Salutations! Today we would like to tell you another story! If you have followed our blog since we started it a few blogs ago, you might notice a common element to it. Our blog is all about individual stories about us, what we stand for, and what we love. We hope you will leave a comment answering the question at the end to help us to get to know you better, as you get to know us better!
Let's get to it, shall we?
Many times we tell the story of how the company came to be, but not as often do we talk about specifics of actually how long it took. In a previous blog (The Day We First Thought of You), we talked about the very day this company became a real thought. It was a truly remarkable moment for our CEO, Jessica Cassick, who had a lot of mental anguish concerning her thoughts about the life her doctors told her she would have after her car accident in early 2011.
The thing you might not know is that when Jessica sets her sights on a goal, she can feel it, see it, and live in that goal way before it ever exists in real life. The second Jessica can see it in her head, it WILL join our reality in however long it takes to happen (usually not that long).
One of the very first books we did was about Autism. It was the second book that spread awareness about a cause, and this was indeed before mission books were a thing for us. Jessica has felt a connection to Autism Spectrum Disorder for many, many years. She has conducted so much self-motivated research about it, to learn as much as she can. The people in her life, that are close to her, know that she does this because, in every bit of research, she believes that she can learn about herself - though she has never been formally diagnosed. Jessica finds Autism to be a thing of beauty in her mind, and learning about it has helped her to learn about the ways in which she is primarily different than a lot of people from a new and positive perspective than she originally considered.
Growing up, Jessica was unique. She didn’t have very many friends, and she was on the High Honor Roll well before she understood what it was. She had trouble understanding other's personal boundaries, and she usually had her homework done around the time the teacher finished explaining it to the rest of the class. This made so much more time available to try to talk to EVERYONE around her. She spent first through fourth grade continuously being segregated, literally usually having to move her desk away from the rest of her class because she was looked down upon as a class-clown, and disruption, but she just didn't understand that not everyone else finished their work as fast as she did.
Hindsight 20/20, Jessica can look back and see that she was not being challenged enough. She had the highest Accelerated Reader (AR) scores in her class because she was thankfully able to move her desk away...but right next to the bookshelf. She read books all day long in school, and then she would jump into the computer chair to take that book's AR test. Does this story sound familiar to those of you who purchased one of our first-year books? Jessica wrote a story about it called Eloina Spelloina and a No Good Day. This book is from a series that is her very own.
Flash-forward to the day her dad passed away in 2014, and this moment lit a fire in her heart. She made a promise to her dad’s spirit to let him live on in her life and imagination. She didn’t know what that was until the day she realized that she could use some of the inheritance he left behind to start the business she envisioned, and he would live on in the work that she did.
From the second she had the idea until it became a real business, it took three days. She left her graduate class on October 9, 2016, with this idea. She wrote the business plan in her head on the way home. When she got home, she scrambled to grab papers and a pen to write it all down officially as soon as she could. She hyper-focused until everything was complete as fast as she could; legal paperwork, the website, business email address, plans for the first four books, business cards were designed and sent out for printing, social media accounts were created, and marketing to find illustrators had started. She had even started planning the Grand Opening.
Three weeks later, on October 23rd she came back to class, and handed her professor her brand-new business card, and said: "I started my business over break...what did you do?" His face blushed with surprise, and his eyes welled up with tears as he smiled back at her. “This is why I teach…” he said to her, and he gave her a giant hug. It was truly a moment they will carry with them forever.
Again we would like to remind you…”The second Jessica can see it in her head, it WILL join our reality in however long it takes to happen (...and usually not long).”
We hope you enjoyed our blog today! It has been years since this moment occurred, but it still feels like yesterday. Check back on Thursday to learn more about how she strategically turned launching her business into graduate college credit at Buffalo State in her second semester.