The founders of The Story Store and editors of the book Warum wir hier sind will attend the November retreat in Bad Homburg and lead a workshop. You may recall hearing about them, as they received a social action grant last year. For that article, click here.

By Bledion Vladi

The Story Store is an online shop that sells products that have a special story in them. “There is a story in everything” is the online shop’s motto. By telling the story of the product, we want to connect the storyteller and the buyer of the product, creating a platform where people exchange ideas and get inspired by each other’s story.

This all started with the project “Storytelling for Change,” initiated by Kristine Tauch, and carried out by her and Bledion Vladi. The main idea of this project was to bring people of different backgrounds together and to enable refugees to tell their stories. Twenty young refugees and ten locals met for a three-day workshop and started telling their stories. Every member was listened to without prejudice, and the big group of people soon became a family. “I am happy because you all are happy” was the comment made by a 15-year-old from Syria during a round of reflection on the last day of the workshop.

After witnessing the power of such moving stories, we decided to take it a step further and use the concept of storytelling to change the social business “The Story Store”. We were nominated for the German Integration Prize 2018 (Contest Winner) for this idea, and we participated in a crowdfunding campaign in order to raise money for the publication of the book Warum wir hier sind (“Why We Are Here”) and to further develop the idea of a social business that connects people of different backgrounds through stories. Both projects were supported by EUU as part of your Social Action work, and that helped a great deal.

Since then, we have launched the store (www.thestorystore.de), published the book, and organized dozens of book readings, which are the best way to bring people together, invite members of the local community to come into dialogue with migrants, and also sell the book to the public. All revenue generated from book sales is used to finance the next publication and the intercultural projects we do.

The Story Store is now looking for help with the publication of an English version, and we are planning to remodel our website in order to more clearly transmit our message.

Still challenging for a team of two is creating an efficient marketing strategy in order to reach a greater number of people and have more cooperation with young artists.

At the retreat in Bad Homburg, Bledion Vladi, a migrant from Albania, author and editor of the book and co-founder of The Story Store, will give a motivational speech about his journey and the challenges and impact that small acts by a single individual have in changing the community and the world.

Kristine Tauch, the initiator of the Storytelling for Change project, editor of Warum wir hier sind, and co-founder of The Story Store, will conduct a workshop about the moving power of storytelling and how can it be used to bring people together.

Both the speech and the workshop will take place during one session, and we are looking forward to meeting all the participants and to inspiring and getting inspired by one another.