are times when those types are the best option, such as when attending large events. But when you have more intimate settings, when invited to a book club meeting, when you want to gift a reader or you really want to make an impression, that’s when you use a Simply Said Reading Accessories product. Presentation is everything, and how you present yourself and your book is how you will be perceived.
Authors were so stuck on the 5000 bookmarks for $100.00 that get worn, raggedy and most times immediately tossed away along with your information. They really had to be taught the value and philosophy of using my products. NO; most authors can’t afford to give one to everyone you meet. But you can be strategic in gifting them. They are collectables, limited editions, and keepsakes. They can be gifted won or rewarded to the”chosen ones”. These can be marketed around contests; sign up perks, thank you for hosting me, thank you for a great review, author street teams … the ways of making these items valuable to your readers are endless.
It’s all in how they are presented. People hold on to gifts, therefore hold on to your information and their memory of the time with you.
That’s the philosophy and the mission of Simply Said Reading Accessories
Take a minute to watch this video I created “Don’t End Up Here”
What are the company’s upcoming goals for 2016?
I’m adding more ways for authors to reach their desired markets, with coaching, table designs and more 3D type of materials. Helping to teach them, how to Multipurpose their marketing/promotional tools and on a budget. My products have longevity and a way to be a constant memory in readers’ lives. A different way of marketing and a more personal touch. Showing them how to get the 7 touches of exposure it takes to get people to really see you. How to be effective reaching all of the readers senses.
Even when I’m doing a brain storming session with a client, thing come up they never thought of because they are too close to their book or project. I love to bring out of them a new way of seeing things. It could be a very simple thing to bring their project to life. I love helping and guiding them with that process.
Tell us a little about the owner of the company?
In 2005 Debra Owsley turned her love for reading and her hobby to support her book habit, into the reading accessory and consulting business, www.Simply-Said.net Debra works with several major bestselling authors, publishing houses, publicists and book stores creating unique promotional tools, creative displays and promoting literacy. She also coaches authors on how to promote and market their book on a budget.
Debra never dreamed her two loves would turn into a marketing and promotional business, allowing her to meet authors she has read and admired, working at book events and book festivals selling her treasures. She enjoys meeting other avid readers and book club members. Debra is quoted as saying, “These are my passion marks!”
Get Social with Simply Reading Accessories and Debra Owsley