The LitJoy Origin Story: From Book Club to Bustling Business

The LitJoy Origin Story: From Book Club to Bustling Business

5 minute read

The beginning of LitJoy was a serendipitous affair. One of those moments in life where hundreds of little things align to make something beautiful and wondrous begin!

Three pictures of Alix and Kelly: 1-Dressed in magical attire, 2-Holiday themed, 3-sitting on couch with LitJoy boxes

Kelly Starts a Book Club (2006)

In 2006, LitJoy co-owner Kelly created a neighborhood book club, which grew into a book club blog. Her intention was to build a community of readers. She would inspire dozens of book club members and thousands of blog readers to pick up a book—some for the first time in years! This deep love of literature was reflected in every detail of book club meetings. The decorations immersed you into the pages of that month’s read. For other book clubs everyone would dress like witches, 1800s London Christmas partygoers, or first years waiting to be sorted into their magical houses. The food was also in theme, with decadent charcuterie boards fit for Greek gods, spiced pumpkin juices, raspberry cordial, and a brave potato peel pie making an appearance. In every detail, Kelly curated a full book club experience, and it truly inspired people to read!

Alix Starts a Blogging Business (2009)

In 2009, LitJoy co-owner Alix launched her own company which required a great deal of crafting, writing, and event planning. As a content creator for companies big and small, she put her creative powers to work during the day and buried her nose in books at night. She created parties with giant paper cranes, antlers covered in golden shimmer, and gift boxes heaving in floral splendor. She painted a crib canary yellow for a photoshoot, wrapped tiny gift cupcake toppers, and taught herself how to use a camera. Her written articles ranged from “How to Host a Perfect Party for Your 1-Year-Old” to “When You Should Upgrade Your Smoke Alarm Detector” to “This Is Literally the Best Peach Cinnamon Jam Ever”. And despite all the creative freedom, the job of generating content for other brands became laborious. Fate was about to make its move.

Alix Says Yes! (to join a Book Club)

In February 2015, at an event for bloggers, Alix was invited to join Kelly’s book club by a member. She said yes—immediately. Now, you may think it was Best-Friends-At-First-Sight, but this isn’t that kind of story.

Kelly continued to run a fabulous book club but knew that there might be ways to expand it to a larger community and help support her family along the way. Alix loved coming to book club and trudged through her work the rest of the month. The two would exchange pleasantries during book club, and then rush off to run their lives.

Kelly Says Yes! (to join a Business Conference)

Then in fall of 2015, Kelly asked Alix for advice on “how to monetize my book club.” Alix did her best to give some advice but, more importantly, Alix extended the invitation to Kelly to come to a Women in Business Conference. Kelly said yes, of course!

They Say Yes! (to each other)

Alix and Kelly standing together

In January of 2016, Kelly and Alix attended the Alt Summit conference and stayed up all night obsessing over their favorite books, favorite characters, and there was a weighty amount of Sarah J. Maas fangirling happening. After a few nights of laughing and nerding out, Kelly shared her business idea: “I want to create something like my book club, but as a monthly subscription. I want to make a book club in a box.” Alix’s response was immediate: “YES! You should absolutely do that thing!” And then Kelly asked a question where all the hundreds of little things aligned to make something beautiful and wondrous: “Do you want to do it with me?”

Now, they didn’t know each other well, dear reader. They had only met 11 months before and this was literally their first time hanging out outside of book club. But it was written in the stars! Call it a past-life intuition—or perhaps fate . . . Alix’s answer was an emphatic and immediate “Yes!”

The next day, Alix quit her job.

LitJoy Is Born

Within 10 days, they had a business license, a name, and an Instagram account. They each contributed $500 and leveraged credit card debt. Within 3 months they shipped their first book crates.

One of the first LitJoy Crate boxes in a mailbox surrounded by mail

In the beginning, they spent every spare moment bootstrapping their new book company dream. Each had 1-year-olds and 3-year-olds who would toddle around the kitchen as they built boxes, figured out how to print labels, and styled photos for social media. They would work as moms while the littles were awake, then rush to quality check products and read ARCs during naptime. Bedtime for babies was a second shift for Kelly and Alix after ordering books, answering customer questions, and figuring out taxes. In the beginning, it was a thrilling and exhausting haze.

Alix and Kelly's young toddlers helping with LitJoy Crate boxes

In February of 2024, LitJoy will celebrate its 8th birthday.

Alix and Kelly surrounded by confetti

8 Years Later...

Today we have more than 30 employees across the world, a warehouse packed with hundreds of different bookish products, and hundreds of thousands of customers around the globe. We have mourned with our community in times of loss. We have celebrated weddings, the births of children, graduations, and recoveries with our community. LitJoy is a family who loves stories. But our greatest accomplishment and honor is being a part of our community’s stories. From the depths of our hearts, thank you for being a part of our dream. 

Be sure to see what we're up to over at

The LitJoy Team at LitJoy Summit 2023

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