Swapping information on Wilmette’s Parents of McKenzie Kids Facebook page could almost become a sport, between parents seeking information and others sharing on a daily basis. McKenzie mom Jenny Boyce Morgan just made getting that information more convenient by compiling a year’s worth of recommendations into a downloadable book called “Little Black Book.”
Morgan decided to create the book after she discovered how useful McKenzie parents’ recommendations were for her own family and wanted to make them more accessible. “McKenzie parents’ recommendations feel more trustworthy because we live in the same neighborhood,” she said. The Facebook page has 506 members, all of whom are parents of children at McKenzie Elementary School. While many of the parents who participate on the Facebook page may not know each other personally, their children attend the same school and participate in many of the same activities.
On a typical day on Facebook, parents seek recommendations for carpenters, nannies, pediatricians and more, and others respond with information based on their own experiences. According to Morgan, the Facebook search function is difficult to navigate making it hard to find a previous post. Morgan meticulously combed through a year’s worth of posts and compiled a downloadable book that can be purchased on the Etsy website.
The information is organized into various categories such as auto repair, childcare, home maintenance, kids and lawn and garden. Listed under these categories is a range of services or activities. For example, under lawn and garden she included not only lawn mowing services but also brick paving, fences and landscape architects. Morgan was careful only to include businesses that people could vouch for based on personal experience.
If a particular service received more than three recommendations, and was unanimously liked (sometimes people share negative experiences), they are marked with a gold dot in the book. Morgan also included quotes from recommendations, such as this quote referencing a local dentist practice: “Father and son. Both great! Highly recommend!” Included is the business name and a contact, and then various information such as a phone number, email or website address.
While Morgan is primarily marketing Little Black Book through Facebook and word of mouth, she admitted to making it mostly for herself. “I [decided to do] this for myself and if someone else wants to buy it that is great,” she said. Although it is comprised of recommendations by Wilmette residents, many of the listings would appeal to anyone living on the North Shore.
The book is formatted to be used on as a PDF on a computer (hyperlinks are embedded), or printed and placed in a three-ring notebook. If sales take off Morgan plans to continue to update the information annually.
Little Black Book is available on Etsy for $4.99 for a single download, $39 for 10 copies, $99 for 25 copies and $179 for 50 copies.