The workplace is becoming just like that old 1970s Martini slogan – ‘any time, any place, anywhere’. Technology has given us the means to work whenever and wherever we please.

So, it’s not surprising that many people are setting up office in the comfort of their favourite café.

  • A café is a great meeting place.
  • It’s less formal than the company boardroom.
  • It’s ideal for professionals who don’t have space in their own office.

Just don’t take advantage of the café owners – here’s a short guide to c’office etiquette.

  • Charge your laptop before you go to the c’office - use battery power so you don’t trail power leads lying along the café floor.
  • Order something – preferably something to eat and drink.
  • Work quietly - mute your laptop and whatever you do, don’t Skype.
  • Be discreet - setting up a full blown power point presentation will unnerve fellow diners and annoy the café owner.
  • Don’t rearrange the furniture - especially without permission.
  • Say ‘thank you’ to the café staff - if you’ve been there for hours, it’s the least you can do.

Tell us how your company makes it easy for customers to conduct their business the Martini way and we’ll enter you into the draw to win a Prezzy Card*.

*Terms and conditions apply.
Rowena Chin had never been into wearing jewellery, she’d never really given it any thought, until a health problem made her think about a new work direction and a job that didn’t require going to the office every day.

Even then, jewellery making wasn’t an obvious choice. It was only after a friend invited her along to a jewellery-making ‘taster’ course that the penny dropped.

“To my surprise, I absolutely loved it,” she says. “And I knew instantly that this was going to be my new direction. I did a crash course and away I went.”

Rowena started working from home, designing and making exquisite pieces of jewellery from freshwater pearls and Swarovski crystals and telling friends, family and everyone else she knew about her business.

That was nearly seven years ago and Rowena is still working from home.

“It really suits me,” she says. “I have my work space at home and I have my office and then, if I’m doing an event, I can turn the living room into my own venue. I can set up how I like – and I don’t have to pay any hire fees.”

Around six times a year Rowena invites her clients to her house. She sets up shop and provides drinks and nibbles for her guests to enjoy.

“It’s a bit like having my own personal pop-up shop and all at my own convenience. And what makes it work is that people are now open to making purchases in places other than your typical a high street store.”

Off to the c’office? Make sure you abide by the c’office code of conduct - coming up in our next blog. Be one of the first to receive it by signing up to our email updates.

Online – essential for Discover Kids

Monday, August 15, 2011

When former editor of redline magazine, Louisa Picker, decided to start her own childcare business she knew she’d need to be visible online right from the word ‘go’.

Deciding on the location of her business was easy – she wanted to be at home with her own young son. So, registering with in-home childcare provider Porse and making her house child-friendly for several other young children to play, sleep and learn in proved the perfect option.

But before Louisa launched her new venture, Discover Kids, she made sure that she had her website at the ready, using Google sites to design it herself.

“Having a website was crucial for me,” says Louisa. “I know that the first thing I do when I come across a new company is check them out online. I think this is something that most people do. I didn’t want to start telling people about Discover Kids before I had some information out there.”

Louisa says her website gives her business:
  • credibility,
  • a personal touch,
  • a sense of warmth, friendliness and honesty – essentials for many parents checking out childcare providers for their young children.
It’s still early days for Louisa’s new business but within one month of setting up she was already at full capacity and now has a waiting list. So far, everyone who’s contacted her checked out her website first -

Next week we talk with home-based company RO Design Jewellery.
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Where do you work?

Monday, August 8, 2011

We were interested to find out where children’s clothing company Smudge Clothing has ‘set up shop’.

A year ago, Jemma Stark, owner of children’s clothing company Smudge, discovered a ‘pop up’ shop in Wellington. It was one of the first in the city and the concept made perfect sense to her as a small business owner working from home and mostly selling online.

Pop-up shops are where a group of retailers pull together to turn empty retail space into a temporary shop. While each shop is only in-situ for about four-six weeks, the organisers decorate and furnish the space and create an atmosphere conducive to browsing and buying.

For Jemma the pop-up shops are one step up from markets and craft fairs (which she also attends) and provide her with another means of getting her goods out there, without having to man the stall all day since each seller takes turns to be in the shop.

Other advantages of pop-up shops include:
  • not having to pay rental costs and other overheads such as power bills, and
  • typically, paying a percentage of sales or a minimum one-off fee.
So far, Jemma has participated in three pop-up design stores and is currently working on new stock for another two this year – one in September, coinciding with the World of Wearable Arts show and another in the run up to Christmas.

In our next blog we talk to former redline editor, Louisa Picker, about her new work location and why an online presence was important for her business.

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Nigel Dalton, Deputy Director of Digital at Lonely Planet says businesses have to embrace social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter – because that’s were 600 million customers hang out.

He says that if businesses want to thrive they have to ‘get’ technology and understand social media and smart phone apps, but acknowledges that the speed of change can be a challenge and many companies can get caught out.

“Not so long ago, product life cycles used to be years. Now they can be months, weeks or days. For example, Lonely Planet can launch an iPhone travel app in the iTunes app store and it’ll disappear among the 13,000 other apps within a day.”

Nigel says there will always be challenges in business, and there will always be change. This is what keeps you on your toes and your business running. Listening to your customers will help you develop and fine-tune your products and services – and the way you communicate.

In our next blog we find out how the boundaries of the traditional office have shifted – and ask Jemma Stark, owner of Smudge Clothing, where works she works.