We had the good fortune of connecting with Kim Rounsefell and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kim, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
My business emerged in a very unexpected way. I’ve always wanted to do something that had a positive community impact but didn’t know how that might look. At the time, I was working at an Eating Disorder Treatment Center. I noticed the challenges that many families experienced in accessing and maintaining much-needed healthcare throughout their recovery. As a health professional, this was frustrating and had been stewing in my mind for a while. To coincide with this, I researched the relationships between social media exposure and body image. I noticed many of the impacts that digital media can have on the way people think and feel about themselves. My business idea came together on one uneventful day. I stumbled across this small booklet called a zine (z-ee-n). Zines are independently published media that have been part of our popular culture for decades. Looking at one of these zines, they felt so inviting, real— accessible. The rest is history, I guess you could say. I started by creating my first mental health zine titled ‘Brain Love.’ It was a piece that aims to promote more self-compassion toward our imperfect brains. And I never stopped. I believe in the power of sharing lived experiences and community voices and love everything that zines represent. I hope that zines can help bridge the gap between access to healthcare by providing healing tools to support health and wellbeing.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
thankubody Zines bring together small-press publications centered on mental health and body image and self-care. Our subject-matter cover anxiety, depression, trauma, addiction, feminism, fat positivity, media literacy, mindfulness, sexual health, and more. We hold a fondness for a particular type of zine called a perzine (personal zine), which helps share lived experiences and unique insights of our zinesters. This helps reduce stigma and provide a sense of community voice and support in these critical health areas. The business started quite naturally. I began making zines about body image myself. Over time, I felt it was important not to simply share my thoughts and experiences but also that of others. I’m most proud of the positive impact zines have on our readers by empowering the way they think and feel about themselves with small activities to help in those in-between moments of life. Have there been struggles along the way? Yes! As an introvert, I’ve had many internal battles when sharing this work and story. Is it good enough? Do I have anything meaningful to contribute? These are all questions that come up regularly. I’m learning to push on through these moments, sharing more authentically about the work, including the ups and downs, which I think helps. I think my personal challenges tie in with thankubodys’ purpose. Recognizing that we all go through life’s ebbs and flows between inner-struggle and inner-peace. But if we can hone in on that self-awareness and take steps to get through those moments in a meaningful way, that’s what thankubody is about.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
How Fun! Let’s start off visiting some of the local Southern California beaches! Crystal Cove Beach is a treat, and exploring the rockpools is a fun way to spend time. Next, we’d spend a day exploring each of the local cities. Laguna is a vibrant beach town with lots of art galleries to see. There’s a beautiful little candy store in San Clemente we’d grab some goodies before taking a stroll along the pier. Then it would be time to hit Long Beach and explore the 4th street strip for some great food, What would a trip to California be without hitting some of the major cities and attractions? In Los Angeles, I love the Griffith Observatory and taking in the vibrant culture along Venice Beach and Avenue of the Stars. In San Diego, there’s Seal Beach, which blew me away with how close the seals actually get. You can even swim with them. Then, we’d go and explore the beautiful array of food along the Little Italy strip. Finally, I could never pass up a day trip to explore the unbelievable landscapes of Joshua Tree National Park and also Palm Springs. Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Oh wow, where do I begin here? I want to dedicate this shoutout to my family. They’ve always been there to support me, listen to my ideas, offer guidance and feedback, proofread my work, and helping out at festivals and shows. I’ve experienced many self-doubt moments on this journey. My family’s encouragement has kept me going through these more challenging times. Also, the zine community is just amazing. It can feel vulnerable sharing your work in the publication space. I love that everyone is so encouraging of one another. A book that I frequently refer to titled “Show Your Work” by Austin Kleon serves as a great reminder to share little bits of your creative process each day, and it’s been beneficial at breaking down this barrier for me. Finally, every person who has supported this work by purchasing zine or taking the time to send a message of support, I feel privileged to help my community in this way.