Can you tell us more about yourself?
How did the name Bright Ink come about?Bright: We want to spread the message that each person has something to offer to the world. We want to convey the beautiful message of how bright each and every one of us can be once we know how to express ourselves. Ink: In addition to selling ink-printed secondhand books, we intend to provide a safe, creative space where people of all ages are able to untame themselves and create something as simple as words on a piece of paper.
What inspired you to set up a mobile bookshop in Queenstown?
How long did it take for you to set up Bright Ink? What was the process like?
The conversation happened some time in August and we had our first meeting then. The biggest questions were “where do we start?” and “how are we going to get the help we need?” We searched for any funding programs that were being offered. We were excited to complete a 30-page business plan and proposal to share with potential funders and flesh out all of our ideas. The search of a perfect van started in August too.
By September, things were in full business mode and we decided to take a leap of faith and hire an accountant, fill out a lot of paperwork and get incorporated by October. We then purchased domain names and hosts to build a website. By the end of November, we decided to run a 4-week crowdfunding campaign via PledgeMe. We had a target to reach a minimum of $7,000 NZD. With this platform, if you do not reach your minimum target, you don’t receive any of the pledged money. We are happy to report we received more than half of the minimum target amount within 24 hours. We closed out the campaign a week before Christmas and successfully raised a total of $7,130. The funds from the campaign were used to convert the van and buy our first stock of books.
In December, we brought home our Nissan Caravan. We started to make plans for the van and decided to open up shop by mid February.
What's the most challenging part about setting up Bright Ink?
The most challenging part so far has been arranging the work on the van and designing the interior. We have learned a lot in a very short amount of time. We are always happy to accept support, advice and assistance from our peers and fellow business owners.
What kind of books do you sell? Do you have a favourite book/genre?
We selectively curate titles in a variety of genres. We have general fiction, memoirs, general non-fiction, adventure, crime and thriller, young adult and children’s books. We have found the locals have been enjoying an array of non-fiction books.
Natasya: I enjoy cult classics and my all time favorite book is On The Road by Jack Kerouac. My favorite book from the ‘Recently Read’ pile is All Men Want to Know by Nina Bouraoui. I've always been a fiction girl but recently I’ve been reading a lot of non-fiction books!
Annie: I enjoy memoirs and autobiographies as well as feminist science-fiction. A book I have recently enjoyed is The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls.
What makes Bright Ink different from the other pop-up bookshops?
Bright Ink intends to provide the platform of promoting local artists' artworks.
What makes the reading culture in New Zealand different from Malaysia? What can Malaysians do to improve our reading culture back home?Natasya: Every country has a different set of cultures and upbringings. New Zealand has implemented a systematic way of making reading effective. From my casual observation working as a librarian in Queenstown, the community tends to inculcate themselves to read since young and this is most definitely passed on to their children. The children are encouraged by heaps of reading challenges with prizes and spend much less time indoors with electronic gadgets as that is the lifestyle in Queenstown. Families will have days out in the library together and on average, would have 50 books checked out for one child. Infants as little as 3 months old have their own library cards. This same goes for senior citizens. You would see old folks' home vans popping up at the library with their patrons, and with their canes, rush to hunt for books, which is quite refreshing to see. Malaysian’s reading culture has definitely improved from time to time. I am happy to know that it is one of the Southeast Asia countries that has the highest literacy rate. I remember we have DEAR programs and Buku Nilam classes back in primary and high schools. Students were encouraged to sit in the library and aim to read at least two books in a week. I suppose the biggest distraction for Malaysian would be the advancement of digital media, especially from the Internet and how children are frequently exposed to tablets instead of books. When I was 11, I started reading Adult Fiction books instead of Children's Fiction/ Young Adult. I did not know there were reading levels which we have to follow thoroughly (baby books, children’s picture books, children’s first chapter books, children's fiction and non-fiction, young adult and adult fiction and non-fictions).
What's your favourite part about operating Bright Ink?Our favourite part so far has been bringing smiles to people’s faces and sharing the love of books. We’re overwhelmed with the massive support from the community. Hanging out in the van and knowing we can have a cheeky read of any book we choose is pretty great too.
Where can we spot Bright Ink in Queenstown? Do you have plans to set up more mobile bookshops in New Zealand?
What are your future plans for Bright Ink?Bright Ink’s future plans include having our very own brick-and-mortar shop with our van parked outside. We want to be one of the pioneers providing a safe creative space in Queenstown. To find out more about Bright Ink, check out their Facebook and Instagram! Dreaming of travelling to New Zealand once the situation gets better? Check out our recommended reads below!
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