New Zealand’s dollar debate, Australians have been there

The hand wringing over the fate of the New Zealand dollar is a debate we in Australia know very well. We’ve been having it over our own currency for the last few years at increasing volume and with growing urgency.

Australia has yet to arrive at a clear solution, but it has encouraged important conversations. One is the need to redeploy labour from dying industries into new areas of growth. Another is how to encourage students into a vocational education with skills that Australia will need in years to come. And  then there is the critical need to develop expertise in niche areas that cannot easily be replicated in other markets, beyond mining.

What does your business do that makes it worth paying more for? What is your unique positioning that will help you withstand fluctuations in the dollar? If you’re not sure, you need to find out…

Navigating fashion’s rocky retail road

Many Australian fashion brands have packed it in, either by choice or by economic force. Last year that list included Collette Dinnigan, Lisa Ho, Kirilly Johnson and T.L. Wood. Just one week into 2014, George Gross and Harry Who have called it a day. There will be more casualties.

So as the year begins and I return to my office in the boutique-shopping strip of Melbourne’s Hawskburn, I’m genuinely concerned for Australian, and also New Zealand, fashion brands, and in particular labels at the premium end.

One designer that I feel nervous for is Trelise Cooper, one of New Zealand’s best-known fashion exports to Australia…