Sky Cow Books

From Austin Storm
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E-commerce Bookstore, 2005-2007
Earnest but ill-fated early entrepreneurial attempt.

Sky-Cow-Logo.gif
The original logo was an animated gif, but I've lost the file

Sky Cow Books was an e-commerce new bookstore, specializing in theology and literary fiction.

The seeds of its downfall were present from the beginning: I didn't have a business plan of any sort, and the basic idea was to take everything I liked about other bookstores and do it slightly better. I liked bookstores that highly curated their offerings (Byron Borger's amazing Hearts & Minds, the now-defunct Discerning Reader, catalog bookseller Bas Bleu), so I was going to curate all the books. I liked the cheap prices on Amazon, so I was going to compete on price. It didn't occur to me that you could do one or the other, but not both.

Sky-Cow-Starburst.jpg
A block print made by Mark Beauchamp

The very best things to come out of Sky Cow were the parts contributed by other people. My first Moscow employer, Mark Beauchamp, made a block print (right) to stamp onto the kraft mailing envelopes. The name of the store was taken by a bit of doggerel generously offered to the project by Nate Wilson: The sky cow stands ready for milking / the world an eager bucket waits. And my then co-worker Laura made a painting of the logo, which was the first time I clued in to the fact that she might like me!

2006-8-17 TF Sky Cow sign.jpg

My dad and brother came out to help me run the book table at Trinity Fest in 2007.

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Unfortunately the business itself was completely unsound, and left me in a pile of debt and the danger of slowly ruining my reputation with longer shipment times and general spottiness. After a few years I shut it down.

It paved the way for future projects: I realized that when I started I should have a very clear vision for an unmet need a business should serve, and some kind of business plan.