February 2016 | SHOPPING
337 17th Street
Number of years in Oakland? 1
Know Yourself promotes self literacy—a working knowledge of body and mind—through anatomy books, adventuresome comics, and more. For every BODY aged 2-200!
Q. What inspired you to start your business?
When my oldest daughter was 3 or 4, she came running over to me in the kitchen super excited. ‘Mom feel this!’ She made me put my hand to her sternum. ‘Can you feel that?’ She’d discovered her heartbeat. ‘Mom, it goes like all the time. It never stops.’ I laughed and said, ‘That’s right, honey,’ and we talked about how her heart was responsible for pumping blood all through her body. This was just the first of many curious investigations my tiny girl initiated about her body. I’ve found knowing how my own body and mind work mitigates a lot of fearfulness and serves as the foundation of my self esteem, my confidence, and my ability to make good decisions. When my children arrived, I was reminded that this is some of the most important learning I could pass along. I also decided, having come from a family that did not discuss body parts or feelings in any way shape or form, I wanted to be a parent that my kids could learn who they are with—from the inside out. It is such a gift to watch and help my children grow. Teaching my girls how the body works seemed like an easy task to take on, but when I looked around for materials to support my kids’ curiosity around their inner workings, what I found was either too basic ‘you smell with your nose’ or way too complicated ‘the whole human body book.’ I was born an artist with lots of energy, so I started creating the resources that I had hoped to find. Know Yourself is the result of this art project. The name comes from the ancient Greek aphorism ‘Know Thyself’. Still a great idea, we just updated it a little.
Q. Tell us in one sentence why your customers love your business.
“Such great quality and unique products that encourage children to learn!” – Miss Frugal Mommy
Q. What’s the best thing about doing business in Oakland?
The best thing about doing business in Oakland is quite frankly hard to lock down to a single point. I’ll say – the community connections have been incredible, smart, energizing and I know I have made friends for life through many of the collaborations I’ve engaged in.
Q. What are some of your favorite local businesses in Oakland?
Too many restaurants to mention but that said, I must shout out to Yoshi’ s and Spice Monkey. Also, Maureenbenson.org (Strategic and organizational planning, Public relations, Event production and Business finance mastery). Maureen and her team are unstoppable.
Q. What’s the one thing Oakland offers that you couldn’t live without?
Diversity in people, their interests, food and creative energy.