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Organiser of the Month - Jessica Thomas

30th September 2020

Our fabulous community of Organisers do an incredible job of building their businesses, their way. But this doesn't come without its challenges! Our September Organiser of the Month has channelled her infectious love of books and her powerful "Why" to face these challenges head-on, becoming an inspiration to her team in the process.

Jessica was nominated by her mentor, Nicky:

"Jessie has been in my team for two years and she's just the sweetest person - she has such a love for the books that really shines through, and I know she loves sharing her books with her son's school and other parents and children.

She has had stalls and sales locally selling with other small businesses and, even with a few knock-backs, her determination doesn't falter. I love to cheer her on when she has a small wobble!

Jessie always loves meeting people. She has a really strong "Why" and I know this is the reason she is so determined to keep picking her Usborne business up again. She's such a motivator with her heartfelt messages and posts on our team's Facebook page - I'm really proud to be her mentor!"

Jessica shares her Usborne story with us:

"I have always been an avid reader growing up, and as a child I used reading to "travel" away from my life in rural upstate New York. I am a veterinarian by training and found myself living in Germany 13 years ago, unable to fully devote myself to my dream career in practice.

I met Usborne books through an American friend who hosted a virtual Facebook party. The books were so colourful and so informative, I just knew that my then seven-year-old would love them! Despite being an inquisitive, creative and smart boy, my Theo really struggled to learn how to read and could not keep up in school, and he was held back a year. So I Googled 'Usborne Organisers in Germany', found Nicky Powell's info, thought 'she looks nice', and sent her an email about joining her group. And that is really how my journey began!

My plan was just to hand out Usborne catalogues at our international school and pre-school, while stocking up Theo's book shelf at home. However, the literacy teacher at school convinced me to join a book fair that another bookseller had agreed to do at school that spring. I had no idea what I was doing, didn't know many of the books, and my husband was absolutely against me having loads of stock at home, but I thought I had to try...

...And I had the best day ever! I LOVED interacting with the kids, and for weeks afterwards I had kids calling my name and coming up to me at school pick-up to say how much they loved their books.

I decided to do the book fair again, this time armed with more knowledge, and took a chance at ordering a bit more stock. I also felt more confident because Nicky had organised a book swap by mail the year before for YA and middle-grade fiction. And then COVID happened.

Everything was cancelled, the stock sat in my cellar, and I really lost heart. I had also started a new job during lockdown, my son was diagnosed with ADHD and dyslexia and he was having a really hard time with the pace of Year 4. Honestly, I didn't have any energy to give to Usborne - I was just trying to make it through each day without crying!

Then my friend Lucy, who works with another Direct Selling company, decided to set up a small private market in her garden and asked me if I wanted to bring my Usborne books. So we told our friends and she organised time slots for people to come. Incredulously, in one day I sold nearly half my stock and made €129 of orders! So what did I learn from all this?

  • We all need help and encouragement from our friends sometimes... and a push (voluntarily or not!) to take chances
  • Because of the book exchange Nicky organised, I KNEW the books and sold loads of my fiction stock and made lots of fiction orders because I was able to give suggestions. Also, because I had genuinely enjoyed the books I had read, I could share my excitement about reading these stories with someone else.
  • I am not organised. I like minimal effort and I suck at technology. But I felt so encouraged because I remembered what I love about Usborne - talking to people!

For me, being an Usborne Organiser is not about making money. Usborne, for me, is about community, togetherness through language and books, and encouraging kids like my son, Theo, to read and go on adventures! Usborne really does offer me so much more than books alone."

Congratulations Jessica, and thank you for sharing your story with us. An October new release of your choice will be on its way to you soon.

Nominations for Organiser of the Month...

We look forward to receiving all nominations. You may nominate yourself or any other Organiser. Please email your stories to marketing@usbornebooksathome.co.uk along with your name and Organiser number. Good luck!