Eternal Summers Press & Catching Summer - The Mountain -Ear

Summary

With a passion for art and education and an advocate for public lands Anastasia Kierst has turned her creativity into a successful business.

She is a new full-time Rollinsville resident and Kierst brings a first to The Mountain-Ear Keep it Local series: she actually has two businesses, one wholesale and one retail.

With a passion for art and education and an advocate for public lands Anastasia Kierst has turned her creativity into a successful business.

She is a new full-time Rollinsville resident and Kierst brings a first to The Mountain-Ear Keep it Local series: she actually has two businesses, one wholesale and one retail.

Kierst is an artist and children’s author and illustrator. Since about 2009 she has been publishing and selling her science and nature-focused children’s books and playing cards wholesale – placing her products in bookstores, usually in National Parks gift shops – and retail, on Etsy. Hence her double-barrelled business names: Eternal Summers Press is the wholesale business and Catching Summer is her Etsy store.

She and her “incredibly supportive” (her words) husband, Jeff Martin, had been summer residents in Rollinsville since 2012, but, as Kierst puts it, “finally found the guts to quit our teaching jobs and move up here full time” this summer. This was made possible by her success as a publisher and author/ illustrator over several years.

Here’s her story: “I illustrated a hummingbird counting book for a family friend. It took me about a year (I was also teaching elementary art at the time). I enjoyed the process so I knew I wanted to create more books. I also had a new understanding of just how long it takes to illustrate a book (in my style at least).

“I have a passion for the public lands that I learned to love as a child and Yellowstone National Park in particular, so my first project was Imagination Vacation Yellowstone. That was the beginning of the Imagination Vacation series. Imagination Vacation Colorado soon followed, featuring a sunset view of Nederland on the last page!

“I also have an obscure ABC series that celebrates biodiversity – P is for Pangolin, N is for Narwhal. I wrote my last book, ABC OF Yellowstone Oddities as part of my 2019 Yellowstone Artist- in-Residence program.”

Her approach to publishing is essentially sustainability-focused. “Typical book publishers are extremely wasteful. New titles are printed in huge quantities and discarded if they do not sell. I had large quantities of wholesale returns on my bear-aware title from Glacier National Park during a bad wildfire summer. I donated those books to local schools and Wild Bear. I also make a point of including a “Learn more and make a difference” page with great nonprofits that fit with the theme of the book.” She points out that “as I sell out traditionally printed titles, I would like to move to offer only US print-on-demand books.”

Kierst adds “I love to offer discounts to non-profit wholesale customers – just ask. If you’re local and you buy from my Etsy store, message me and we can meet up so you can avoid shipping fees if you like!”

She essentially works alone (except for that incredibly supportive husband). “I do employ an editor and scientist reviewers to fact-check my work.” As to how she separates her two endeavors, “each platform has its benefits – wholesale takes some serious hustle but I’ve met great people along the way and it is very rewarding to see my books on shelves in National Parks, aquariums, zoos, and local shops.

“I love interacting with my Etsy customers and being able to personally sign books for them. I like the sustainability of being able to print on demand with Amazon, but I also do my best to keep my prices higher on Amazon so that my retailers can price as they wish.” Meanwhile, she would like to add more illustrated playing cards to her inventory, and add more digital downloads to her Etsy shop.

Flexibility is another of Kierst’s strong points. During the Covid pandemic, she added colorful hand- printed KN95 masks to her Etsy shop. “They were a huge hit, especially with nurses and teachers, many of whom sent me personal notes about how much they liked the masks. It felt great to brighten up a frontline worker’s day just a bit.”

Both businesses are located in Rollinsville. You will find her Etsy shop at www.etsy.com/shop/ CatchingSummer. Her wholesale business is at eternalsummerspress.com. She’s on Instagram at @ anastasiakierst. You can reach her by phone at 469-766-0297.

Sponsored by Gilpin County Commissioners, with funds from the American Rescue Plan Act.

Eternal Summers Press & Catching Summer - The Mountain -Ear
Photo Credit: The Mountain -Ear

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