By Leon Gettler >>

IT IS hard to believe but Booktopia, now the biggest selling book outlet in Australia, started 15 years ago with a $10-a-day budget.

Co-founder Tony Nash said that was on the instructions of his brother, Simon.

“He’s very generous, my brother,” Tony Nash told Talking Business.

He said he and his team started the venture when they saw a gap in the market after working for Angus & Robertson and saw the retailer wasn’t interested in building an online business.

“With a very small budget, it just kept getting bigger and bigger,” Mr Nash said.

He said Booktopia today remains very focused on customer engagement.

“We asked ourselves the same question and have done so for the past 15 years and that is, what do our customers want, and by asking ourselves that question and answering that question, you’re on a voyage of discovery,” Mr Nash said. 

He said they found customers wanted stock, they wanted the website to be a certain way, they wanted a bookseller that was Australian and supported Australian literacy programs, sponsoring writers’ festivals and readers’ conferences.

AMAZONIAN STRENGTH

Booktopia also found customers wanted faster delivery and wanted books delivered via the Australia Post network.

As a result, the business shifted next to the Australia Post hub in Sydney.

He said Amazon has not made that big an impact on the business.

“We’ve gone from $80 million to $130 million since they announced their arrival,” Mr Nash said.

He does not regard Amazon as a threat because it is everything to everyone, whereas Booktopia is in the business of books.

“It you’re everything to everyone, you can’t be one thing to a vertical market,” Mr Nash said.

STAYING FOCUSED

He said his research found that companies that did well in an Amazon mature market were those that focused on doing one thing really well.

“That way people know who you are and they keep coming to you,” Mr Nash said.

He said this was particularly important when the shop front is a website.

He said when the business was established, people said bookshops were dying, it was the end of the physical book and that Amazon would annihilate the business.

None of that was true, he said, but the key to success was connecting with the customer. 

“It’s not just about having books on your shelf and having people come in, it’s really connecting with the customer in your store,” he said.

Mr Nash said Booktopia tries to do that online with book experts, and interviewing authors and creating unique content.

www.booktopia.com.au

www.leongettler.com

Hear the complete interview and catch up with other topical business news on Leon Gettler’s Talking Business podcast, released every Friday at www.acast.com/talkingbusiness

QUEENSLAND-BASED startup ANTI took home the title of Australia’s Emerging Creative Startup for 2018 at the recent Creative3 event hosted by QUT Creative Enterprise Australia (CEA) in Brisbane.

Creative3 is an annual competition CEA runs to recognise Australia’s most creative startups. 

ANTI is developing a beanie style helmet designed not only for protection but to be both fashionable and comfortable. 

ANTI co-founder Robert Johnson said the ANTI team did not think it was right that in 2018 helmets still do not fit many people correctly – “and many find them so uncomfortable and cumbersome that they choose to not wear one”

“Helmets are life saving devices,” Mr Johnson said. “Nobody drives without seat belts, so why do people shred without helmets? ANTI believes that the answer to this lies in comfort, ease of use and fit.”

As the Creative3 2018 winner, ANTI will participate in the exclusive Virgin StartUp (VSU) mini accelerator, StepUp, in London. 

Following their week-long intensive, the startup team members will travel to Copenhagen to represent Australia as part of the global initiative for creative entrepreneurship and innovation at the Global Creative Business Cup finals (CBC).

“Being Australia’s Emerging Creative Startup for 2018 is an incredible recognition,” Mr Johnson said. “It gives us credibility in the market. A lot of people don’t believe we make soft helmets as safe as anything else. It shows that we can actually do it and be a real company.

“It’s a fantastic recognition for all the work we’ve put in and we’re really proud to have gone against the other teams and to have gone really well in front of all these people.” 

Creative Enterprise Australia CEO Mark Gustowski, said ANTI took home the award because they came up with an elegant solution that solves problems for a lot of people. 

“They have developed a beanie style helmet that is a protective, fashionable and wearable clothing,” Mr Gustowski said.

“Initially marketed to skiers and snowboarders, it actually has applications for bikers, kids and the disabled, and it touches so many people. They won the crowd because of the impact they can have globally.” 

www.creative3.com.au

ends

CREATIVE Industries contributed $111.7 billion to Australia’s economy in 2016-17, according to new analysis by the Bureau of Communications and Arts Research (BCAR).

Known by the BCAR as ‘cultural and creative activity’, the sector relates to the arts, media, heritage, design, fashion and information technology.

The BCAR’s new working paper, Cultural and creative activity in Australia 2008-09 to 2016-17, shows a 30 percent increase in the value of such activity, from $86 billion in 2008-09 to $111.7 billion in 2016-17. 

This equates to 6.4 percent of Australia’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2016-17.

The working paper tracks annual growth in cultural and creative activity, based on data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

A BCAR spokesperson said the analysis measures the economic activity driven by cultural and creative industries as well as the wages received from cultural and creative occupations. It identifies how this activity has evolved over time, the drivers of change and how it contributes to Australia’s overall economy.

Activities contributing the most to the economy were design ($42.8 billion), fashion ($14.2 billion), and broadcasting, electronic or digital media and film ($9.7 billion) in 2016-17.

Design has experienced significant growth over the past decade, driven mainly by computer system design and related services.

www.communications.gov.au/bcar

ends

EXTRA >>

Watch the animation 

THE team behind the landmark ABC-backed documentary David Stratton’s Stories of Australian Cinema received an International Emmy Award nomination in 2018.

The three-part series, broadcast on the ABC in 2017, was nominated for the 2018 International Emmy for Arts Programming, which recognises the world’s best programs dedicated to an art form or artist. The International Academy of Television Arts and Sciences in New York announced the nominees. The winners were announced on November 19 and the winner of this section was Israeli film Etgar Keret: Based on a True Story.

“I’m thrilled that Stories of Australian Cinema has received this most prestigious nomination,” cinephile David Stratton said. “Congratulations to Sally Aitken, the writer and director, Jo-anne McGowan and Jennifer Peedom, the producers, and to the ABC for supporting this series, which was more than anything else a tribute to the richness, talent and variety of Australian films and filmmakers.” 

David Stratton’s Stories of Australian Cinema was featured on ABC iview late last year, along with the classic Australian films Careful He Might Hear You, Lantana, Walkabout, My Brilliant Career and Wake In Fright.

In David Stratton’s Stories of Australian Cinema, the revered film critic and former co-host of the ABC’s At the Movies focuses on the films that capture the nation’s true nature with candour, emotion and humour.

Joining him in sharing this story are actors including  Nicole Kidman, Judy Davis, Russell Crowe and Jacki Weaver, along with directors Gillian Armstrong, George Miller, Fred Schepisi, Bruce Beresford, David Michod, Rachel Perkins and Warwick Thornton.

Running through the documentary is the acknowledgement that Australian cinema has contributed to a greater understanding of Indigenous Australia, through films such as Jedda, Walkabout, Rabbit Proof Fence and Bran Nue Dae.

David Stratton’s Stories of Australian Cinema was produced by Stranger Than Fiction Films for the ABC, with the support of Screen Australia, Screen NSW and in association with the Adelaide Film Festival. The series was written and directed by Sally Aitken and produced by Jo-anne McGowan and Jennifer Peedom.

www.abc.net.au

ends

THE ABC, Hoodlum Entertainment and Disney-owned ABC Studios International are backing a second season of Harrowafter its critically-acclaimed and popular first season.

Starring Ioan Gruffudd as forensic pathologist Doctor Daniel Harrow, 10 new episodes of the crime drama will begin filming in South East Queensland in September.

ABC’s head of drama, comedy and indigenous, Sally Riley said,  “Harrow has been an incredible launch to our drama slate this year with ABC audiences loving the cast and the stunning Queensland locations. 

“It is performing brilliantly for us on broadcast and on our video on demand service iview. We look forward to continuing the adventures in season two.”

It has won praise internationally too.

“We’re thrilled with the overwhelming response to Harrow and to our incredible star, Ioan Gruffudd as Dr Daniel Harrow,” said Keli Lee, ABC Studios International managing director.

“We’ve put together an amazing cast and a stellar crew, and we’re looking forward to more of Dr Harrow and his exciting story.”

Hoodlum Entertainment’s Tracey Robertson said, “We have been so thrilled with the response to the show and it is very exciting to bring the wonderful Ioan Gruffudd and our other fabulous cast and crew back home to Brisbane for a second series.”

Harrow was co-created by writer Stephen M. Irwin (Australia Day, Wake in Fright, Secrets & Lies) and Leigh McGrath (Australia Day, Secrets & Lies, Strange Calls), and will again be produced by Hoodlum Entertainment’s Tracey Robertson and Nathan Mayfield.

“Ioan is the star of Harrow but best supporting actor belongs to Brisbane,” Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said. “Anyone who hasn’t seen Harrow hasn’t seen our backyard shown off in such a spectacular way.”

The series was the first drama production for the Disney-owned ABC Studios International, and Disney Media Distribution will license international rights. The series has also been supported by Screen Queensland and ABC is the domestic broadcaster.

www.abc.net.au

www.hoodlum.com.au

ends

DANIELLE LARKIN has shifted the goal posts with her d+k activewear range. For a start, she is playing a ‘home’ game.

Right from the kick-off, each piece within her brand has been 100 percent designed, produced and delivered from the one warehouse, based in Queensland.

At just 27 years old, Danielle Larkin is bringing ‘beautifully crafted’ disruption to Australia’s massive - and growing - activewear industry. 

Though just 18 months old, her activewear brand d+k has already experienced 257 percent growth in the last six months, with the company positioned to surpass those figures again in 2019.

While the style, functionality and overall aesthetic certainly play an intrinsic role in this success, it is d+k’s significant points of difference that have helped it gain so much traction in such a short time in what is currently one of our most competitive industries.

 “Originally I had planned to get everything manufactured off shore,” Ms Larkin said. “However I wasn’t happy with the standards that I found overseas, so from both an ethical and a business standpoint, the only option that remained for me was to start doing it on my own, right here in Australia.

“That’s when the real journey began. I found an amazing patternmaker, built a great Aussie team, and here we are today.” 

She said d+k was committed to making a difference in the future of sustainable clothing, with each piece proudly made from quality materials ranging from Italian lycra to organic bamboo, incorporating recycled content where possible.

Of course form and functionality are also paramount, with each piece thoughtfully conceived, tried, and tested. Moisture wicking, quick dry, stretch technology, ultra-breathability, muscular support and UV protection are also integrated with these subtle, yet essential, textile details designed to support the wearer no matter their shape or chosen activity level.

“That’s another reason why I started the label,” Ms Larkin said. “I felt that the fitness industry needed to focus on choosing internal wellbeing and self-love, rather than trying to look a certain way or adhere to a certain fitness regime. We want our pieces to make all people feel good. To make them feel strong, supported and comfortable.

“When designing, I work with the shape of the body, and I really take the time to think about how people move and feel in their clothing, and what I can do to make that a better and more positive experience for them.”

This ethos, has also led to d+k’s brand philosophy, she said, “Be Bold. Be Brave. Be You.” 

ends

PRODUCTION funding for Babyteeth, a bittersweet comedy feature film starring Ben Mendelsohn (Ready Player OneAnimal Kingdom) and Essie Davis (Game of ThronesThe Babadook), has been announced by Screen Australia.

Making her feature film directional debut is Shannon Murphy, interpreting a script based on the successful play by Rita Kalnejais. Babyteeth will be produced by Alex White and executive produced by Jan Chapman (Bright StarThe Piano). Create NSW is also investing in the title, with Australian distribution by Entertainment One (eOne) and international sales by Celluloid Dreams.  

“I’m delighted to be working with such a strong and gifted female team in producer, Alex White and director Shannon Murphy interpreting Rita Kalnejais’ vivid, insightful and funny screenplay about how precious life is,” executive producer Jan Chapman said.

“We so appreciate the support of Screen Australia, Create NSW, WeirAnderson.com and Spectrum Films along with our distributor Entertainment One for Australia and international sales agent Celluloid Dreams, whose imaginations Babyteeth captured and who were all essential in enabling Rita’s fresh and original voice to move to production.

“To have Ben and Essie illuminate that voice is perfect.”

Babyteeth is the first feature for Australian development and production company Whitefalk Films following the success of short films Trespass (winner of Best Australian Short Film, MIFF 2017) and Florence Has Left the Building (winner of Best Short Film at the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Awards 2015). 

What might have been a disaster for the Finlay family leads to letting go and finding grace in the glorious chaos of life, as the script unfolds Henry (Mendelsohn) and Anna (Davis) realising to their horror that their seriously ill teenage daughter, Milla, has fallen madly in love with a drug dealer, Moses.

This romance is Milla’s protective parents’ worst nightmare – but Milla doesn’t want to play it safe anymore. Things get messy and morals go out the window, as the lives of those around the family – their disarmingly honest pregnant neighbour, a brilliantly flawed music teacher, a child violin prodigy and Moses’ family – become intertwined.

“I first saw Rita Kalnejais’ humorous and profoundly moving play Babyteeth at Sydney’s Belvoir Street Theatre in 2012 with executive producer Jan Chapman,” producer Alex White said.

 “Rita’s exquisitely delicate examination of the life of a teenage girl and the people who constellate her was a life-affirming experience. It felt like the perfect work to be translated to screen.”

Sally Caplan, Screen Australia’s head of production said, “The combination of distinguished experience, top cast and dynamic emerging talent bodes well for this distinctive, emotionally challenging, but darkly funny and affirming screenplay.

“This film will resonate with Australian and international audiences. We are excited to see Shannon Murphy make her feature film debut, having worked on some impressive and popular television dramas including Love Child and Offspring.”

Grainne Brunsdon, acting executive director of Create NSW said, “Babyteeth made its stage debut at Sydney’s Belvoir in 2012, and we are delighted that Create NSW is involved in bringing the production to the screen with such a high calibre of talent involved.

“It is particularly pleasing to see a great female creative team on board, including Academy Award nominee Jan Chapman and AFTRS graduate Shannon Murphy and that this film promotes emerging talent with Alex White following her impressive start with short filmmaking."

Babyteeth is a Whitefalk Films production with major production investment from Screen Australia in association with Create NSW, and was financed with the support of WeirAnderson.com, Whitefalk Films, Jan Chapman Films and Spectrum Films.

It was developed by Whitefalk Films in association with Katherine Slattery and Jan Chapman with the assistance of Screen Australia, Create NSW and Waking Dream Productions. Australia/New Zealand distribution through Entertainment One and international through Celluloid Dreams.

Entertainment One Ltd (LSE:ETO) is a global independent studio that specialises in the development, acquisition, production, financing, distribution and sales of entertainment content. The company’s diversified expertise spans across film, television and music production and sales, family programming, merchandising and licensing, and digital content. Through its global reach and expansive scale, powered by deep local market knowledge, the Company delivers the best content to the world.

Entertainment One’s robust network includes newly-launched Makeready with Brad Weston; content creation venture Amblin Partners with Steven Spielberg, DreamWorks Studios, Participant Media, and Reliance Entertainment; leading feature film production and global sales company Sierra Pictures; unscripted television production company Renegade 83; world-class music labels Dualtone Music Group and Last Gang; and award-winning digital agency Secret Location.

The company’s rights library is exploited across all media formats and includes more than 80,000 hours of film and television content and approximately 40,000 music tracks.

Celluloid Dreams has been at the forefront of international sales, production, and financing of quality independent films for more than 30 years. Its Directors Label stands for the discovery and subsequent promotion of a large number of the most important, awarded and respected film directors of our times, the ‘future classics’.

Celluloid Dreams Cannes line-up includes Jafar Panahi’s 3 Faces competing for the Palme d’Or, School’s Out by Sébastien Marnier starring Elle’s Laurent Lafitte, Why Are We Creative?, a documentary by Hermann Vaske who spent 30 years asking world famous celebrities ‘why are you creative?’.

www.screenaustralia.gov.au

ends

Contact Us

 

PO Box 2144
MANSFIELD QLD 4122