From the October 2003 issue of Startups

Rachel Luke was a stay-at-home mom taking care of her 18-month-old daughter, Annie, when she wrote her first "book." Her inspiration? Like most proud parents, Luke, 30, wanted to do something special to preserve the moments of her daughter's first years. But nothing seemed right until she found a My Family Tales storybook kit through www.myfamilytales.com.

The kits include a blank storybook, decorative paper and suggestions that help customers write, assemble and publish their own personalized books. My Family Tales even offers customers the option to have their books professionally edited, bound and published in multiple copies to give to family members. "I gave a book to my husband and another to Annie's grandparents as a gift," says Luke, who considered the books priceless family treasures-and a prime way to get into business. Luke has turned her passion for keepsakes into a part-time business by becoming a My Family Tales consultant. "I just didn't want to be done with it [after creating Annie's book]," she explains.

Luke takes copies of the glossy books, which have different themes such as baby, grandparent, wedding, pet and life story, to local events such as bridal fairs and genealogy conferences, where she claims the books practically sell themselves. "Sales are easy," says Luke, who has no prior sales experience. "Everybody has a story to tell. I want to help people find that story and preserve it."

Her enthusiasm is infectious. "At several home shows, almost every person I showed the book to became an immediate customer," says Luke, who makes about $1,500 per month from selling the storybooks. Though she's doubly busy with Annie, now 2 years old, and 4-month-old Sophie, Luke makes sure to spend any spare time she has on her business. Says Luke, "I get out of it what I put into it."