Your Life in Letters 3

Like many busy working mothers, Brynne Watkins had every intention to update and add to her children’s baby books as they grew up.

“For Luca, my first child, I half-filled his baby book and kept a scrapbook for him until he was two. Then Blake came along. Blake got his name on the first page of his baby book,” says the Valley City mother of two.

Brynne, who works in health care sales, knew there was a better way to leave something in writing for her children, something she could give them when they went away to college or got married.

“That’s when I came up with the idea of writing each of them a letter once a year on their birthdays,” she says, “and I created a keepsake scrapbook for the letters.”

The idea was so popular with her friends that they began to write yearly letters to their children. And Brynne’s scrapbook was so beautiful, her friends begged her to make scrapbooks for them.

That’s when Brynne created Your Life in Letters, a child keepsake book now available at Medina’s Root Candles and JK Gift Shop, Lovely Paperie in Rocky River, every Nordstrom store across America, target.com and buybuybaby.com.

“There’s a girl version and a boy version, each with its own age appropriate designs on the pages,” says Brynne, “There’s a place for a photo and an envelope for the letter. The book retails for $29.99.”

But what to write in that letter? Brynne suggests since the letter is penned only once each year, it’s a good time to reflect on what your child did that year.

“Mention school and vacations, accomplishments and mishaps, funny things they said or did, your hopes and dreams for them, what you think they might be when they grow up. The keepsake book can be passed from generation to generation. It’s a great way for your grandkids to see what their dad or mom was like when they were young.”

Getting the book from concept to retail was a process that Brynne admits wasn’t always easy.

“I knew nothing about printing when I got started. A local printer gave me an education on the printing process. I hired a graphic designer, found a printer and searched for a publisher. The first printing wasn’t high enough quality. It was so disappointing. I had to start over with another printer. I also had to find a manufacturer.”

Brynne’s background in retail gave her an advantage in getting the book into stores. “I’m in health care sales now,” she says “but my first job out of college was helping retail store buyers purchase for their category. I know the buying and selling process. I knew I had to get the book into the right person’s hands. Once I knew who that was, I sent samples to them. It’s a very long process. If a big retail chain decides to carry your product, you have to meet all the specs of that chain.”

Brynne had to find and learn how to use an electronic data interface system which is required by big chains.

“There’s lots of documentation to sign to meet the big retailers’ requirements. I also had to set up shipping and inventory. My advice to anyone who has an idea is that you have to start somewhere. Even if you don’t know anything about the process, do one thing to get the ball rolling. The entire process is a learning experience.”

Brynne hopes busy parents will find the keepsake book a time-saver. “It will relieve you from that baby-book-guilt. It’s easy to keep up with, you simply write one letter every year until your child is an adult. Once you hand it to your grown children, they will treasure the book forever.”

Find more information at YourLifeInLetters.com.