Friday, November 16, 2012

Shop local

This past week The Advertiser and Messenger newspapers (published by News Ltd) have begun their own initiative 'Shop in SA' and have used the Twitter hashtag #shopinsa to allow businesses to promote and for Twitter users to tweet about their favourite local shops.
On the Adelaide Now website 838 shops have so far registered and their are links to their websites, which is fantastic for promotion and customers to be able to click on the link.
With numerous reports about the retail sector being in trouble from increased competition from online retailers (usually reported as overseas retailers) this would seem an attempt to encourage consumers to spend their Chrismas gift giving dollars at local shops instead of online. I think howeveer, there are larger problems in the retail sector than internet shopping (customer service, opening hours...but I won't go into that today).
This is a commendable idea and it is encouraging to see local shops given profiles in the printed newspaper and online. My weekly copy of The Messenger this week featured the shop Vintage Carousel, which began as an online store in 2003 before becoming a 'bricks and mortar' shop in 2009. It is important to remember that online shops can also be 'local' and support for these businesses does not have to be seen as being to the detriment of physical shops. The US campaign from a few Christmas' ago 'Buy Handmade' had it's focus on getting people to buy only handmade gifts to support local craft makers. This campaign was also able to link in with Etsy and independent craft bloggers.
Each weekday over this past week The Advertiser have been printing a list of 'Best 50 shops' in different Adelaide suburbs. The paper states that the list is a result of a "call out to our readers...which nearly 1000 people responded to", no information is given on age, gender of the people surveyed or if they could nominate a shop more than once. What disappointed me about this list - and do I blame those responding or the criteria? - is the inclusion of big store retailers including; Coles, Myer, Target, Sussan, Jeanswest, Bakers Delight, Neds, Betts in the '50 shops' list which covered the Northern suburbs of Adelaide. (15 could be considered chainstores/large retailers)
The 'Best 50' list for the Western suburbs was more encouraging with nine shops which could be counted as chainstores/large retailers which operate nationally. When consumers purchase from chain stores there are extra considerations to take into account; including the shipping of the product and while they do employ local staff, money also does flow out of the state to pay for transport, head office staff, administration and profit sharing.
While the Shop in SA campaign is commendable and has provided publicity to small, Adelaide based businesses such as Vintage Carousel, Naomi Murrell, Greenhill Galleries, By Blackbird - I feel there this could have been more of an opportunity to promote only independent retailers, those who are based in Adelaide in terms of their 'head office/administration' and those who are making their product in SA. I would have liked to see The Advertiser/Messenger also connect with Renew Adelaide and Renew Port Adelaide to link in with an existing urban regeneration project and to provide promotion to the shops, which are SA based, independent and shopping in them would mean dollars that are spent in businesses which need foot traffic and word of mouth to keep them going.
Running a successful business requires customers to know that your business exists (sorry for being obvious) and buy local or Shop in SA campaigns are positive in that they raise awareness and let customers know the shops in their suburbs - and hopefully they will go and visit and purchase. Shops allow for a community to develop- and this can also be seen online. Farmers markets bring people to a local area to buy from the growers and makers, to talk about produce and buying local has the advantage of lessening transport of fruit and vegetables. Often it is seen, when a new cafe opens up, so to will a couple of shops (see Queen St, Croydon as an example).
This article from Time discusses how buying locally has an effect on how money stays within a community - "by shopping at the corner store instead of the big box, consumers keep their communities from becoming what the NEF call "ghost towns" and this is why it is so important to support Shops in SA, whether online or bricks and mortar - because it supports communites and helps money stay within that local community and that should make us feel good.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

weekend to-do

It's been a mostly succesful weekend, lots of small tasks achieved. Number one on my list was to complete marking my student's final assessments - so glad to have got that all done and the grades entered. Now, on to getting ready for the next semester's lectures.

We had friends over for lunch on Saturday and with the weather being cold I made a nice tomato soup.

At the beginning of this year we became mortgage holders for the first time! Buying a block of land just down the street from where we are now. We have lived in the suburb for nine years and I am so happy that we can build in our lovely community. I love living here, it is so close to the city, work and school. Because of it's industrial hisory it is often over-looked as a desirable suburb to live in - but those in the know, just think how lucky we are. There is the best pub (The Wheatsheaf), cool cafes nearby, free tramline, good restaurants and clothes shops opening up - plus plenty of young families, so the kids have plenty of friends close by to play with.

Designing a house that will suit us for (many) years to come is slightly daunting! I walk past the vacant piece of land and try to imagine what our house will look like, what impression it will make on the landscape. At the moment I am 'sourcing' images, sketching and trying to create a list of the type of things that would make me happy in a home - top of my list is always 'light'.

This weekend I have also been working on some freelance work for clients. I have three clients at the moment in Adelaide that I am helping with their social media strategy, branding and websites. It's enjoyable work, I love the chance to help them get the look they are hoping for and help with knowing how to engage with social media. I look forward to sharing their websites when they are finished.
Home styling

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Bad blogger

I'm back!
Again, with not really a lot to say. I've been lecturing and tutoring the past few months, which has a way of keeping me busy. I've really enjoyed teaching this Semester, as I think I pushed myself out of my comfort zone a bit and had some of those lovely 'learning experiences' myself.

My thesis is still in the no-where zone of nobody being certain of what they should be doing with it at the moment. It has been stressing me, causing migraines which last for days - I am being pro-active now about getting something happening with it.

On the weekend I went for a quick trip to Melbourne. I love being in Melbourne and spending my time walking without a plan - just seeing what catches my eye and doing loads of walking.

I have also been spending more time on my children's art class teaching. It can be hard work in terms of setting up and planning but once in the classroom with the kids - I love it! I've been in touch with some people about possibly holding events in school holidays.
Another unexpected thing keeping me busy at the moment is I have been asked by friends to help them set up websites, blogs, pages for their small businesses. This too is enjoyable - as it reminds me - that not everyone is into social networking platforms as I am. It's interesting to listen to my friends as they explain what they want and my role in helping them.

and to finish on a positive, a nice image from the top of the Lighthouse at Port Adelaide

Sunday, January 1, 2012

"and the wild regrets"

Like a few posts that I've seen around at the start of the New Year, I am wondering if it time here for a blog re-design. Or perhaps, re-purpose. With my thesis back from the examiner's and that part of my life nearly finished with, I have been wondering what will happen with the under-used blog of mine.

My thesis came back with two wildly different reports. To add yet another complicated layer to this journey I suppose. I felt really upset and let down by my Supervisor, so many things went wrong and this is the result I was expecting. It has been hard to remain 'up' and to not worry when I feel that it is my future which is being played with and disregarded. A wise friend emailed and I am taking her advice of just doing what needs to be done. Write the edits, get it done and not worry about the behind scenes machinations. I felt so proud when the thesis was heat bound and while I don't think I will ever feel happy with my experience at that certain University, to treat this as a chance to learn from can only be a good thing.

Cherry cake made by my daughter for a Christmas party

favourite view in my lounge room
So, what will be next for me? I'm thinking that I will use this stretch of extremely hot weather to daydream and plan. Happy New Year everyone and thanks for reading.