Debra Usher Editorial
Publisher & CEO
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.