"Our Grandpa was a legend," says Andrew Hall, co-founder of the Vancouver-based business No Story Lost. "He told the best stories."
The family would often talk about how they needed to start writing down Grandpa's stories so one day Hall and his cousin Jeremy Bryant got out their laptops and typed as he spoke. The pair turned what they wrote into a book of his life complete with photos which became "a nice treasure" for the family to hold on to. It was also inadvertently the first of their No Story Lost books.
After their experience with their grandfather, Hall and Bryant knew they could make something amazing for families that would remove that constant nagging "we need to be writing this down before we run out of time" feeling.
The two are no strangers to entrepreneurship since they also run Mealshare, a "buy one, give one" restaurant charity program. But this latest venture focuses on community and connection in a different form.
No Story Lost has produced approximately 70 eight-by-ten matte hardcover coffee-table books that take interviews and pair them with photos to create a keepsake of family stories. About 80 per cent are about the life of a parent or grandparent but Hall says he has had one that tells the story of the first two years of the life of a child that was gifted to a grandparent who couldn't see the baby in person due to COVID.
One of their three writers conducts multiple interviews with a parent or family members and then translates it into a beautifully laid out 50- to 250-page book of advice and memories complete with supporting family photos.
The books aren't stylized or ghost-written like a memoir service. Instead, Hall says they "want people to open up the book, read the words, and hear the voice of their parent in their heads."
They, of course, ensure everything is polished, readable and spelled correctly, but ultimately the book belongs to the family in every way. Right down to the colours of the pages which clients are able to select.
Depending on what type of book is selected, up to six hours worth of interviewing could take place and the ideal storyteller is someone who can recall and communicate their story clearly over the phone. Married couples whose lives intertwine are also great voices for a book.
Recently Hall and Bryant made the trek to Toronto to appear on Dragon's Den but Hall is tight-lipped about the results and says people will have to wait until their episode airs this fall to see if any of the Dragons made an offer.
At a glance, the business is built upon a sad premise—capturing the lives of our loved ones before they pass or their memory fades. But for Bryant and Hall it's a gift that they can appreciate firsthand. Their grandpa passed away not long ago at the age of 91 but they will always have his words in a material way that can be passed down for generations, ensuring that his story is never lost.