The Recession is Bullhonkey: Katie’s Story

This is part of The Recession is Bullhonkey series, where I share stories of those who have gotten hired and/or started their own businesses (or sometimes both!) since 2008. This is Katie Clemon‘s Story, and it’s gonna kick your butt if you’re all over the But-I-Don’t-Have-Anywhere-I-Can-Work excuse. 

Raise your hand if you like the idea of journaling.

Keep your hand up if you struggle with keeping said journal. Or keep raising your hand if it seems like you’re only journaling one sort of thing: the sad stuff. The confusing things. The boring details.

I don’t know about you, but once upon a time, both of my hands were WAY UP.

You’re not going to jump up every morning and say, “This is awesome!” Every minute of every day just isn’t like that, right? But what about those minutes that are awesome? How do we make sure those moments get documented?

I’m Katie; I’m a storycatcher.

My entire job is creating journals that help you become an awesome storycatcher, dreamer, and adventurer.

My journey began on my grandma’s 90th birthday. NPR’s StoryCorp was in town, and we decided to jump into their recording bus to chat about my grandma’s life. But there was a serious problem:

My grandma couldn’t remember her story.

She’d be telling me a really wonderful story, then pause. Her soft blue eyes would stare into mine. “I don’t remember, Katie,” she’d say with a sad sigh.

How many other women were forgetting their stories, I wondered. How many other women were thinking that their stories didn’t matter and that they weren’t worth remembering?

In October 2009, I opened an Etsy shop. I was living in Berlin, Germany, as a full-time language student while my German husband worked. Readers of my blog, Making This Home, purchased a few of my journals. And other people started to, too.

My handmade journals use writing prompts to capture the fun stuff – what makes you jump out of bed in the morning, what you laugh at, what you embrace, and most important of all: who you are.

I want women to capture life’s passion. Document themselves. And let these book become the place for celebrating, “This is who I am!”

My very first customer purchased a journal just hours after I opened my shop. She wrote:

“I just want to tell you that I’m so impressed with this book. I lost my husband last year. Anyway one of the things I’m hung up on is dreaming again – having a new tomorrow and goals. I’m going to give my therapist this little book and your site because this little book with it’s beautiful words is helping me to see my beauty again and my hope is that I will pursue more dreams instead of fearing pain. I want to impress the significance of this little book.” — N.

That note gave me the boost of confidence to know, “Yes! This idea is worth it. Maybe it isn’t just hobby worthy.”

My husband isn’t a journaler, but he got it.

In April 2010, the German government gave my German skills the thumbs up. My classes were done, and my husband, Martin, and I planned to head back to the US for a while.

“Let’s do this,” my husband said. We started to build as you know it today, and we moved back to the US. Gadanke became my dream job.

My office has always been in our bedroom. This is the house we’re renting in the US; it’s made of tires:

I can’t always devote the time I’d like to growing Gadanke because we’re in the process of building our own home in an old airplane hangar. Pretty soon, Gadanke is going to have its very own home in the hangar, too:

The recession has been rough on the aviation industry. I see how much pilots struggle to sell their planes. I see how hard it is to afford flying.

Through Gadanke, I also see hope. So many women are tired of raising their hands and saying, “I want to journal so badly it hurts… but I can’t.” With Gadanke, I see women who are daring to dream. I see women who are celebrating themselves and living with passion.

Your ordinary story? It really is awesome. Recession or not.

Katie Clemons is a storycatcher. She helps women capture memories and celebrate ordinary stories, because those are the moments that matter in life. Her award-winning journal shop, Gadanke, offers handmade journals with writing prompts, European papers, and 100% recycled embellishments. She also blogs at Making This Home about celebrating your story from Berlin, Germany and an airplane hangar in rural Montana.



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