The origins of MILK Books
Born of a son's love.
Fathers are our heroes, our champions and our best friends. Their quiet calm, guiding wisdom and unconditional love are the most reliable and reassuring things in the world. They're home. It was MILK Founder Geoff Blackwell's love for his father that set in motion the MILK Books that we know today. What began as a simple desire to celebrate a great man became so much more. Discover the story below.
Tell us about the beginnings of MILK Books.
MILK Tailor Made Books came about because of my dad. He’s a good and generous man who has never sought attention for himself. So, when he turned 70 he'd never had a big birthday party. Essentially his whole life has been about cheering for everyone else. So we all decided that his 70th was going to be the moment that we let him know how much we all love him. We decided, that as a family, we would make a book about his life. We had a secret meeting where my brothers and I, along with our wives and our kids all got together and said "How can we do something special for him?" A plan was made to break into their house while they were away and to raid their photos. Every member of our family picked their favorite photo of each of us with him and wrote something about what he meant to us. We made a slide show with the photos to his favorite music - he was a big John Denver fan - and put all the photos to that. And we made a book to give him. On the day of his 70th we all got together for a family lunch and my brother Paul got up and made a speech and we played Dad the slide show and we gave him the book. He wept. He just wept, so did we all, and I know this meant just about more to him than any day in his life. He already knew that we loved him, but for us to actually go out of our way on this day and make something and give it to him and say, "We love you, you are a good and kind man, and you have been a great dad and a great grandfather." I know what it meant to him, and what it meant to us to be able to say this to him.
And that special celebration of your dad led to MILK as we know it today?
Yes, I thought to myself, you know, I know how to do this—let's create something people can use to create their own really beautiful books, so they can capture the moments in their lives and make a truly beautiful book that symbolically says something that's really important - “You matter to me.”
Geoff, who is a renowned publisher of global best sellers such as the original M.I.L.K series on family, friendship and love, Lady Diana's only authorized biography, and various titles celebrating Nelson Mandela's life, wasted no time in creating the world's finest photo albums and books that bear the MILK name today. From his decades of publishing experience, Geoff drew on all he knew to create his new brand - the proven book making techniques, the finest archival quality materials, and the design principles which elevate books from the everyday to the exquisite.
MILK Founder Geoff Blackwell