Are We Crazy For Starting A Bookshop In These Times?

We take a moment to panic with Sherchle.

"You guys are so brave"

That's been something we hear a lot. And the more we hear it, the less brave we feel. Because sometimes, it's hard to tell where bravery ends and stupidity begins.

the psychology of panic

In Morgan Housel's The Psychology of Money, he talks about how much we underestimate the role that luck plays in success. So we work like hell — or as some people call it, the hustle — hoping that all this work gives us control over the outcome, not realising how utterly normal it is for a lot of things to fail whenever luck feels like playing her hand.

This was an important thing for us to remember, because it makes us go back to the drawing board about what we can control. The answer was simple: our definition of success. So much of that is tied up in our reasons for opening Wormhole, and there are MANY reasons.

But when we sat down and talked it through, we realised it came down to our dream to build a community and connect with people, using stories as the bridge. Yes — stories, not books.

Books are just a medium. We love them and all, but at the end of the day, it's the message we care about most. Can this be a place where we all slowly learn to embrace different views? Where you may not agree with a perspective, but you respect that it comes from a person with their own beliefs and experiences. It was this desire for diversity and acceptance that led to us conceptualising Wormhole as a brand that's unpredictable, a little messy and kinda all over the place — pretty much like life itself.

So are we crazy for starting a bookshop? In these times when empathy and open-mindedness are needed more than ever, we'd be crazy not to.

About the illustration

An early alternative concept Sherchle explored while working on the illustration.

"I wanted to have some kind of chaos"

We gave Jakarta-based illustrator Sherchle the task of capturing all that self-doubt and uncertainty in one visual, and she found inspiration in an unexpected place: a meme.

"Being handed this theme, I knew that I wanted to have some kind of chaos running in the background, with the bookshop being intact and optimistic; pretty much in the same spirit with that dog-in-a-burning-room-meme, which I can totally relate with. I like how the theme is phrased in a way that lets me pick visual elements from my fantasy-loving neighbor’s blog.

It's the word “crazy” that got me putting together an absurd scene. Any less than a tired-looking joyful duo trying to sell books while The Destruction of Humanity by Monsters and Aliens is ongoing would simply not be crazy enough. I sincerely hope they have insane reflexes to dodge all the lasers and tentacles."

"Honestly, I think starting ANY business during these times is a bold move, but hey, like they say "Fortune favours the bold". As someone who enjoys reading, I am glad to know that you guys are starting a bookshop with an interesting personality, so I'm truly rooting for it to grow large and thrive"

About the illustrator

Michelle Sherrina, also known on the Internet as Sherchle, is a Jakarta-based illustrator with a non-threatening aura. Having consumed numerous pun-based humour books while growing up, a lot of her works begin with mixing and matching words, which often results in an alternative reality.

Her side activities include running a merchandise shop, explaining to her grandparents what her job is, and sharpening her m̶i̶n̶d̶ ̶r̶e̶a̶d̶i̶n̶g̶ writing skills.

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