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Monday, June 20, 2011

A Quiet Publishing Success

Nicola Smith
John Hawkins, photo
Small New Zealand publisher seizes opportunities

In today's Dominion Post there is an uplifting story by Jenny Keown about the "super-woman entrepreneur" who is more generally known by the name of Nicola Smith.

In the year 2000, the Invercargill mother of four (all under the age of eight) started up a publishing business in her laundry.

How on earth did she manage that?  By being single-minded, she says.

Her business, co-owned with Christchurch-based Geraldine Sloane, and called Essential Resources, specializes in publishing supplementary teaching materials.

The laundry was chosen because it was the quietest room in the house, apparently.  It was there that Nicola and Geraldine taught themselves the basics of building a website, using graphic design software, and the mundane processes of producing books.

Their plan was simple -- to work with the best teachers they could find, to produce the best supplementary material in the field.  In 2004, having at last made a profit, they invested in a trip to the Frankfurt Book Fair.  An excellent move, as since then their export business has really taken off, with exports sales increasing by over 100% per year..

Today their head office is in Invercargill, employing 22 staff to service clients in New Zealand, Australia, Great Britain and Ireland. Another two staff work in Christchurch, where Geraldine oversees the publishing side of things.  They have contracts with 85 authors, or more, and have published over 450 titles, adding about 60 to their list every year.

Read the story for a fascinating Q & A with Nicola Smith.

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