Looking back and looking forward
Updated: Feb 12, 2021
It has been a tumultuous year. What will the new year bring?
Message from Jeanisha Wan, founder of THE STORY BOOK:
Dear customers and friends, A very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you. If you've joined us for our event yesterday, it was wonderful seeing all of you again. And we also terribly miss many of you whom we've not seen for some time since the pandemic began.
THE STORY BOOK team will be away starting from 24th Dec to 4th Jan for year-end holidays. I know some of you have been asking us about our 2021 event calendar and when is the next event or when we will be taking in students for our narrating/acting classes.
To be honest, we are not sure how to plan the next event or next class, given the current uncertainties of Covid-19 cases in our country. Many times, we have planned some dates/events and often it had to be postponed time and again.
This whole year has not been easy for us at THE STORY BOOK. We started the year on a high note, running sold-out events every week until our last session pre-MCO of Snow White at Sunway Velocity mall. We were also (at that time) embarking on bringing our program to pre-schools via licensing and we have also brought our events to Ipoh and was about to go to Lumut too. Then MCO happened.
In July, we slowly restarted our events on a small-scale (limiting the attendance per session) and we tried to bring some events outdoors (although that also means we could not do certain things if it's outdoors).
In August, on the cusp of recovery from the pandemic (it seems) we finally moved into our new home at Phileo Damansara 1, and started THE STORY BOOK Academy, which conducts regular classes on story acting/story narrating. I started holding auditions to recruit new part-time narrators for our events so we can be at multiple places at the same time. Also, some of these narrators will be our trainers for our classes too. The plan is to EXPAND our footprint and reach to as many places as possible.
Things were going on alright in September. Sign-ups for our story acting classes were full. We kicked off both story acting and story narrating classes on a high note. We resumed our events albeit still limiting the pax.
Then October came and the CMCO happened. And all our plans were hijacked and had to be postponed. It has been very tough for us.
I like to use this analogy. Imagine preparing all the ingredients of a dish you are about to cook (you have them all cut/chopped/prepared) and you just cannot put it into the wok. So you wait and wait and then you need to throw away all the ingredients and start all over again (either with alternatives) or do all the rehearsals all over again, all the preparation again with new people/new materials. Time, effort, money were all gone to waste.
We also tried experimenting with online events but found it not effective and lack the experience we want to give to the kids. There are also challenges with technical lags and kids concentration to a screen.
For most of you who are our regulars (and we thank you for some of you who have been attending our events since Day 1) and seeing how your children grew together with us, is such a delight to me personally. I hope we've made a difference in your child's life no matter how small.
That was the objective of THE STORY BOOK. We want to make a difference in a child's life - we want to inculcate the love of stories/storybooks in the young generation, starting when they are still young. And that is why you notice our tickets are relatively cheap compared to other workshops/events out there - we want to make it affordable to the masses - so every child can have a chance to attend and experience our events.
My objective is not to get rich through THE STORY BOOK. This business is about leaving a legacy. But we do need to survive somehow as some of you know, the entire company is funded by a sole entrepreneur. There are no business partners/investors/rich family behind us.
Not because I am not open to having partners/investors but because THE STORY BOOK's value proposition/mission is so unique, it has not been easy to find people/companies who share the same dream and agenda. Although our doors are open to everyone who wants to explore.
So this year has been very tough for us. As a dreamer and entrepreneur (I am accidental entrepreneur if you read my columns in THE STAR - I have a column there for 3 years), I endeavor to stay positive, look for new paths/alternatives, try and try again and never give up. But it is a roller coaster experience, admittedly.
So what's next for THE STORY BOOK? When will be our next event? When can our classes begin/resume? I honestly do not know.
This has been a long read and if you've read up till this, I thank you for your attention. I thank you for the huge support you've been giving to us. We would not have made it so far without all of you. We hope you will continue to support us, no matter how and which direction THE STORY BOOK will go next.
May 2021 be a year of 'revival' for all of us. Happy New Year!
Jeanisha Wan (the chief kid)