Knowing that thousands of families across Australia (and a couple in NZ, the UK and USA) are loving and enjoying our Australian Made Travel Journals make our hearts burst every single day! Here is the story of HOW we made magic happen….
Our Travel Journal lived in my head for many years, a thought, that one day I would turn it into reality.
We have journaled our adventures with our girls since they were born. We would write them like story books, knowing that they would someday learn how to read and enjoy them too. We wrote them for them: “Today we went to the zoo…There is a baby in Mummy’s belly”
After watching our eldest pull down her Travel Journals from the book case and practice her reading and seeing her get so much enjoyment out of this activity I started the search for the perfect Travel Journal that would grow with her. We have used photo books and exercise books and we had been through quite a few different journals. But none of these were quite what we wanted! BOOM! It was time to get the Travel Journal out of my head…
When I first pitched the idea to Wayne, I expected him to say “are you nuts?”, but instead his response blew me away; “I love the idea, let’s do it together”.
What followed was a rollercoaster year of planning, research, design, hurdles, hiccups and barriers that tested us….and made us stronger. Those of you out there who run a business with the love of your life will totally understand the ‘testing’ times.
Getting our Travel Journal from my head to real life would not have been possible without my graphic designer and good friend Roxy from Rocko Designs. We had previously worked together on other projects and she just gets me! She could read my mind, decipher my scribbled drawings and was so patient with me as we went back and forth and back and forth till we got it right.
During the design process we were on the hunt for a printer. Despite being professionals in our day to day lives, we both had no experience with putting a book together, printing or manufacturing. This was an enormous learning curve and a hurdle that had us on the verge of giving up so many times. We had underestimated how much this entire project would cost and the time that we needed to invest into it. Deep breaths…the one thing that kept us going was that we LOVED our Travel Journal and BELIEVED in it…so we just had to go for it. Take a leap…
Many people suggested that we would never be able to print onshore, that we would have to go to China or somewhere overseas, despite desperately wanting to make our Travel Journals Australian Made. Our response to this… Screw it! They have to be Australian made…we WILL make it happen!
It is important to us to support our local businesses and communities. Living in a small country town, we understand the importance of shopping local and using local services. Our local printer was amazing, incredible service, care and quality – all only 30 minutes up the road. 5 years on, we continue to stick with our local printer, ensuring our much loved Travel Journal remain Australian Made.
Our first cover design was a true reflection of where we were as a business at the start. Caravanning with Kids was in launch phase and we were so excited to be turning our Travel Journal into reality that we were a little naïve about the impact a few features might have. It was suggested that having our Caravanning with Kids logo slap bang in the middle might put other travellers off buying one. Wayne and I laughed and said that people will ‘get it’, they will understand that our Journals were for ALL types of adventures and not just for caravanning, that Caravanning with Kids was just our brand.
Well, this is what happened the week after they were released back in May 2015:
“Hello, we love the look of your journals, but we don’t caravan…”
“Your Travel Journals are great, but do you make one for camping…”
“It’s a pity your journals are only for caravanning as they would be perfect for our trip to Thailand…”
Ok…rookie mistake and something that we now laugh about. During this time, I always had in the back of my head that we would need to change the cover, it would be a smart move. We also put www.travellingwithkids.com.au on the back burner…would we ever get the time to launch this one too?
Fast forward to the end of 2015 and our Travel Journals were in the hands of thousands of families across Australia – yes, mainly caravanners and campers, but this was AOK with us as we had worked hard to build the Caravanning with Kids community and were absolutely thrilled with our little creation.
Time to go to print again and I had a vision – we loved the map from the first cover, but I wanted it to be a map of Australia – easy, lets buy a toy caravan, car, plane, boat, tent and throw them on a map, take a photo and hey presto! Our new cover! Arrhhhhh, it did not quite work out like that.
After a few weeks with our photographer and toys that were the wrong dimensions, we ended up with only the caravan and the plane but we loved it anyway. Adding the plane will show all our potential customers that they are for ALL types of travelling… right?
Early 2016 and we launched our NEW cover design – it received rave reviews. We loved it as it was our photo used and our Caravanning with Kids logo was on there too…just a little bit smaller.
Then the messages started again:
“We saw your journals, but it said they were from Caravanning with Kids so we didn’t bother buying”
“They look great but we don’t caravan” WHAT! Can’t you see the little plane?? Hahahaha
Deep breath! We loved them and we knew the majority of families would get it…and they did! So for the families that were possibly confused, we finally launched Travelling with Kids in September 2016 and started making plans for formulating ideas for our next print run!
Once again, I had a clear idea of what I thought I wanted, but turning this vision into a reality was easier said than done. We had admired the work of Marie O’Neill on numerous occasions and I met her on the Gold Coast through a mutual friend and she was lovely and so talented. We tossed around the idea of getting something designed and the thought made us want to vomit. We were about to head into the biggest print run we had done and this time it had to be perfect. Marie worked on a Mood Board for us and what she produced blew us both away. It was an illustration! Did we want a hand drawn illustration? Her ideas and influences were an exact match, she got it! She threw herself into the design and our brand and despite, never entertaining the idea of an illustration for our cover, we just felt we had to go for it.
The rest, as they say, is history! Our new front cover design was officially launched at the Caravan Industry Victoria Caravan Show in February 2017 and the response has been overwhelming. Our new cover is fresh, modern and incorporates all the modes of transport. A gorgeous illustration that we LOVE so much.
I am pretty sure we won’t get any more messages…fingers crossed!!
UPDATE: In Feb 2018 we gave our much loved Travel Journal a little make over and added some NEW activity sheets… GET YOURS HERE:
In 2019 we got something that made us super proud! We got our Australian Made Campaign Licence – who would have thought a little green triangle could make us so happy!
Manufacturing & marketing an Australian Made product takes dedication & passion – two things we have truck loads of and what helped us when we jumped into another ripper product – Slide n’ Dry Pegless Clotheslines – also made in Victoria and they also carry the Australian Made Campaign Licence…
MASSIVE thanks goes out to:
- Willprint Shepparton – our trusted local printer who continues to deliver a high quality product that we can not fault
- Go Make Some Memories and the Caravan Industry Association of Victoria – our much loved major supporter
- Little Bags of Magic – the little shop in our small town of Numurkah that houses all the Caravanning with Kids and Travelling with Kids fun
- OUR FAMILY! Unconditional love and support in truck loads…
And… YOU!! Your support of our business and our community and our Aussie made products keeps us going and makes our hearts burst every single day… THANK YOU xx
Happy & Safe Travels
Adele, Wayne, Ashlee, Kate and the CWK & TWK Team…
Did you know that we also manufacture our Slide n’ Dry Pegless Clotheslines in Melbourne!!!