It is no secret that humans like to keep a record of events that have happened in their lives. In recent years, we’ve seen an ever-growing collection of social media apps take those records and make it possible to keep them digitally. It’s easier, doesn’t cost as much, and takes up less space than say a scrapbook or journal. Unfortunately, one major aspect was lost when everything went digital—the conversations that happen when looking through scrapbooks. In fact, it has been proven that when parents talk about the past and show physical pictures to their children, they will have stronger autobiographical memory skills. This form of conversation is called elaborative reminiscing.
Now, you may be thinking to yourself, “My plate is already so full. I don’t have time to make my kids a scrapbook,” or “I can’t handle the stress that comes with it!” Well, that’s fair. It’s a lot to ask from a parent who already does so much. That is what spurred an ingenious idea from Vanessa Quigley, co-founder of Chatbooks.
From Phone to Photo Book
Vanessa Quigley is a mother of seven, and while raising her kids she worked part time as a singer and actress. On top of all that, she loved creating picture books for all of her kids. But in 2014, Quigley found that she didn’t have time to make scrapbooks or print photos anymore. “I was failing in this job that I took so painfully serious, and the mom guilt was too much,” she recalls. So, with the help of her husband, Nate, who had previously created a photo sharing enterprise software for family and friends, they started figuring out a way to take Vanessa’s Instagram posts and turn them into a photo book. Their experiment was a great success, and they were able to turn that success into their company, Chatbooks.
Chatbooks is an app and website that can easily and efficiently take your photos, print them, and turn them into a photo book that gets delivered right to your door. Already sound too good to be true? Well, it gets better.
Chatbooks offers many great options to get your pictures off of your phone and into your hands, including the Instagram series (which takes your posts from your account and puts them in a book), the Monthbooks (a monthly subscription that can cost as low as $8 where you upload 30 pictures straight from your camera roll to be included in your book), and the Standard Photo Book (which can go up to 366 pages and only costs $15 per book). Though it may not be made by hand, these books are cute and just as meaningful. Most importantly, your kids will now have a way to look back on their memories, and making memories is at the heart of it all.
Making Meaningful Memories
When asked about how important it is to create opportunities and experiences to make meaningful memories for her family, Quigley replied, “I wanted to create a sense of history for our family. So, we created Family Fandango, which is a way to try new experiences, and it helps us keep traditions.”
Traditions are a great way to make memories—think holidays, birthdays, family nights, etc., but don’t forget to document everyday life! There will be those moments that may happen every day, whether it’s your child holding your hand, your kids playing together with blocks, or your family sitting down for a meal. You may not think twice about it, but someday it will be the last time that happens. “When living in the moment, if you think ‘I want to hold onto this,’ then take a picture,” says Quigley. “There is no picture I regret taking, only missed opportunities.”
Sometimes certain memories remain more vivid than others, but having pictures of those moments can help. “My earliest memory is when I was three years old. It is me and my dad having a tea party,” Quigley recalls. “I don’t really know if it is from me remembering or because there is a picture, but having the picture cements it in my memory.”
Quigley has done a great job when it comes to cementing those memories for her family. “We have a family series, which is mine and my husband’s Instagrams. We do yearly books for the kids, books for trips, Christmas books, and a Chatbook series for my and Nate’s parents. Our kids even make them as gifts!”
In the Business of Family
It seems that the Quigley family has benefited incredibly from creating this business. “I’ve learned that you can chase your dreams and work hard for something you care about,” says Quigley. “I’ve been able to show my daughters that mothers can have a career and still be great mothers. And I have really enjoyed working with my husband. It has helped strengthen our relationship.”
With how important family is to Quigley, it is no surprise that much of their company is family oriented. Chatbooks was built with a deliberate culture that is family friendly. They ask each employee to give just eight amazing hours every workday and require that once a quarter they take a week off (called mandatory time off). They offer maternity leave and unlimited paid time off whenever needed. “Everything we would need to keep our family healthy is what we offer and provide to our team,” shares Quigley. You couldn’t ask for better standards from a company whose mission is to provide a way to keep your memories everlasting.
If you are interested in getting started with using Chatbooks, you can download the mobile app (both Android and iOS), visit chatbooks.com, find tips on Instagram at either @chatbooks or @vanessaquigley, or join their vibrant Facebook community, MomForce.