Sunday, December 1, 2013

ACTease December 2013 / January 2014

What are the best art exhibitions and shows you’ve seen this year? The last year has been a very special one for Canberra, with 2013 marking the centenary of this extraordinary city. Whilst I’ve enjoyed some of the ‘blockbuster’ exhibitions, such as NGA’s Turner from the Tate, there have been some unique experiences – who could forget Patricia Piccinini’s Skywhale hot-air balloon (June ACTease). If anything, 2013 has proven that Canberra really does know how to ‘do art’ (not that we ever really doubted that) and I’m looking forward to what’s in store next year. Until then, here’s a selection of super shows to round up a sensational Centenary year in Canberra…
Self portraits by the mixed ability art group ArtsAbiliTEA, 2013

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Part 2: 76th Tokyo International Gift Show – The Logistics

…continuing on from last week’s post about the Tokyo Gift Fair, Courtney offers some advice on getting around Tokyo:

Tokyo itself is also impressive: safe, clean, friendly, easy to get around, and not as expensive as I had imagined (prices for food and transport were the same, if not cheaper than Australia).

Our trip was facilitated by Australia company, Skyarc. Skyarc Director, Kenzo Selby assisted in organizing our accommodation and provided other useful local information on the Gift Fair and getting around Tokyo. Kenzo is a fluent Japanese speaker (having lived in Japan for a number of years) and assisted us in arranging meetings with suppliers. He was available throughout the duration of the show to assist and answer any questions we had. We really appreciated this additional support from a fellow Aussie who had a good understanding of the Japanese market and culture. Read more...

Friday, November 1, 2013

Part 1: 76th Tokyo International Gift Show

I have one regret about our trip to Tokyo, and that’s that we didn’t discover Japan sooner. Our company was selected by the Tokyo Gift Fair Buyer Program facilitated by Skyarc this year. The purpose of this initiative is to increase international exposure to Japanese Gift and Homewares suppliers.

The Tokyo Gift Fair is the largest International Trade Show in Japan. Over 200,000 visitors attend and 2400 companies (4100 booths) exhibit at the Fair. The majority of exhibitors are from Japan, with a representation of exhibitors from other Asian countries such as China, Korea and Indonesia. The Fair also has international areas where products from specific counties such as U.S.A, Korea, Indonesia, Taiwan, and China were showcased. The majority of visitors are from Asia. We bumped into a few Americans, but overall the number of international buyers was limited. Read more...

ACTease November 2013

One of my favourite excursions on a sunny weekend in Canberra is a stroll around Lake Burley Griffin, followed by a wander through the NGA and National Portrait Gallery (and a sneaky coffee stop at one of the gallery cafes). The best thing about November in Canberra is that there are usually more sunny weekends to choose from, as the warmer weather finally arrives. Checking out a couple of exhibitions can easily turn into a fun day out when you throw in a bit of walking between galleries and a couple of coffee stops for good measure…
Richard AVEDON, Elizabeth Taylor, cock feathers by Anello of Emme, New York studio, July 1964. © The Richard Avedon Foundation, New York

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

ACTease October 2013

I’m not a camper, so I can empathise with the shock that Belconnen artists Carolyn Fitzpatrick and Carole Osmotherly would have experienced as they reluctantly left the comfort of their Canberra homes to venture on a no-frills camping trip into the outback to capture the natural beauty of the Northern Territory’s Ruby Gap and surrounds.
Susan Wood, 'Faded Flowers' 2010, bush dyed silk and linen, hand stitched, 52cm x 87cm.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

ACTease September 2013

September is one of my favourite months in Canberra. The show-stopper event of the month is Floriade (think one million flowers in Canberra’s Commonwealth Park attracting more than 400,000 visitors), which starts on 14 September, then there’s the Canberra Times Fun Run on 8 September, and need I even mention the fact that by September, Canberra’s inclement winter days are numbered. Plus there’s a stack of awesome exhibitions, but hey, nothing new here, just a taste of what’s in store.
Tegan the Vegan Poster

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Top Customer Service Tips For Online Retailers – Part II

…continuing on from last weeks’ post about Top Customer Service Tips for Online Retailers.

7.   Streamline the ordering process
The importance of a ‘streamlined’ website shouldn’t be underestimated. Slick processes should be a priority and visible to your customers as soon as they visit your website – before they even consider purchasing. If a site is confusing or difficult to navigate customers may not even proceed as far as placing an order. Thoroughly analyse how many clicks it takes customers to get to certain parts of your website – the less the better, says Alexandra Mills. “Make your site customer friendly – navigation should be seamless as customers turn off if they have to click around too much to find what they want.”

Friday, August 9, 2013

Top Customer Service Tips for Online Retailers – Part I

When was the last time you received great customer service?
Now I want you to think harder. When was the last time you received great customer
service, from an online retailer? What did they do to turn your experience from average to great?

I regularly purchase from an online skincare, haircare and beauty product retailer. They’re a family-run business and recognise my name each time I purchase. My box of goodies arrives promptly (a day or two after I order), everything is carefully wrapped in tissue and immaculately presented, plus there are always a couple of ‘freebies’ thrown in. Why would I pay for petrol and parking at my local shopping centre to schlep around a poorly-staffed department store with my one-year-old to buy the same products when I can easily purchase them from the comfort of my own home? Read more...

Friday, August 2, 2013

Challenges of an Online Retailer

This is the second post of a 4-part series about online retailing from guest blogger Courtney Symes. In this post, Courtney covers the top 3 challenges of retailing online based on direct research and interviews conducted with established online retailers. Read more...

Thursday, August 1, 2013

ACTease August 2013

A few weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to attend a Seekers concert. Having bought the tickets as a Christmas present for my mum, I have to confess my knowledge of The Seekers’ repertoire was limited to Georgy Girl and Morningtown Ride, but having being exposed to their cassettes on long car trips, I had a rough idea of what I was in for. Read more...
Paul Kelly and the Portraits, National Portrait Gallery, Canberra

Friday, July 26, 2013

Thanks to Courtney Symes, our AGHA Guest Blogger who ventured out on a project to research on top customer service tips for online retailers. She caught up with some great online retailers to gather their insights on what they think are some of the benefits customers enjoy from shopping online. This first post is part 1 of 4 of a series of entries based on her findings.

1.   Convenience – Shop 24/7 from the comfort of your couch

Alana Gray, co-owner of online homewares and home d├ęcor store, Florence and Albion says, “Shopping online is a convenience that works for busy people and many of the in-store benefits are now able to be mirrored in the online shopping environment. Questions that would otherwise be directed at a salesperson can be emailed, asked via a Contact Us form or via social media plus websites can add information to their product descriptions or FAQ’s so that the questions may be answered there and then.” Shervin Mossammaparast, founder of Avancer, an online retailer specialising in quality homewares and kitchen appliances agrees, saying “With an online store, your check-out is always staffed and you are ready for action when the customer is ready to buy. At Avancer we like to make the purchasing experience as easy as possible and give customers a wide range of payment options that offer security and convenience.” Read more...

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Ten ways to add colour to your winter wardrobe

At a recent coffee catch-up, a friend shared her excitement at having just purchased a red dress. We both agreed that red was a timeless colour, more interesting than black, and a great winter colour that could be accessorised with neutral or black shoes and accessories. The shops are jam-packed with colour this season, so if you’re in need of a little winter pick-me-up, I highly recommend adding a bit of colour to your winter wardrobe. Read more...


Monday, July 1, 2013

ACTease July 2013

What do your possessions say about you? Imagine that a collection of your favourite items, including paintings and drawings you created, clothing, furniture and other precious mementos were locked away in a room for fifty years before being uncovered to an audience you’d never met. How do you think your character and life experiences would be viewed in the eyes of these strangers and what’s more, would you care? Read more...

Saturday, June 1, 2013

ACTease June 2013

The talk of the town in Canberra this month has been Patricia Piccinini’s Skywhale hot-air balloon. This unidentifiable half bird/half beast has Canberrans divided. Ian Warden of the Canberra Times eloquently summaries Canberra’s bewilderment: “Now whole classes of Canberrans (like, say, the Summernats classes, and their children) who know and care nothing about art and who don’t want to have anything to do with the centenary or any deep analysis, have a right to be disappointed by Skywhale … Perhaps in thinking of the best balloon for the centenary messrs Archer and Piccinini should have done the demanding work of imagining something that had mass appeal, that gave delight rather than a challenge.” FM104.7’s Scotty and Nige recently questioned if it would be such a bad thing if the world’s biggest set of airborne boobs put Canberra on the map. If Piccinini’s intention was to prompt a reaction (good or bad), I’d say she’s succeeded with all the flying colours of her Skywhale. We’d love your thoughts – ‘love’ or ‘hate’? Read more...

Monday, April 1, 2013

Pumped up kicks: Top 5 sneaker trends for A/W 2013

I remember my first pair of ‘proper’ street sneakers: a pair of dark blue Skechers that I saved up for weeks for. They were the first pair of sneakers I had ever owned that weren’t for working out or running in and looked perfect with my low-slung cargo pants. Sneakers have never really gone ‘off trend’ thanks to iconic brands such as Converse and Vans, but this season, sneakers are a standout wardrobe essential. Plenty of new colours, prints and styles mean that there’s a perfect sneaker out there for everyone. Read more...


ACTease April 2013