There are food trucks and fashion trucks, but did you hear about our local storybook truck?
GoGo Books is a Delaware-based mobile story book shop that offers a curated selection of children’s literature ranging from classic storybooks to teen novels amid thoughtfully crafted children’s-wares. Their goal is to create a novel experience focused on the joys of story-telling with a touch of whimsy and charm. Below we chat with Kate Keeper, the owner and founder of GoGo Books.
1. Why do you love what you do?
So many reasons! Books, illustrations, and stories have always encouraged me to live my life in the most magical and fantastical way possible. I love what I do because I am constantly reminded of that magic every day by being surrounded by those things. I also love “setting things up” and aesthetics so operating a store where everything needs to be arranged and merchandised constantly is just supremely satisfying. I also enjoy having complete control over my time, work ethic, and (for the most part) outcomes/income generation, it holds me accountable and fulfills me in ways that being an employee never did. I love all of the various opportunities to get creative and innovative. The discounted books are a definite plus. But most of all the people/socializing and getting out in the community and meeting kids and caregivers from all over with varying interests is just so life-giving and joyful!
2. What is the most rewarding about being the founder of GoGo Books?
I’m still so new so I don’t feel like I have reaped any typically “rewarding” things yet! My ego definitely enjoys the “ohhhs” + “ahhs” when people find out that this is my business + that I created and operate it at 27 (debt free!!) but really the most rewarding thing is the ability to work for myself entirely and know that my successes are all mine (and the failures too)!
3. Describe your favorite memory from GoGo Books.
Again, still very new so everything feels very present day and in the moment + nothing really feels like a memory yet. I think so far though I have had a few times when I’m driving to an event and just start crying/laughing (somewhat maniacally) about how this is all happening. I love that feeling of just disbelief that this is my job.
4. How did people react to you leaving nursing to start the GoGo Book truck?
Very mixed. I think most people thought it was absolutely absurd. Nursing was my third degree; I went back to school for it after graduating with a double major (English + Bio), so I sort of felt like people thought I was abusing the privilege of having the opportunity to get higher education (twice). Luckily I have learned that other people’s reactions are ultimately about them and not me, so I didn’t really concern myself with them. My husband and mom were really supportive and my workplace (The Birth Center) was as well.
5. Do you get invited to come to schools to sell books? Where are your usual stops?
I launched at the end of the school year so I pretty much missed that boat. I did do an event with Ursuline Academy and it was a smashing success and the kids/caregivers/teachers were all amazing to work with. I hope to do more schools in the fall. I don’t have any usual stops yet. This year is all about trial and error so I can figure out what works and what doesn’t. I’m already learning where I do best and where I flop so taking all of that into account and evaluating it is helping me to plan future events. I really want to get into collaborations with local businesses like coffee shops/lunch spots/etc. to pair up for weekday stops. I’m really into planning programming like storytimes/crafts/process art/sing-a-longs but need space for those. I bring a lot of people out, so it’s really a matter of finding a mutually interested business who wants to pair up.
6. What ignites your creativity?
I actually really struggle with this. I have a horrible complex where I have to be “in the mood” to do things that I’m trying to better understand and ultimately overcome. Usually getting outside and just experiencing life fires me up. The further I distance myself from the internet/my phone the more creative I feel as well.
7. How do you decide what books to bring into the truck?
Painstakingly! I pored over catalogs from publishers/read reviews/and did a lot of judging by the cover. There are thousands of books published every week in addition to the “backlists” of thousands of previously published titles. It took me about 6 months to fully curate my initial stock. Since then I have been keeping ongoing order lists for newly published titles that I update weekly which keeps it relatively simple for reorders. The best compliments I get are the ones regarding the curation and uniqueness of my stock!
8. What was the first book you remember being read to you and by who?
I don’t really remember the first book that was read to me. But my first memory of a story was this story my dad would tell about Winnie the Witch who (in the story) lived in the woods across the street. She would invite all of the kids over on Halloween and make us pumpkin juice in her cauldron and make all of our candy fly and swirl around. I was obsessed and would make him tell it every day. My first bookish memory though was that my mom and I would read the Jolly Postman by Janet and Allen Ahlberg.
9. What was your all-time favorite book as a child?
Wowwww. So hard to answer. Probably Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine.
10. What do you want to see happen in the future for GoGo Books?
My main goal, for now, is to collaborate with local businesses to get some regular hours like I mentioned above. Ideally, I would get out of the weekend event circuit and start operating more like a regular retail store with set hours, just one that is in a different location every day. I have had a lot of requests for franchising so eventually could look into that. I’d love to take a booktruck road trip one day and see how it does in other cities/states!
11. What do you enjoy doing in your free time:
Reading of course! Getting outside, taking walks, doing random crafts and never cleaning up after them
12. Favorite genre to read:
Picture books, historical fiction.