The PANZ Mentorship programme, funded by Copyright Licensing New Zealand, allows for business owners or heads of publishing houses to access a skilled mentor over a period of six months. The most recent pair up to make the most of this scheme are Beatnik’s Sally Greer, mentored by former HarperCollins NZ MD Tony Fisk.
The imprint produces beautifully designed books on an eclectic range of subjects from food to cafe culture, fashion to poetry.
Sally, a designer, photographer and illustrator, began Beatnik Books more than eight years ago, as a development of her design studio. She applied for the mentorship via a mention of the scheme in PANZ News. “I’ve been aware that I jumped into publishing with minimal managerial experience,” she says. “I needed access to a higher level of skill. It was a case of ‘I don’t know what I don’t know.’
“Tony’s input gave me a great lift of confidence in running my business.
“His help was not with any particular books but in general business management, breaking things down into parts and finding out what we can do. As a result, we now have a structure and do a lot more planning and forecasting. We bounce decisions around, but make them on more information and there is more organisation.”
Tony Fisk says he and Sally met in person once a month, or by Skype in one instance. “The process was to do a SWOT analysis on the Beatnik business, and this alone threw up some opportunities. I helped Sally develop goals both personally and professionally, and then we planned to achieve those goals, making improvements and developing action plans,” says Tony, who also volunteers in Whangarei for Business Mentors NZ.
“The whole point of mentoring is that you don’t actually do the process for the business or person you are mentoring. You just guide, and the person being mentored has to make decisions and act on them.”
“Beatnik is producing lovely books,” says Tony. The market agrees and Beatnik has received many awards for its books, including the Scholastic New Zealand Award for Best Children’s Book at the PANZ Book Design Awards 2015 for I am Doodle Cat by Lauren Marriott and Kat Patrick. Lining up for their share of the Christmas market are WHOLE: Recipes for Simple Wholefood Eating by Bronwyn Kan, The Game Chef by Angelo Georgalli, and The Caker by Jordan Rondel.
The raw food phenomenon will be Beatnik’s sure success for next Mother’s Day with Olivia Scott’s The Raw Kitchen bringing over 100 amazing recipes to nourish from breakfast to dinner, entertaining to drinks. In the meantime they will be publishing Golden Month by Jenny Allison in February, an invaluable guide for mothers in the crucial weeks after giving birth. For March we can look forward to Three Words: An Anthology of Aotearoa / NZ Women’s Comics.