Podcast Episode 4: Project Memory Co

Filed in Podcast  /  November 24, 2022 /

Our guests today are Project Memory.Co. Founded by friends Aneri and Sammy during college and now being run alongside full time jobs whilst living in different states and time zones. Aneri and Sammy developed their business with the ethos of helping people to preserve their memories better, to empower people to spend time with their memories in a physical way and belief that photos should be visible, and discoverable. They have made beautiful albums for a new generation who have a million photos on their phone but where the precious ones can get lost amongst the screenshots and selfies. They articulate so clearly their belief and passion for this work. They have some absolute gems and insight into entrepreneurial culture, in consistency, in ways to support each other and how to make it happen.

This is a beautiful episode that I love because of their passion about memory keeping, celebrating the everyday and keeping photographs accessible and tangible. Capturing a passing idea, how to nurture creativity and idea development, and making it a reality.

Listen to the episode here: https://spotifyanchor-web.app.link/e/TXE8vfxldvb

Say hello on instagram: www.instagram.com/projectmemory.co

Find out more on their website: www.projectmemory.co

Episode Transcription

Susannah: Happy International Friendship Day podcast friends if you’re listening in real time, which is the 30 July 2021. And if you’re not, still a happy friendship day to you too. And this has to be the perfect day to release this episode.

Our guests business is built with the ethos of helping people to preserve their memories better. To empower people to spend time with their memories in a physical way and belief that photos should be visible and discoverable. Just nabbing some little quotes from our interview there, because they articulate so clearly that I won’t even try.

They jointly run a business from different states in the US with different time zones and we’ve recorded this in three different time zones because of course I’m in the UK. And our guests are Aneri and Sammy of Project Memory who have made beautiful photo albums for a new generation, who have a million photos on their phone, but where the precious ones can get lost amongst screenshots and selfies.

They articulate so clearly in this episode their belief and passion for this work and it was such a delight for me to listen to this conversation again. We also talk about this being their first business after college. Started during graduation, then went on to fulltime jobs, moving to different time zones and continuing to build and develop Project Memory amongst all of that. They have some absolute gems and insight into entrepreneurial culture, in consistency and ways to support each other and how to make it happen. So this really is just a gem of an episode and I hope you love it as much as I do.

Susannah: So welcome Aneri and Sammy, I’m so pleased to have you on the podcast. Just as I was saying, I just think your story is amazing already and I only know a little bit about you from bits from Instagram and bits from your website and your blog. But I would love to start off with maybe if you could introduce to our listeners who you are and how you know each other, how you became friends a little bit more about your journey so far.

Aneri: Yeah. So I guess I’m Aneri. Went to UCLA with Sammy. We both graduated in June 2020. It was over a live stream commencement ceremony. It was wonderful. I majored in cognitive science and computing and minored in entrepreneurship and Sammy also did the minor in entrepreneurship. I’ll let her talk more about that, but that’s kind of one thing we had in common and I guess we essentially met through student clubs. So we’re both in this club called Brun Entrepreneurs. That was just a space for students interested in starting their own business to come together and learn from each other and then that’s kind of where we met. But then I think we became close friends after we started living together one summer.

I think just being on each other’s spaces really brings you together and then we just worked on a lot of different projects together for our clubs. We take a lot of classes together because we have the same minor and things like that. And we just figured that we work very well together somehow. We’re very different people in a lot of different ways but it kind of fits together.

So last year when we had sort of last class left for entrepreneurship minor, we had to pick a business to sort of pursue. It’s sort of like a capstone real life application class. And so one night, Sammy just kind of came over to my apartment and we just started drafting a business plan for this idea around helping people preserve their memories better. Then we went to the professor to pitch the idea to say, hey, can we use this for this last class that we have? And he rejected us very hard, saying, it’s not at the stage where it should be, so you can’t really do this for this class. So we kind of just like, let it go. And then honestly, I think one day Sammy was trying to find a photo album for her spring break trips, and she just couldn’t find a good one. And she ended up texting me in the middle of the night saying, hey, let’s start a photo album business. I’ll set up a slack group for us. Let’s do it. And I’m like, okay, sounds good. And then we kind of just started brainstorming after that, I guess.

Susannah: That’s amazing. Sammy, I’ll let you go.

Sammy: yeah, so Aneri kind of covered basically how we met and how that kind of led to Project Memory. But I guess I’ll just introduce myself as well. Like Aneri said, I was also at UCLA. I studied business economics. I went to UCLA with the goal of learning about business so I could start my own business someday. So this whole ride has been really cool and really aligned to what I want to do. And I also minor entrepreneurship like Aneri, and we did a lot of classes there. And I was really involved in the entrepreneurship scene with Aneri. We were part of entrepreneurs, and I was also part of the consulting scene on campus as well. So that’s what I do now for a living. I’m currently now based out of Chicago. I’m a technology consultant, and I do Project Memory on the side.

Another interesting fact about me is also I’m from Indonesia, so I’m also an international student living and working in the US right now.

Susannah: And so you both have gone into uni had you with the sort of mindset of one day I might want to own a business?

Aneri: Oh, I went into college a mess. I actually started as a neuroscience major. So I thought that’s something I wanted to do. But then I was also really interested in computer science, and I wanted something that kind of blended both. So that’s how I changed my major to cognitive science, which is sort of a blend between psychology and computer science.

And then I think my dad has always been an entrepreneur at heart, so we’ve had a lot of discussions around that. So it’s kind of been this deep seated thing in me. But I think I really started to connect with that business side once I started discovering all these student clubs and stuff like that. And then once I met like-minded people, I guess I figured that that’s kind of what I wanted to do.

Susannah: And so how long did you guys live together for then?

Aneri: So we lived together for two summers. So the summer of 2019 and then coincidentally the summer of 2020 because 2020 just sort of threw a lot of changes in plans for us. So it was two summers.

Susannah: I was saying just to Aneri, Sammy, before we came on, like it’s not even been a year. And that is quite something for you both. Like, you’ve graduated, you both have moved to like completely different sides of the countries and you’ve opened a new business. That’s so much in one year. It’s amazing.

So tell me more about this club that you met in. I haven’t heard about that kind of opportunity or thing before. What sort did you learn from that? What was that geared towards?

Sammy: I think in UCLA or I guess in American colleges, there’s a lot of student clubs geared towards different career paths, I guess, in different interest groups, and Brun Entrepreneurs is one of them. So it’s basically a club that holds a lot of events, workshops, programs that basically foster entrepreneurship in the community.

So I joined that freshman year because like I said before, I really wanted to start a business. I came in kind of with that intentional, like, oh, I’m going to learn the skills and I’m going to learn from the people who did start their business. And I didn’t think I would start a business right out of college or anything, which is why I was looking at different professional career paths. But that was definitely something in the back of my mind, which is why I was very involved in the scene. And yeah, I served in the board. So like the organizer of the event kind of just like help planning different events and different programs along with all the students who are there. And then Aneri joined in my second year in the club and I think we just worked together on a lot of things. We served in the executive board together, really trying to grow the club. And then on my senior year, I kind of took a step back and Aneri actually became the president of the club. So, yeah, both of us were really involved in it.

Susannah: So Project Memory – I read a couple of really gorgeous blog articles on…that you’ve written about sort of preserving memories and just day to day life and the importance of that. I wonder if you two maybe could talk just a bit about your vision behind it, the passion for it, what you thought that was lacking, that made you think, this is something that’s… a little market that we could serve.

Aneri: Yeah, so I guess there were several things that kind of went into it. So Sammy and I both love journaling and sort of writing about our memories, just like reflecting and things like that. Sammy does it a lot more than I do, but I’ve sort of taken a liking to it as well. And so we’ve both always really felt like preserving your memories and just, like, taking the time for yourself to reflect in your life is really important. But we also know that we live in a very chaotic world and that’s not always possible. So we’ve always just really valued that aspect of being able to spend time with yourself and think about your memories and stuff like that.

I think one big thing that we were thinking about is we have our iPhones and they’re full of a million photos. I keep getting my your iPhone storage is full notification, like, every other day, mainly because I have way too many photos in my photo album on my phone. And it’s just so hard to actually separate out the very important moments from the million screenshots and selfies that I just took and never deleted. So it’s kind of like the really precious memories just get lost in that.

And I love technology, I work in tech, but sometimes there are things that just get lost in that sort of digital world, I guess. And then last year, when stuff just really got rough with COVID I think for me personally, I just really realized the importance of cherishing what’s good and really celebrating the good things. So sort of combining all these different factors, we just started brainstorming together. So we do this thing for like two months where we set up these 1 hour work sessions where we just come together and ideate and look for inspiration. We didn’t say we were starting a business or anything like that. We don’t want to put pressure on ourselves. We just wanted to have fun with an idea. And what we really thought about is going back to when we were kids, we know that our parents have these big photo albums with a lot of photos, and to date, it’s super fun to flip through them and look at all those times. And I think it’s just like having something physical and flipping through it just hits different, I guess. So we wanted to sort of bring back that aspect in a way.

But the thing is, if you go onto Google or anything and look for a photo album, they’re all just really flashy, like stuck in the 90s. They have, like, live, laugh, love written all over it and it’s just really cheesy. So we wanted to just sort of design something that one – empowers you to spend time with your own memories in a physical way and then also something that looks good in your home, something that becomes a part of your home by becoming sort of this aesthetic piece that you can have with you for a very long time. That was kind of I guess the initial thinking behind all of it.

Sammy: And a lot of the feedback that we got for the product as well has been really..I guess it shows that we’ve kind of achieved that mission with the kind of the design direction that we took it. So a lot of people say, oh yeah, this is nice enough to put on the coffee table or on the shelf in the living room, which is definitely the goal. So we definitely want to stick to kind of that sentiment.

Because I think a big part of the mission is also like photos should be more visible and discoverable that’s one value. That Aneri and I really discussed when we were beginning the conversation, it’s like we have a lot of photos in our phones and I am a huge proponent of taking photos, like taking a lot of photos. It doesn’t even have to be nice, super like polished photos. It doesn’t even have to be posted or anywhere, but it just takes the photos in the moment.

Because, like, have you ever felt the feeling where you’re, you know, you’re just flipping through your album or just going through camera roll and then you, like, see a random photo and you just bring back a lot of memories that you kind of just forgot? But it’s there. You just need a photo to trigger it.

So it’s really important to kind of just see these photos on a daily basis or just kind of like we have it discoverable so you don’t lose those memories. I remember I had a trip to Vietnam and I took photos with my phone and then I think my phone got broken or something. So basically I don’t really have much access to those photos anymore and I don’t remember the trip very much. I remember flashes, but I don’t remember the details and that’s kind of a shame. I took the whole trip and I don’t have anything to look back on and I didn’t post much about it, so there’s not much, I don’t know like breadcrumbs or clues to re trigger those memories.

So yes, another aspect is just like printing out intentionally which photos you want to, which memories I guess you want to remember and have it be discoverable again. Like every time you flip through the album, you’ll see it again and then you’ll remember it again.

Susannah: Yeah, I remember – my parents also have those big albums at home where everything was printed out all from film, obviously, so they’re not like super polished pictures. But you’re right. It’s about isn’t it about having it, you know, physically. And if you’re sitting on the sofa and you’re taking out a big album to, like, flick through and then somebody comes and sits next to you, that’s a much more intentional and engaged sort of moment, isn’t it? Of being able to, like, tell stories and, like, reflect back on things, remember, you know, remember all those moments rather than trying to flick through something on a phone. You’re totally right. That was so wonderful.

And actually, it’s really interesting that you said that, how that came about in terms of you guys having, like, an hour session where you just brainstorm. Going back, I guess, sort of starting a business with friends. I guess you guys are part of that world looking into entrepreneurship. But the way that you then go about that and then make a plan, I wonder if you could speak a little bit about that for people who perhaps have a thought about maybe they’d like to do something with their friends, but they aren’t coming from a background of business or a background of entrepreneurship. How do you go about even starting that process? Obviously, it’s a whole degree course and whole world – but any little nuggets.

Sammy: I was just going to go speak about the hour sessions that we have, the Hour Brainstorm think tank, we call it. I think that was really helpful because….. and we really recommend that to anyone who we want to start, especially with a friend. And don’t really know where to start. Kind of scared to commit. I think that was a great way for us to kind of just dip our toes into the waters and see if, like, not pressure ourselves too much, but still keep things going. So essentially, set an hour or, I don’t know, whatever time you want to spend every week with your friend. Put it in your calendar, if you use Calendar. Aneri and I both used Google Calendars when we were in college. So we just, like, schedule that. And it’s like a recurring thing that happens every week. That’s essentially like a recurring meeting. And we would just, like, always do it every week. And we don’t really have an agenda. We don’t really have, like well, sometimes we do, but it’s basically just a dedicated hour session where we will talk about this idea and think about ways to either make it a reality or we do, like, we look at what other things out there, like, I guess competitive research, but essentially we’re just Googling things and looking at getting inspired.

Essentially looking at just, like, brainstorming. That’s the most fun part, right? What if we do this? Oh, my gosh, we can totally do this. This is super cool. And then just, like, have a running Word document where we just write down, like, document whatever comes up in those sessions. And sometimes we end up with action items. We’re like, okay, you know what? Let’s look at this, both of us. You look at that, and I’ll think about this and then let’s come back again in the next session and talk about that.

So these sessions, even though they’re very short, I guess, relative to the week, they keep things going so you always have something new to talk about. Even if you didn’t do anything else in the week related to the project or the business, at least you have an hour of work that happens between you and your friend every week. And it keeps things going and it builds momentum. And the more you talk about it, the more you get excited, and the more you know, the more you’re motivated you become to actually pursue it. And Aneri I think you have other things to say about this too.

Aneri: Yeah, I totally resonate with that. And I think to add to that, I think a lot of people, when they’re starting a business, have this conception that you have to go all in with all this intensity and passion to make anything happen. And that’s obviously true. Like, you need to be dedicated, you need to have passion. But I think you don’t want to burn yourself out by just committing yourself intensely in the very beginning. I think there’s a lot of value to taking it slow and really figuring it out. Consistency, I guess, is more important than that intensity.

And I think that’s something that I realized a few months in is that we thought we were taking baby steps in these directions, but they’re actually pretty significant steps, and they really add up over time as long as you consistently do them.

And I guess to speak to your earlier point of how do you figure things out, like, if you don’t have a formal education or anything like that in entrepreneurship. I will say that I love the entrepreneurship program and stuff like that, but a lot of it was so theoretical, and when it came down to actually doing something, like actually finding a manufacturer in China or actually like, figuring out business licenses or taxes, like, no one teaches you that stuff. It’s kind of just like a mindset that you have to have of like, I don’t know anything about this, but we’re just going to figure it out patiently by just, like, doing a lot of research and reaching out to people, I guess, who’ve done this in the past and just, like, bombarding them with a lot of questions.

So, like, I guess if you’ve never done anything like this before, I think that shouldn’t be something that stops you I guess. You kind of just have to figure it out on the way. And it’s exciting to figure it out on the way.

Sammy: Yes, I have something to add to that, actually, in terms of, like, how do I start if I don’t have business knowledge or anything in general, how do you start? I think there’s two sides of the equation, I guess one is kind of the more practical, tactical things that you have to do when you start a business. So, like, for us, how do we manufacture these things? Like, how do we figure out business licenses, taxes, all of that. That’s like very like practical day in, day out and those kinds of things you will never learn in college and you’ll just have to figure it out on the fly. And some added advice for that is how do you figure out those things? You just read a lot of blog posts, you go on Tik tok. We learned a lot on TikTok. Those like educational videos. They just kind of give you tidbits of their knowledge and then a lot of YouTube videos, a lot of just like googling essentially and just figuring out. Reaching out to people who’ve done that before and learn from them and also just like doing it yourself, right.

And then the other side of equation, though, I do think Aneri, we probably don’t realize this, but we have been in business world for a long time. So a lot of the strategic thinking and a lot of the framework and the way we run our meetings and the way we think about the future, the strategy, or anything like that around business, it’s quite different I think, from maybe someone who has never been in the business world, has never thought about, like, companies or like things in an entrepreneurial mindset. Or I would say, like, I guess this is like a bit more, like “business kind of thinking”. I’m like doing like a quote unquote because I didn’t want to make it seem like it’s super….it’s not that big of a deal…. But I think there’s like a different lens to look at things and one way to kind of grow your perspective, like looking at things from a more like entrepreneurial and strategic perspective, I guess is I guess it just consume a lot of the more theoretical knowledge out there. Like you can read books. I think there’s a lot of like, really good podcasts that speak to this. Like, Shopify has a podcast that interviews other business owners that would talk about these things and you kind of just immerse yourself. It doesn’t really have any tactical step by step things that you can get out of it, but it’s kind of just like, retraining your mindset and looking at things in a certain way and kind of becoming more and more strategic in your thinking rather than just doing, like, you know, like, the tactical parts help with the day to day and actually getting things started. And it’s really, really important. But the other part is also I think it helps your business grow and it helps how do you put your business in the right direction and I don’t know, how do you execute branding properly and how do you segment your market and things like that? I think those things come from just immersing yourself into more theoretical business knowledge.

Aneri: And I don’t know if anyone’s looking for book recommendations or anything like that, but I guess like, if you’ve never really immersed yourself in that entrenprenuership culture or anything like that, I think great starting points are books called The Lean Startup, Value Proposition Design and then The Visual MBA. The last one is just essentially a bunch of doodles that try to convey a lot of complex business thoughts and concepts. They’re pretty well known in the entrepreneurship world, but they’re great, like starter books, I guess, to like sort of understand strategy and things like that.

Susannah: Oh, great. Thank you. I think that’s all really helpful and I hadn’t actually sort of properly thought about it in a sort of a mindset point of view of being immersed in that kind of world. But yeah, those were really helpful points. And sort of looking on from that… How do you then navigate as friends like what you do? Like your roles and responsibilities? There are probably elements that perhaps one of you either like better or maybe just it’s one of your strengths compared to the other person. How do you sort of work that out and yeah navigate doing that as friends?

Aneri: I like to call Sammy our chief spreadsheet officer because she’s so good at spreadsheets. So I guess there are things that we’re naturally good at differently. I love debugging random technical stuff. Sammy hates that with a passion. Sammy is very good at financial stuff, so she kind of naturally takes over that. So I guess there’s some level of like, what are we good at? There’s one aspect of location. So we have sellers licenses and stuff in California, so I kind of have to fulfill orders. So that’s just kind of logistical that has to happen.

But I think after that it just becomes a point of like delegating between ourselves. I think we kind of both just do everything. When you are two people, you kind of just have to do everything sometimes. So we really just have an understanding of how to delegate. So every week we have our think tanks where we’ll just talk about what we need to do when we sort of plan our sprints within a week and just kind of split tasks evenly, I guess, and then make sure we get them done. I don’t know. Sammy, do you have more to add to that?

Sammy: I think you’ve covered it pretty well. It’s pretty informal between us, whoever has more time that week or, you know, like, we kind of just delegate, like, oh yeah, I’ll be down to take that task and can you take this task? And then we kind of just reconvene the next week and the whole cycle recontinues. But I think the point that you made Aneri about like, playing into our strength is quite important.

Like, I think we both have pretty different working styles. I think we touched upon that in the beginning. But I haven’t really sat down and thought about what is it that’s different about working styles? I don’t know if Aneri you’ve thought about it more? But I think it would definitely, like, complement each other. And I think yeah, I don’t know. Aneri, do you have more thoughts about how our working style is different? I know that it is, I just haven’t really defined it. But I think it plays a role in how we took on different roles, different hats and like, different tasks. When we do project memory things.

Aneri: Yeah, it’s kind of weird because I also just know intuitively that our working styles are different. We never, like, done a retro or sit down and call that out differently, I guess. I think in one way, just like, work habits, I guess, are different. I tend to work in spurts, almost, of extreme productivity. And I think Sammy has a more consistent sort of approach to it. I don’t know how that changes the way we work, but I think that’s like, one aspect of it. I don’t know. This is really hard. Maybe we should sit down, have a dedicated meeting to figure out how we’re different.

Sammy: Yeah, I think so. That’s interesting. I’m trying to articulate. I wanted to speak to that point, but I realized I don’t really know exactly how we’re different.

Susannah: So I remember whenever I was at uni and we were studying for exams, a lot of time I like to study alone, but there were some exams that it works better if you do some studying with somebody and you have to ask other questions or do you mind maps on the wall together or that kind of thing. And in our little gang of people – we had a few sort of really good friends and things. But there were some who I was really best friends with and actually, we didn’t work well together whenever we were studying together. And you would work with a different friend and she would work with somebody else as well. You can be friends with people who are completely different from you but some how you just gel. And then it’s just working out I guess how that works then in the business world as well, because that’s taking it to another step isn’t it? Like you still are friends, but you also have to make a business partnership work.

Talking to which actually – do you think being in business together has changed your friendship in any way?

Aneri: That’s a good question. We’ve even different opinions on this. This is interesting. I guess… It’s definitely brought us closer, I would say. I think we’re just, like, constantly talking to each other. In an interesting way where sometimes we don’t realize where the line is between friendship and business because we’re constantly texting each other with ideas or random things that happen to us and it all just feels like one conversation.

So I remember I was talking to Sammy the other day and I was like, do you think we’re putting enough hours into this? And we were both feeling like we weren’t. And then we realized that actually we talk all the time and sure, we talk about really random things like buying boots and random stuff like that, but we also really like, casually talk about a lot of business stuff and get a lot of stuff done on the go, I guess. So I guess it’s kind of just like blended everything we talk about. I don’t know, has it changed our friendship do you think Sammy? I think it just brought us closer, honestly.

Sammy: Yeah, no, I would agree with that. I think one caveat I would say, though, I’ve actually been more intentional. I shouldn’t only message Aneri when I’m talking about Project Memory. I shouldn’t just be like, hey, have you done this task? Like, wait, look what happened to the shop. We should actually talk about other things too. Let’s talk about those boots that you want to buy, how was Seattle when you’re going on your trip. Because I feel like sometimes if I look at my chat with you, it’s just like, oh, it’s all just like business stuff and it doesn’t feel like we’re just talking about business stuff. It’s pretty much part of our relationship and part of our lives. But I wanted to be intentional about that. But also, I also said to Aneri at some point I was just like, yeah, I think but if we weren’t doing the business together, I probably wouldn’t talk to you as much as we do now. We literally talk every day and I don’t talk to my friends literally every day. I have friends and they’re like super dear to me. But I’m pretty bad with just like, texting in general because my days are always really hectic, so I definitely don’t talk to them as much as I talk to you. And that’s partly because we have a lot of stuff to talk about, but also that brings us closer because we talk to each other a lot and we communicate a lot. And so even when we’re talking about Project Memory, I know what’s happening in your day to day life. The conversation kind of blends. So, yeah, all in all, I think it brought us closer and I don’t think there’s any like, problems or anything that’s part of it, so that’s good.

Aneri: Yeah. Sammy, I really think you should buy those boots, by the way.

Sammy: Oh my gosh, I’m so close to buying it because we had the same boots. Like, we have our eyes on the same boots and she’s had it in her cart for the longest time and I was like, I also wanted to buy those boots and I told myself I was going to buy it and then I just never did. And she finally pulled the trigger and bought it a couple of weeks ago and I was just like, oh my gosh, it’s my turn, I should buy it too.

Susannah: And you don’t live together anymore when you can share things. That’s one of the good things about living with friends is that if you’ve got the same shoe size you can share each other’s stuff. I wonder if you could talk a wee bit about….I just think it’s really inspiring that you had this desire to start this and you did it even though you both are working in different cities, many hours apart, in different time zones, just starting, you know, different jobs outside of graduation and have this as well, which you’re working on really hard. There are so many things there and the fact that Covid happened that could have put you off driving it forwards or maybe even starting it. I was just wondering what your thoughts were really around that.

Aneri: Yeah, I think….So post graduation, was is a very difficult time because there’s so much uncertainty and so much going on. I guess for context, like for me, I did an internship at Lyft, which is the company I’m working at now, right after my graduation. So for a few months. But then after that I had no idea what I was doing. I was still waiting to hear back if they would give me a fulltime position going back and stuff like that. So I actually had a few months off because of COVID where I just didn’t know what I was doing or anything like that. And then Sammy also had her start date for her job pushed. So she was supposed to start, I believe, in August and then ended up having to start in January. So she also had a big amount of time with no direction or just a lot of uncertainty. And I think she also had…she can speak to it more..but visa issues and stuff like that, that made it even more stressful for her. But I think in a weird way that was a blessing in disguise for Project Memory, because we did have like months where we could just dedicate a lot of time to this. It was still very rough, but I think I’ve sort of looking back, come to see it as the silver lining. And the good thing that came out of the pandemic, I guess, where I had a chance, where I could just go to Chicago and live with Sammy for a month and just, like, you know, go all heads down and, like, brainstorm and come up with ideas.

I was essentially almost working on it full time, I guess because I had all this time off. It wasn’t great for my wallet, but was great in the long term in terms of learning and all these things. So I kind of see it as like it was really rough. And I guess looking back now, I can say that things worked out and everything happened for the best, but during those months, I guess it was just really hard and just anchoring to anything that we were excited about really kept me going. So really just putting my whole heart into this and just trying to make it work was something that kind of kept me going at that time.

Sammy: Yeah, I would add to that. So when I was in that six months, kind of, like, not doing anything or not really being employed, not really being in school, I was also interning at an ecommerce pajamas companies to kind of just maintain my visa status, like, I have to work. And also it gave me something to do, but basically my days are just split between doing that and also project memory. And when that ended, I was just like, all project memory.

I think it was not very difficult to do it. I guess in terms of being together in the same location and looking at physical samples and all that, being apart made it a little difficult. Like Aneri had to come to Chicago and I recently went to the Bay Area as well to kind of stay there for a month to help out with Project Memory. So there’s a lot of traveling in between and the pandemic has made it possible because everything is work from home. But definitely I think we’ve been struggling a little bit. I’m just going to be honest, like with work full time and also trying to manage project memory, we’re still trying to figure out how to do it and it’s not all easy.

My work hours is pretty long. Consulting is usually not a nine to five job and Aneri has a lot of orders to fulfill because this is like our shop is ramping up, as also our jobs are ramping up. So it’s been a little stressful at times. Sometimes you look at your business and you realize you could be doing so much more. There’s like so many things that we could improve on and it’s not like we don’t know it. It’s not like we don’t know what to do. These are like areas that need improvement or things that we could be doing to improve the business but we simply just don’t have time because we’re just running what’s needed. There’s barely enough time to do what is needed to run essentially.

So that’s how I’ve been feeling recently about the whole being apart and also working full time and also trying to run this at the same time. But yeah, definitely I think a lot of time management skills need to be improved and just like managing expectations and also being understanding when one person’s work hours just became a little unmanageable for that week or just like other things going on has really helped us run this whole thing with all of this situation.

Aneri: I also think one little extra thing that’s kind of helped. During this time I’ve noticed that Sammy and I both are more mindful of the wins now. I think like every little thing that goes well, like we take a moment to actually acknowledge because that provides a lot of motivation. When we are super stressed, there’s just so much to do like celebrating every little thing that’s going well is a big, big driver, I guess when it comes to motivation.

Susannah: You’re so right, that is so important and actually that probably stands with your ethos anyway around sort of memories and capturing the day to day. Capturing every little win is also important, isn’t it? I’m so grateful that you guys have shared all of this with us just as you’re starting out on this journey and how it is going to change your business…. because the pandemic, because you’re in new jobs and everything, things are really going to change and evolve for you. And I’m really grateful that you’ve shared these initial things that you’ve been finding as you’ve started things together.

Do you have any particular sort of hopes moving forward or maybe this next six months, a year? Do you have….I know it’s still sort of difficult to make really proper plans at the moment still… But do you have any sort of hopes or plans for it over the year?

Aneri: Yeah, always. There’s so many things we want to do. I think I’m excited about so many different things. I think it’s a broad concept ..but just making memory keeping a thing. Like we keep using this word casually, but we want it to be more, I guess, widely assumed amongst people. I think community building is something that I’m really excited about, like building the community. Whether it’s social media in terms of people who love preserving their memories, or just other small businesses, other ecommerce businesses. Just like building a space, I guess, for people to sort of share knowledge, share their experiences around memory keeping is something that’s super exciting.

I think every single time we hear about how someone is using our photo album or our journals and how they’re sort of preserving their memories is really exciting. So we just want to create sort of a forum for that and a place for that to really come to light more. So that’s something I’m really excited about.

And then I think in general, just adding more products is always super fun. So whether that’s more kinds of photo albums, more kinds of physical memory keeping tools, I guess it’s just always super exciting. That’s always difficult to do because we’re constrained by either money or space or time. But just really expanding ways in which we can empower people to preserve their memories as a concept I guess, is something that I’m really excited about. I don’t know. Sammy, what do you have in mind? What are we doing?

Sammy: I have one more thing to add. I think throughout this journey so far, how many months are we in this? Maybe like six to seven months. We’ve been able to connect with so many cool people online through Project Memory. Like, we connected with influencers, we connected with other small business owners. We did collaborations. We jumped on phone calls with other people just to kind of like share, exchange notes almost. Just like, hey, how are you doing this? Oh, we’re doing it this way. That’s so interesting. We’ve met a lot of really amazing, inspiring people through this project, through this business. And I think I am very excited to continue that.

We actually just sold out of our first production run, so we’re like waiting to get stock back and we’re trying to use this time to kind of rest, recharge, reflect and also connect with more small businesses, more people who might inspire us and what we might learn from and maybe they can learn from us too. And I’m just really grateful. I was looking back at our Instagram and all the people that we tagged, all of the people that comment on our posts like regularly now. And it’s just nice that this business has enabled us to connect with all these other people as well. So it’s almost more than just like a product or a brand, it’s kind of like a vehicle for us to also meet these new people. That’s something that I’m really excited about as well.

Susannah: That’s amazing. I wonder if you guys would just share where people can find you online to find out more about Project Memory and see all things that you do, read your blog. Where’s the best to find you?

Aneri: Yeah, I think Instagram is probably the best place to connect with us. We’re pretty responsive and active there. So that’s just @Project Memory.Co. That’s also our website I guess Project Memory Co. And then we’re also active on TikTok and we’re growing our Pinterest as well with all Project Memory Co handles, I guess.

Susannah: Perfect. Great. I’ll put all those in the show notes so that people can easily come find you and see all the lovely things that you do. So thank you ever so much for this time, for everything that you shared. It’s been so wonderful to hear about all the things that you’re doing. So thank you so much.

I’m ready to listen to that again and read, I guess more. Thank you Aneri and Sammy. I hope you feel the joy and goodness of their business and feeling inspired and enthused to be intentional about preserving your own memories. But also empowered with some new actionable ways of going about making a business with your friend happen. I love all the different stories we hear on this podcast. Thank you so much for listening, for your time and your support. If you have any suggestions or people you would like to hear from, please do get in touch. I would love to hear from you. And please rate and review some more lovely people get the chance to hear these stories too. Much love to you all on international friend day.