De­bra Usher Ed­i­to­rial

Pub­lisher & CEO

Arabella - - CONTENTS -

To start 2015 I think we need to first apol­o­gize. We have to ad­mit that this is­sue of ARA­BELLA is ob­vi­ously stuck some­where be­tween Win­ter 2014 and Spring 2015. From the emails we re­ceive we know that many of you are ea­ger to re­ceive “the next is­sue”. ARA­BELLA can be­come a lit­tle bit like an ad­dic­tion – but a nice one. So when we get a lit­tle be­hind in meet­ing ex­pec­ta­tions we un­der­stand that there is a cer­tain amount of frus­tra­tion. I do want to be clear though that in com­bin­ing our 2014 Win­ter is­sue with our 2015 Spring is­sue this will in no way af­fect sub­scrip­tions as they are based more on the num­ber of is­sues rather than what we man­age to pro­duce an­nu­ally. Well I think any good apol­ogy re­ally de­serves an ex­pla­na­tion – hope­fully not to be taken as an ‘ex­cuse’ be­cause we re­ally are try­ing to meet our com­mit­ments. How­ever, like many other mag­a­zines we have a clear de­pen­dence on ad­ver­tis­ing rev­enue to sup­port our cre­ative, print­ing, and dis­tri­bu­tion func­tions. Given the cost struc­tures in our dis­tri­bu­tion chain there re­ally isn’t a lot of rev­enue com­ing back to us through book­store and sub­scrip­tion sales. Not enough to un­der­write the ma­jor costs in­volved in the busi­ness. Ev­ery­thing de­pends on ad­ver­tis­ing and with eco­nomic con­di­tions im­pact­ing our ad­ver­tis­ers and their de­ci­sions, we some­times find our­selves un­able to meet our pro­duc­tion goals within our planned sched­ule. Be­lieve me we try, but when ev­ery­one seems to be be­hind in mak­ing de­ci­sions there’s re­ally no point in try­ing to force the is­sue. We pre­fer to main­tain healthy and pro­duc­tive re­la­tion­ships with all those who part­ner with us in our ven­ture. At the same time, in de­vel­op­ing ed­i­to­rial for an is­sue, our goal is to al­ways present a read­ing ex­pe­ri­ence that is truly unique and an en­gag­ing jour­ney into the world of art, ar­chi­tec­ture and de­sign. The right blend of ar­ti­cles is a crit­i­cally im­por­tant as­pect of the jour­ney. It’s what drives our Edi­tor-in-chief. Our goal is al­ways to pro­vide read­ers with an ex­quis­ite read­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. To do so we feel our pri­or­ity is to as­sem­ble and pro­duce qual­ity ed­i­to­rial that cap­ti­vates again and again. If it takes a lit­tle longer to bring all the right pieces to­gether, then we hope that the end re­sult jus­ti­fies the de­lay. With this Win­ter 2014-Spring 2015 is­sue we are pleased to em­pha­size all three of our con­tent ar­eas – per­haps best ex­em­pli­fied by our cover. Good art de­serves a great con­text and great ar­chi­tec­ture pro­vides an en­vi­ron­men­tal frame. Wherein both the art and the de­sign fea­tures of the phys­i­cal lay­out, struc­ture, light­ing, fur­ni­ture, and land­scap­ing all re­in­force each other and en­hance the living ex­pe­ri­ence for the present and years to come. We hope we’ve pulled off yet an­other beau­ti­ful read­ing ex­pe­ri­ence – let us know. As al­ways your feed­back means a lot.

Look­ing Ahead to Spring

This past win­ter has cer­tainly re­minded many parts of North Amer­ica that na­ture has its vari­abil­ity and can at times be quite ex­treme. But win­ter has a

way of en­cour­ag­ing re­flec­tion of what has been and what lies ahead with the com­ing of spring. With the com­ing of the New Year it’s a time of tak­ing stock and de­ter­min­ing once again how we might best im­prove our lives. With seem­ingly record snow­falls and cold here in St. An­drews and the rest of New Brunswick, I think a lot of us are re­vis­it­ing our heat­ing and in­su­la­tion re­quire­ments along with our sup­ply of shov­els and fire­wood. Good com­pan­ion­ship around the fire and the din­ner ta­ble has car­ried us through the cold nights while thoughts of the com­ing golf sea­son at the Al­go­nquin keep us mov­ing for­ward to spring. As I re­flect on the many ways in which I might im­prove my game I’m also drawn to con­sider our jour­ney with ARA­BELLA - where we’ve been and where we are go­ing. As we are ap­proach­ing our eighth year this com­ing July it’s great to think of all we have ac­com­plished. We’ve clearly es­tab­lished the ARA­BELLA brand na­tion­ally and in­ter­na­tion­ally through print and dig­i­tal sales. We’ve re­al­ized our com­mit­ment to present Canadian cre­ative tal­ent to the widest pos­si­ble au­di­ence and it’s still grow­ing. I be­lieve Deb and her team have ex­celled in pro­vid­ing in-depth, vis­ually com­pelling in­sights into the best of art, res­i­den­tial ar­chi­tec­ture, land­scap­ing, in­te­rior de­sign and luxury life­style prod­ucts and ser­vices. We have had the ben­e­fit of sup­port from some ex­cel­lent ad­ver­tis­ers and writ­ers in each of th­ese ar­eas. As I in­di­cated above, feed­back is im­por­tant and our read­ers tell us again and again that ARA­BELLA of­fers a spe­cial read­ing ex­pe­ri­ence un­matched by any other pub­li­ca­tion. For that we are proud. We have suc­ceeded in cre­at­ing orig­i­nal, ex­cep­tional in-depth nar­ra­tive and vis­ual fea­tures that take read­ers on an artis­tic and en­gag­ing jour­ney that lasts well be­yond a quick scan and be­comes a last­ing trea­sure. Just to il­lus­trate, we’ve in­cluded some tes­ti­mo­ni­als on our web site just to give a flavour of the com­ments we re­ceive. We’re also proud to say that ARA­BELLA has set a new stan­dard for mag­a­zines. As you read through th­ese pages see if you don’t agree that it is quite sim­ply the most beau­ti­ful and com­pelling mag­a­zine for show­cas­ing the ex­cep­tional art, ar­chi­tec­ture, and fab­u­lous de­sign prod­ucts and ser­vices avail­able to Canadian and US con­sumers. With this plat­form we have been able to ex­pand the aware­ness of Canadian Art, Ar­chi­tec­ture & De­sign to a much larger au­di­ence. For our ad­ver­tis­ers we’ve pro­vided ac­cess to a wider mar­ket of art col­lec­tors and luxury item con­sumers. Di­rect store vis­its, tele­phone and email in­quiries are all up, and in many cases we are able to sig­nif­i­cantly in­crease sales. Given the prod­uct and ser­vices cat­e­gories we rep­re­sent of­ten the sale of just one luxury item more than jus­ti­fies the in­vest­ment in a mar­ket­ing pro­gram in the mag­a­zine. So there is much we have achieved, but af­ter seven years we’ve also come to re­al­ize that in or­der to do more and do it more re­li­ably we need to grow in terms of our staffing. This isn’t an un­usual sit­u­a­tion for a small busi­ness with a small ded­i­cated team. Given the solid prod­uct we have de­vel­oped we are con­fi­dent that with more re­sources in our cre­ative depart­ment, mar­ket­ing and sales, fi­nance, web devel­op­ment, and public re­la­tions we can do so much more to re­al­ize our mission and vi­sion. We’re at a tran­si­tion point which will all de­pend on our abil­ity to ac­quire the added fi­nan­cial re­sources for build­ing our team ca­pa­bil­i­ties. With this in mind, over the next year we hope we can at­tract a se­lect group of in­vestors who share our pas­sion and help us build some much needed in­fra­struc­ture to over­come the chal­lenges of run­ning a very lean and tight ship. Across the coun­try we hear from read­ers who share our pas­sion for telling the story of Canadian art, ar­chi­tec­ture and de­sign; we now need to hear from peo­ple who wish to con­trib­ute to the growth of the busi­ness through their ex­per­tise and fi­nan­cial acu­men. It’s an in­ter­est­ing point in our his­tory and we wel­come any­one in­ter­ested in en­ter­ing into th­ese dis­cus­sions. In the mean­time, I wish you an early spring and a great sum­mer.


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