LIVE TO TELL IT

Fourteen years ago he founded an editing company that produces tailor made books. We always say that we are in the business of emotions,” says Eduardo Zemborain cofounder of MSB Storytelling, the “editing company” that makes bespoke books for people and companies.

Link to article: http://www.lanacion.com.ar/1903292-vivir-para-contarla

That sentence might sound a bit strange if one doesn’t know all the work that is behind the surprise gift that ends up in the hands of a client and the honoree: on those pages there is gratitude, anecdotes and meaningful memories collected over many months.

The 55 year old architect founded MSB in 2002 after the economic crash that hit Argentina at the end of the previous year leaving his architectural office without the prospect of any projects in the immediate future. The options were, he recalls, leaving the country or to search for a “Noah’s Ark”. His eureka moment was triggered thanks to a birthday: his wife´s birthday.

When Vicky Randle-Zemborain (53), also an architect, turned 40 she received a one of a kind book from her husband in which her children, friends, and also an ex boyfriend, told anecdotes and wished her well.

A few months later she herself became cofounder of an initiative that went from being a family business to a professional one.

Currently the firm has other two partners: Juan Zemborain (43) and Carolina Tobias Cordova (52).

“When we started I thought that I didn’t want to be just a workshop but a corporation. We came up with an idea in which every person in the firm was an area and had to think like that, “ explains Zemborain. The couple started with $20,000 from their savings and an investment that involved time rather than money.” Four years later they won the NAVES first prize in a competition held by the prestigious IAE Business School.

The entrepreneurs explain that their focus is not the “photo book” or the “e-book” that you can manage yourself with simple digital tools but a “real book with a written story, proof read, well structured and impeccably printed.”

The possibilities are limitless: from an in memoriam book to the celebration of the centennial of a company, from a surprise birthday book to a biography or memoir.

The adventure of telling interesting stories, far from the typical biography or institutional catalogue, takes months of investigation and many times includes long distance calls, interviews, and motivational skills to encourage people to be an active part of the project.

So far MSB has produced more than 400 projects in six different languages that include Arabic and Dutch! All books have been edited and printed in Argentina. “It is a firm that uses local resources but that is open to international commissions,” says Zemborain. Among their pages one can find the memories of the son of survivors of the Holocaust, the surprise birthday gift for a well-known businessman. For one the experience was “healing,” for another it was “the best present ever, even better than that party thrown to celebrate his birthday with Rod Stewart providing the music!

“For those who have everything a surprise gift book is the best present you can give because it is impossible to buy what people feel about him/her or how they remember the shared moments” explains Eduardo. “MSB’s target is mostly persons of a certain economic status that allows them to afford luxury travel” adds Randle.

The partners highlight that what they do is “pricey” rather than “expensive” because it doesn’t have the value of a product but of a high level professional service.

On the other hand, the firm that in 2015 invoiced AR$ 4,5 M also has corporate clients searching for “humanizing” their companies as well as to earn their employees loyalty. Although their clients trust a physical book almost as a “cult object” lately they have begun to offer the books in digital and interactive format only for their corporate clients.

After fourteen years of working in a unstable Argentina, they want to focus on their premium services and to continue honoring their motto taken from the Nobel Prize author Gabriel García Marquez: “Life is not what you lived but what you remember and how you remember it to tell it.”

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