With lessons learned through classes in Binghamton University’s School of Management and Harpur College, two BU students are not just writing children’s books, but bringing them to life.
Caroline Brickley, a junior majoring in English, and her twin sister Katherine, a junior majoring in theatre, have launched their own book publishing and entertainment company with seed money from their family and the monetary prize from an entrepreneurship competition on campus.
In their new venture, The Blossom Company, the Brickley sisters publish their own children’s story and then perform a live reading for children, complete with acting and costumes.
“It’s a publishing and entertainment company for children,” Katherine said. “We’re hoping, through it, to excite children about reading by allowing them to meet the characters they read about and connect with them in real life through events and story-times.”
The Brickleys founded a children’s entertainment company when they were in high school and used that experience as a jumping-off point for expansion into the world of children’s books. They said part of the inspiration for the new company came from the model of The Walt Disney Company, in its use of highly recognizable and accessible characters.
“Ever since we were little, our mom encouraged us to be creative and she told us her own made-up story before we went to bed when we were little,” Katherine said. “That kind of inspired us to come up with our own stories.”
The first major project coming out of The Blossom Company is its first book, “The Blossom Shoppe,” about two sisters who work together to save their mother’s flower shop. The book is projected to be available at the end of May, with pre-orders beginning in March or April. However, getting to this point has taken some time, and began with formulating the story.
“There wasn’t a particular children’s book that inspired [“The Blossom Shoppe”]; that one kind of came from real-life experiences and then we made it more magical,” Katherine said.
“We really had to enter a place thinking what the children would like to read and how they kind of envision the world,” Caroline added. “It’s definitely a unique process, writing children’s books … you have to look at the world through [a] child’s eyes and their perspective.”
Once the idea for the book was developed, it began a multi-step publishing process that includes reviews by a content editor, adding the illustrations and sending the illustrated manuscript to a designer who will prepare the book’s layout for the printer. The book will then get a final check for grammar and design and head to be printed and bound. Following the release of the book, the sisters are planning a book tour in Fairfield County, Connecticut, where they are from, as well as Broome County.
The sisters took this semester off from BU to focus on the company, but plan to return at some point next year. After graduating, they are hoping to return to The Blossom Company full-time and to expand into television and film projects. Their goal is to release one new picture-book each year beginning in 2018.
“We do hope to expand the company once we have a big demand over a distance and scope that we can no longer accommodate just the two of us,” Katherine said.
Despite the challenges of working so closely with a family member, the Brickleys say they enjoy collaborating and capitalizing on their unique chemistry as twins.
“We’re sisters, so we’re used to fighting about little things, but we always get over it,” Katherine said. “My mom always said we complete each other; what one of us is missing, the other makes up for it, so I feel like we’re a perfect team.”