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Talking with a kindred spirit

December 8th, 2005 · No Comments

You may recall I recently talked about the fantastic Slim Ink Book Rental.  I have been chatting via email with Marjorie, the inspiration behind the business, recently and feel like I have found a kindred spirit.

So today, for a treat – I threw a few questions at Marjorie, and she kindly agreed to let me interview her here.

We love your business Slim Ink – can you tell us a bit about how the idea came about?

I have always loved to read. [As a child I felt Enid Blyton could write no wrong!!] I read too Knowledge is Power and what knowledge can you NOT get out of a relevant book – fiction and non-fiction and sometimes when you least expect it – the light bulbs can sometimes just keep going off! Even in these days of the internet there’s still nothing like getting comfortable knowing you have an hour and a good book! OR getting into bed tired at night yet reaching for that book whose characters/story have been dancing in the back of your mind enticing your return! OR on holiday OR on the bus/train OR when you just want to chill with the proverbial glass of white!

I knew there had to be others who felt the way I did i.e. we loved to read with a passion but it was too expensive and inconvenient to buy and keep each book and the public library just wouldn’t do…… What if we could have a never ending convenient supply of books to read at a reasonable price? Talk about light bulbs!! About 12 or so years ago I experienced a lady in Malaysia who set up a little shop renting out books and I thought what a great idea! Left click to 2004 and I thought, in the words of my 19 year old, Coolio – I will set up my ‘rent a book shop’ on the internet with the latest release and bestselling titles!!

What in your background gave you the confidence to set up Slim Ink?

Belief in myself (which on some days still has room for growth I might add!) and the power of the passion for the written word. From about the age of 16 or so I stopped reading much (ok I discovered boys – to my detriment it appears!), did the whole marriage-had 2 two kids-got divorced thing and in the following and obligatory, it seems, self help stage of my life discovered I wasn’t so bad after all, in fact I LOVED me!

Your business is very professionally set up.  Can you tell us where that professionalism comes from?

My 2 daughters (21 and 19 going on 40!) remind me constantly my standards are very high. I had been not ’just a housewife’ but a housewife for many years and I cannot imagine many housewives not finding the ‘professionalism’ in themselves if they want to be good mothers, wives and just plain good-at-what-they-do women. After all we have the hardest job in the world – thank you Oprah! I have always endeavored to be the best I can be in that regard – failing miserably at times as I am human. However it is so ingrained in me that I keep trying….I define professionalism as treating others how I would want to be treated in that circumstance and doing it conscientiously and delivering on the businesses’ promises.

If a woman came to you that was wanting to start up her own business, what would be the one major thing you’d want her to know?

If a woman came to me and said she wanted to start up her own business I would want to know what has possessed her to decide such a thing! Simply because it has to be a passion inside propelling her and I would be interested to know what that passion was.

I have taken a risk with my business and I am truly aware it might not succeed just as it might. In life we take risks everyday in many ways and degrees so I would say a woman who wanted to start her own business should make herself aware of the risks AND be prepared to accept their eventuality – especially when there are no safety nets – and ultimately be able to feel that, success or no success it was worth the ride! (I’m talking major self growth!)

I’m guessing here that you love books.  Can you share with us your favourite book of all time?

This is a difficult question for me – I believe that events happen at different times in your life for a reason and can lead you to spiritual growth. Books are kinda like that! We are drawn to certain books in different times of our lives and there has to be a reason for that attraction. I cannot name just one particular book but because of a certain few years in my life, let me say the self help category on my website should really read Marjorie’s Niche!

I must say those books helped me by reinforcing my belief system and thus belief in myself. Somehow a bad marriage/relationship, divorce (and teenagers!) among other things can erode and/or blotch that even in the most exceptional of women.

What are you reading at the moment?

The good news is that I am on a long sabbatical from the self help section!!  Then again, I am only showing my age (yet again!) when I say that my interest at the moment lies in autobiographies. It occurred to me one day not that long ago that life is too short to be reading fiction all the time. Real stories about real people (shades of Sarah Ferguson here!) seemed to be the way to go.  Plus at some point, you have to stop reading the self help and put it into practice!

So to answer your question the book I am reading at the moment is an autobiography – “The Woman I Am” by Helen Reddy – which is interesting but as I have only just begun it, I would really prefer to mention the book I read before it which is fiction and that is “We Need to Talk about Kevin” by Lionel Shriver and featured in our recent newsletter. It can get a little tedious at times but it’s worth it. I never knew some of the vocabulary existed! She has the precise word to convey what she means (something you might find lacking in this interview!) and the way it flows makes it an extra beautiful read to me.

If I could wave my magic wand and grant you three wishes, what would you wish for today?

At the risk of sounding like a Ms World contestant – World peace. I think that plays on my mind most as I look at babies, think of my children and grandchildren to come, and look to the future – beyond my time here on earth. I can’t help but wish fervently for a more peaceful and safer world for them.

No 2 would be a wish for a continued healthy life and a peaceful end to it (!) while serving with purpose. 

And my No 3 wish would be to be successful at being the best role model I can be for my children as I do believe children learn best by example. (God help them!)

We’ve all been talking and thinking about Christmas preparations lately – do you shop for Christmas, and how?

I have always loved Christmas and when my kids were younger (so was I!) I would decorate the house inside and out and I loved our 7 ft high tree – but not so much in January when I had to pack it all up! I still do the decorations and that but on a much smaller scale including a much smaller tree in a much smaller house….

As much as I love giving presents I do believe Christmas continues to become way too commercialised and the true spirit of giving at Christmas is actually diminishing. I currently do a fair bit of my shopping over the internet as circling the car park at the shopping centres is NOT my idea of fun! I tend to think long and hard about the appropriate present for the recipient and if I can find it online, I buy it online. (Shameful plug – Slim Ink has 10% off ALL Gift Memberships for Christmas!)

Care to share how you will be celebrating Christmas this year?

My family and I have always spent Christmas Eve together complete with a roast turkey dinner – yes even with the heat of summer – and bon bons, Chrissie cake and lots of bubbly fuelled good cheer accompanied by Christmas carols! I do not have a pool at present but in the past, that’s where we pretty much spent most of the Christmas Period.

After opening the presents, Christmas day now is mostly spent vegging out – something usually never encouraged – in front of the tv/dvd player. For me, it’s mainly about recovering from all the preparation of arriving at Christmas Day! We have always had pets and still do so we never ever go away at Christmas.

Finally, how do you create space and care for yourself?

I try to meditate daily even if only for 5 minutes and I find the more you do it the less time it takes to find your peace zone and rejuvenate yourself. I love lighting my favourite fragrant candles (dusk is my favourite shop!) and the serenity inhaling its perfume evokes in me,  relaxing in spa baths, my favourite fresh flowers, soothing and passionate music – think Buble, Il Divo, Andre Bochelli….all embellished with a glass of white wine of course!  Life doesn’t get any better than when you find time to love, honour and find the peace within yourself…..

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Now, what is NOT to like about this special woman?  She really sounds like a woman after my own heart – starting with those Enid Blyton books I devoured as a child, to candles (I dont let myself go INTO Dusk!!), to Il Divo, Andrea Bochelli, Michael Buble (love her taste in music!), to the glass of wine … the list goes on and on!

To those of my readers living in Australia, I totally recommend Slim Ink and couldnt think of a better (and easier) Christmas present than a gift certificate for months worth of reading!

Marjorie, we wish you much success in your wonderful new venture and thank you so much for joining us and being such a wonderful sport letting us throw questions at you.  You hit home runs every question!

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