We are blessed with 3 spectacular kids, Becka, Ian, and Cali. Becka and Ian are already graduated, and Cali is our baby, who just started 4th grade. About two years ago, while attempting to organize the garage, it became painfully clear that we had a whopping 49 combined years of art and schoolwork collected. Treasured memories and milestones we just couldn't bear to throw away. Artwork, handprints, penmanship, spelling tests, essays, even a letter that Becka wrote Ian after they had a big fight one day. There was no way we were throwing those things out. So, we shuffled some plastic bins around, made a mental note to "do something with all that someday", and went on with our lives.
About a year later, Peter was inspired by some bookbinding equipment he had just started using at work. He thought he could develop and customize a process that would get our kid's papers out of storage and preserved in a meaningful way. Our very first 4everBound books were created as a way to capture the most precious memories of our family's life together. By safely and permanently binding these items, we have preserved them for a lifetime. When we shared the books with friends and family, their responses were more than enthusiastic, which led us to start thinking about this as something we could do for others. With really nothing more than an instinct that there are millions of households around the United States storing all these original paper treasures, we decided to just go for it.
We invested some savings into professional bookbinding equipment and state of the art foiling machines so we could personalize the covers. Peter spent hours upon hours upon hours developing and perfecting a three-step glue process to create an extra secure hold, so that we can mix different types of original papers into one book without them falling out. Peter spent more hours upon more hours, at night after his regular full-time career, practicing and perfecting the foil printing process. (We had no idea how finicky and fussy printing with foil can be, but he was determined to make this work because, without the personalization on the cover, it just isn't the same). Meanwhile, Robyn continued to share the idea with other moms and dads and almost every single one of affirmed that we had a good idea.
We spent months developing our website so people would be able to go online and customize their book. Meanwhile, we ran a homemade video on Facebook just to see what strangers would think. And wow, were we blown away. We had comments, likes and shares we couldn't possibly have predicted. We even turned off the ad for a few months while we built the website because we just weren't ready yet. We had requests for our books from around the country. New York, Texas, North Carolina, California, Washington State, Virginia, Alabama, Florida, Connecticut, Pennsylvania. 4everBound was born before we ever even launched our site!
We are touched by every pre-school, kindergarten and grade school book we have made; we are so honored that parents trust us with their treasured keepsakes and we treat each book like it's our own. In fact, Robyn spends far more time than she probably even needs to, checking each page to make sure it's lined up properly, gluing back googly eyes that arrive hanging on by a literal thread, and trimming and folding oversized pages one by one so they can fit in the book. Given the amount of time that goes into assembling, prepping, trimming, folding, straightening, gluing, printing and binding, we're the definition of handmade, even though we use professional equipment to finish the book.
These books are more than just collections of papers. They are memories that can be passed down to the next generation, now or in the future. One book we made was a collection of letters written from father to son. Another was the only school work a mom had of her son's until divorce tore their family apart. Estranged for five years, she made a book as a graduation gift for him and he was so touched by it, they've begun texting and talking. We made books of writings and drawings that a mom gave as birthday presents for her adult children. Another was the memoir of a survivor of Nazi-occupied Denmark during WWII. We are currently working on one with 40-year-old letters between two girls away at summer camp in the 1970's, and a wife's letters to her husband while he was deployed. It has been such a blessing to our family to be a part of the memories of so many families and it is truly a humbling experience.
Each book has it's own personality and story behind it and our customers often share the "why" behind the book they are making. One book we made was a collection of letters written from a deceased father to son...advice, musings, and general guy stuff dads share with their boys. Another book contained the only school work a mom had of her son's up until 8th grade when divorce tore their family apart. Estranged for five years, she made a book as a graduation gift for him and he was so touched by it, they've since begun texting and talking again. We had tears in our eyes when she shared the texts with us. We made books of writings and drawings that a mom gave as birthday presents for her adult children. Another was the memoir of a survivor of Nazi-occupied Denmark during WWII. We did a book of letters and drawings an entire school made for their art teacher as a retirement gift. We are currently working on a book of 40-year-old letters between two girls away at summer camp in the 1970's, and a wife's letters to her husband while he was deployed. It has been such a blessing to our family to be a part of the memories of so many families and it is truly a humbling experience.
Eventually, we will hand our 4everBound books down to our kids, so they can enjoy and share them with their families one day. For now, all their saved original work is neatly bound and sitting on the shelf. We would love to do the same for you. Thank you for trusting your memories to us... we promise we will handle them with care!