Hi, I am Harriet and I am the director/author/owner of Gurt and Pops LTD. My business was established in 2017 from a dream and a tragedy. After losing my long-term partner suddenly in a farming accident I decided that life was too short not to follow my dreams.
I was a 28-year-old widow with a life that had been torn apart and I was adamant that I would make him proud so Gurt and Pops were born.
(Gurt was the name that James used to call me and Pops is our miniature dachshund).
I was a primary school teacher in a rural school and passionate about all things farming when I hid away the quiet dream about being an author. I never really told anyone and thought it would never come true. However, when I lost James’ I realised that we should always do what is true to our hearts for life is short and unpredictable.
One of my favourite things about teaching was interacting with the children over incredible stories and a passion for reading and writing. I also remember mum telling me picking up a book was the first thing I did (before I could walk - which took me ages apparently)!
My business is built around producing stories that are 100% New Zealand written, illustrated and printed while ensuring that the messaging in the books is strong and meaningful so that adults and children alike take learning away from them.
My good friend Dana is my illustrator and she has this uncanny ability to bring to life what I imagine in my mind, while my printing company are a family-owned business based in Rangiora (Wilson Print). Relationships in business are extremely important to me and I love hearing other businesses stories and how we can support each other in our own personal ventures. Over the last few years, Gurt and Pops have evolved to be a brand that stands to provide resources for parents and teachers so they can have conversations with their children that they maybe didn’t know how to have or where to start with and to engage those children who sometimes struggle to ‘sit still’ at story time.
Full of tractors, animals and all things rural, my books aim to please all those little eyes who see them and I know many a child who sleeps with a Gurt and Pops book under their pillow!
They get excited to turn the next page to see what Pops and her farmyard friends are up to next. The children also love relating the characters to the pet that they have at home.
Another part of our business is our school visits. Pops and I love going and spending time in schools with children talking to them about a wide variety of things from health, safety and wellbeing to the writing process. These are all tailor-made to suit the school that we visit and what child doesn’t want to see a real-life sausage dog and book character!
My business is something that I have done on the side while teaching, farming, working overseas and more and I pride myself on being a self-published author who has full control on the story behind each book because they are written from the heart. I love seeing the joy that a good book brings those who engage in them and cannot wait to share more with you all as we continue to grow.
Please send us photos and messages whenever you like as these truly do make my day when I receive them. I wish you all the best and hope you find some magic in our little series of books.
The Lady Behind the Colour... Introducing Dana Johnston!
Dana Johnston - Creator, Artist, Dream Maker