Hello! We are Matt Miller and Maggie Pouncey, and together we’re making Stories, a bookshop and storytelling lab in Brooklyn, NY.
We believe stories can change the world: stories ignite a child’s limitless imagination, innate curiosity, and passion for learning. Many studies show this, but you can sense it intuitively when you read a great story with your kid, or think back to the feeling of being read to when you were small. We believe growing up in a world of books can make all the difference, and that storytelling is a vital art, one that in our digitally-saturated age, deserves and demands preservation.
Our Bergen Street shop will carry a beautiful collection of children’s literature for ages zero through young adult, with a section for parents, too, as well as rare, out-of-print, and vintage finds, and framed bookish art. We will also sell the perfect pencils, notebooks, stationery, art supplies, and other necessary tools for budding storytellers.
For the Stories community beyond our Brooklyn shop, we plan to launch Perfect Stories, our book-of-the-month club: Sign up, and each month, we will send you a hand-picked Stories favorite picture book, middle-grade, or YA book (you decide which!) paired with our signature Story Starter games and prompts right to your mailbox (wherever that may be!).
458 Bergen Street, the soon-to-be Stories HQ, sits at the nexus of the neighborhoods of Park Slope, Prospect Heights and Boerum Hill. A stone's throw from the bustle of the Barclays Center, it's a quintessential tree-lined Brooklyn block, with many thriving small businesses we are delighted to call neighbors, including Pintchik Hardware (also our landlord!), Gorilla Coffee, Ride Brooklyn, A. Cheng, Wild Was Mama, Babeland, Sun in Bloom, and V Curated.
Sharing 458 Bergen with our bookshop, our Storytelling Lab will be a home for storytellers age 5-13. The lab will provide extracurricular activities for young readers, writers, and artists. Like most writers, Maggie has spent a lot of her adult life in writing workshops — both as a student and a teacher — and with her programming team will work to reimagine that intense, creative and collaborative space for younger kids. Our goal is to host a range of programs, including:
All the labs will be taught and facilitated by real life working writers. Some of these writers will be close friends, and fellow parents; all will be authors and artists whose work we love.
We are so excited to share the world of Stories, but we can’t do it on our own. We've written our business plan, signed our lease, hired our first employee, and begun construction. Our goal is to open in some way, shape, or form, by April 30—Independent Bookstore Day. We may not have shelves quite yet, but we will have Stories to tell! Our backers will follow along as we work hard to make it all happen (also watch the behind-the-scenes drama unfold on Instagram — @storiesbk).
To bring our plans to life, we are asking our friends, family, neighbors and the Kickstarter community to help us chip away at the start-up costs of opening Stories. We have invested as much of our personal savings as we can muster, and have been approved for a small business loan, but there's still a gap between that and our opening costs and early operating expenses. Here’s a brief breakdown of what we can achieve with your support:
To thank you for helping us build a foundation for Stories, we’ve assembled a variety of objects and experiences we hope will contribute to your lives as storytellers, from custom notebooks and totes to one-on-one writing sessions for children with renowned writers. (These images are previews! Absolute final designs may vary some.)
We worked with the geniuses of Partner & Partners to bring the spirit of Stories to life with this sly and adorable cast of characters. T-shirts available in kids' and adult sizes. The below tote might be our favorite bag ever.
One of the most serendipitous discoveries of building Stories thus far came in the form of our bookmark printer, Nick Hurd, of Wasp Poster and Print, the grandson of legendary illustrator Clement Hurd. In his Bushwick studio, Nick is at work designing a limited edition letterpress poster just for Stories, using never-before-seen art by his famous grandpa!
We are lucky to call many of our most favorite writers friends, and over the moon to be offering one-on-one writing consultations for young writers with several of them as rewards to our backers.
We love book art, and have framed a collection of vintage children's book covers, like this iconic To Kill a Mockingbird cover. So excited to sell these in the shop, and offer them to our backers.
Stories is a small family business founded, owned and operated by husband and wife team Matt Miller and Maggie Pouncey.
Maggie Pouncey is the author of the novel Perfect Reader (Pantheon, 2010). Her work has appeared in Fence, The New York Times Book Review and other places. A teaching artist for over a decade, she has taught writing workshops in many contexts, from poetry workshops for second and third graders in Long Island, to essay writing for inmates at a medium security prison through the Bard Prison Initiative. She has taught high schoolers in all genres of creative writing through Columbia’s summer program and the non-profit Girls Write Now, where she served as the volunteer Curriculum Director, and has taught undergraduates at Columbia University and Barnard College. Maggie received her BA and MFA from Columbia.
Matt Miller comes to Stories as a veteran technology entrepreneur and manager. He has worked in New York technology companies for more than 15 years, with experience in both start-ups and well-established firms. Most recently, Matt served as CTO of Amplify Insight, an education technology company, where he led development of several industry-leading literacy and math products, reaching millions of students in all 50 states. Matt holds BS and MS degrees in Computer Science from Columbia University.
Together we are the parents of two small boys. As founders and parents we believe that a love of stories and storytelling is one of the surest lifelong gifts you can give your children.