There is a direct correlation between literacy levels and a person's prospects for success. That's why 26-year-old Wayetu Moore, CEO and publisher of One Moore Book, is on a mission to educate and empower multicultural children with relevant books. Her one-year-old publishing house publishes and distributes books for children in countries with low literacy rates and underrepresented cultures. Read on to find out why Wayetu is betting on physical books as a key educational platform in today's hyperdigital world.
Breaking into the business: I'm Liberian and have always had an interest in creating literature that featured Liberian culture and people and other minority and underrepresented cultures in the larger literary industry. After graduate school I wrote a children's book called J is for Jollof Rice and asked my sister, who is a painter, to illustrate it. I did 15 months worth of research and fundraising, hired four of my siblings to join my team, and launched our publishing company in January 2011 with the goal of publishing and distributing children's books that featured underrepresented cultures.
What's next for One Moore Book: We are currently producing a book sponsored by a non-profit called ONE Liberia that will be used in workshops to promote ethnic unity in Liberia. The workshops will be held by ONE Liberia for students at the University of Liberia this spring. Our specialty is children's books, but this was such a unique and inspiring project to assist and empower youth who still struggle with the tense socio-political effects of the country's civil war and the 10 years of reconciliation that have followed. We also are producing a children's series [to be released later this year] that will feature books in English, French, and Kreyol by Haitian writers and artists.
REFLECTIONS: Hometown: Spring, Texas * First job: Marketing manager at a non-profit that provided adult education classes to new immigrants. * Advice you would have given yourself 10 years ago: Choose well. * Most valuable business lesson learned: That a company or team is only as strong as its weakest link. Building a team of dependable and driven people has been so important to our progress and success. * Words to live by: Dream, but don’t sleep.
DIVERSIONS: Reading now: The Conservationist by Nadine Gordimer * Reading next: Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward * Recently discovered: There's a site called Wurk Happy, which manages the contract and payment process for artists and freelancers. It really saves a lot of time and has eliminated stress from the kind of interactions I make as an owner of a small business. * Last fun purchase: I found a gorgeous pair of vintage Chanel heels at a thrift store in Brooklyn and gave them away by the end of the week when I realized that no amount of Vaseline or cold water would adjust my anatomy to make them fit.
PLAYING FAVORITES: Author: That's a hard one and mostly seasonal. I've recently been burying myself in African authors like Ngugi Wa Thiong'o, J.M. Coetzee, and Ben Okri. I'm also really enjoying Nadine Gordimer's work. * Getaway: Home. Houston. New York City gets so loud sometimes that there is nowhere that can center and ground me like the faces, streets, and rooms of my hometown. * Entrée: Kalizeta from the Shrine Restaurant in Harlem * Drink: Riesling.