LIFE STORIES RECORDED FOR ALL TIME.
BUSINESS ADDRESS: 13351-D Riverside Drive #146, Sherman Oaks, CA 91423
WEB SITE: www.livinglegaciesfamilyhistories.com, email@example.com
OWNER: Ellie Kahn
NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: One
DESCRIBE YOUR BUSINESS: Families, communities and organizations hire me to record the stories and memories of their eldest members so that future generations will have the details about their ancestors, their family background, the colorful stories, personalities, challenges, romances and successes unique to their family.
IS THIS YOUR FIRST BUSINESS? Yes
WHY DID YOU START THIS BUSINESS? I love elderly people. I found myself picking them up in the park and drifting to them at parties. I'm a licensed psychotherapist and a journalist and have done "life review" with patients as well as first-person stories for the Herald Examiner and the Jewish Journal. A friend who knew of my attraction to older folks told me about the field of oral history, and it just seemed like a marriage of my two careers.
WHERE DID YOU GET THE IDEA? I decided to take what is often done as part of a university project and make it available for individual families. I found a mentor, my grandmother-in-law, then some friends' parents. After I'd done a few, I started the business.
HOW LONG WAS IT FROM CONCEPT TO OPENING? Six months.
WHAT DID YOU DO DURING THAT TIME? I created a rather rough video of an older relative as well as a book about my own family history by doing oral history interviews with both of my parents.
WHAT WERE YOUR STARTUP COSTS AND HOW DID YOU FINANCE THE BUSINESS? I used my savings. The initial samples I made cost about $500.
WHO DID YOU RELY ON FOR ADVICE? Gary Shumway, an instructor at California State University, Fullerton, in their oral history department. Also video producers and editors who slowly taught me about producing and editing videos.
WHAT HADN'T YOU CONSIDERED BEFORE OPENING? How much time each project would take, and how I would need to raise my rates as I spent more time in each phase of the project -- from interviewing through editing and producing a final written or video family history.
WHAT IS YOUR EXPECTED REVENUE THIS YEAR? As a part-time business for the first 17 years, it ranged from $15,000 to $30,000, but as a full-time business, I'm hoping for at least $80,000.
WHAT GOALS DO YOU HAVE FOR THE COMPANY? To continue to grow so that an increased number of individuals, families and organizations can benefit from our services to preserve the stories and memories of their eldest members. As I reach this goal of more projects and more income, I'd love to have a team of other interviewers, editors and videographers working together in this endeavor.
(color) Ellie Kahn, left, owner of Living Legacies, interviews Tobes Reisel at her home in Sherman Oaks. Kahn will use her notes to create a living memory through a story for Reisel.
John Lazar/Staff Photographer