Making history personal


Nanette Randall enjoys listening to people.

She describes herself as an extrovert, and after 20 years in human resources, she decided to use these skills to create a business that blends all her skills and talents together.

The result is Memoirs By Design, a company that deliverers memoirs based on people’s life experiences. Randall has become a personal historian, and spends time with individuals who want to share their stories with their families and loved ones.

“A lot of research went into starting this,” Randall said. “I spend the first four years working on finding printers, book binders, the proper software and clients.”

The way the process works is once Randall has a client, she goes through preparation with them, helping them to gather important photographs, letter and other important artifacts.

Once the person has that, the real work begins. Randall interviews the client for as long as it takes for them to give her all the information they want to share. She said that the average time is around four hours, but can go as short as one hour or as long as ten.

“I use a digital tape recorder during the interview, which I give to the client when I’m done so they have an oral history as well,” she said. “My goal is really to make them feel comfortable, so they’re able to share with me.”

After the interviews are completed, Randall transcribes it and becomes a “ghostwriter,” using the information to craft a memoir. Once she has finished writing, she has a proofreader give it a look over, then lets the family take a final look to make sure all the information is correct.

Finally, she gets the book published for the client and anyone else they may want.

“I try to do as quick a turn around as possible. It usually takes a couple of months,” she said.

In the eight years Memoirs By Design has been around, Randall has done about 40 memoirs, and while many are individuals, that’s not the only kind she does.

She does business memoirs, which involves talking not only to business owners, but also employees, to get a full history of the company. She also does pet stories for the animal lovers.

“There’s no magic age when people have a good story to share,” Randall said. “Many of my clients are between 60 to 90 years old, but not all.”

Recently Randall said she has had the honor of creating memoirs for veterans, and she said she’s extremely proud to partner with these men and women and put their stories on paper for their families.

“Everyone has a story that has the ability to paint a really compelling picture,” she said.

To learn more, contact Randall at 303-885-3790 or or visit