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Owlet Press Showcase
We've recently teamed up with Owlet Press to bring you some exciting, new and educational children's books. Sam Langley-Swain, Founder and Managing Director of Owlet Press, talks to us about his background and how Owlet Press came to be.
Having graduated from Leeds University in Fine Art and building a professional career as a marketing and brand strategist; when my husband and I adopted two school age siblings in 2014, little did I know just how greatly the complexity of their adverse history and their ability to adapt, would inspire a new professional chapter for me as well as a personal one.
Our roots outside publishing have provided Owlet Press with an appetite to always look for fresh angles to challenge industry conventions and cultivate a unique, inclusive, and authentic list.
We nurture and champion authors and illustrators from all walks of life and diversity flows in our veins. We were a ‘one-man’ operation in our infancy, but we have grown with help and guidance from a close-knit group of industry experts in freelance/ consulting roles. We’re now a tiny but respected inclusive press, publishing stories that help create more positive futures for all children, celebrating characters, authors and illustrators from all backgrounds and communities. We want each and every one of the stories we publish to bring joy and strength to those children and families who need it most.
Tell us about the origins of your business
I started to write the bones of ‘What Wesley Wore’ on a flight to a client meeting in San Francisco. Our children had only been with us for a matter of weeks, so my mind was certainly very active during international travel. I typed a few strands of plot ideas and then saved it onto a pen drive and to the back of my mind. It wasn’t until 2017, that I first started writing ‘properly’ and self-published my first children’s book, ‘Santa’s Wish’, inspired by my family’s experiences after hearing the heart-wrenching memories of previously-missed Christmases.
The success of ‘Santa’s Wish’ created demand (and funds) for more books that inspired social good, and so Owlet Press was born.
What’s your motto?
Our official strapline is ‘Growing into wisdom’ as we want all our stories to teach children (and grown-ups) something new about themselves, other people, or our planet – but we live to the motto that ‘books are for everyone’.
How would you describe your designs/products?
We create uplifting, diverse stories that celebrate characters, authors and illustrators from all backgrounds and communities. We are inspired by the challenges children face and want to package these big ‘issues’ into joyful and thought-provoking stories for them to discuss with friends, families and schools, preparing them for adult life.
Tell us about your materials -where do you source your materials from?
Our books are nearly always printed on sustainable (FSC) paper and printed in the UK – we’re very mindful of our environmental impact. All of our packaging and printed marketing is either recycled or recyclable.
Tell us about your making process?
We look out for the most exciting stories from all areas of society and then match the words to the most exciting and authentic illustrators – seeing this pairing bring the story to life really is magical!
Have you ever had any interesting commissions?
I’ve been lucky enough to work on a series of picture books with The Royal Mint – to create a fictional universe around such an important cultural landmark was a real honour!
Do you have a favourite of the Birmingham museums? If so,why?
Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery - as an art graduate the art gallery is my favourite – the artwork and the building! So inspiring and feels like home for me as a creative.
And finally, a tourist arrives in Birmingham for the first time ever, where do you take them?
Digbeth – it’s like Birmingham’s version of Brooklyn and has an incredible vibe.