I am outraged.

Australian Post is cutting 900 jobs while paying its boss $4.8 million salary. Is this fair? I don’t think so. For the life of me, I simply cannot understand why the executives of big companies are paid millions in salary every year. In this case, Ahmed Fahour (the head of AusPost) is paid more than the bosses of Woolworths, Fairfax, David Jones etc. When compared to his international peers, the difference is more remarkable. Ahmed is paid more than 10 times what his US counterpart is paid.

“Fahour’s salary isn’t merely high, it’s completely off the scale.”

According to the Australian Council of Trade Unions,

“The average total remuneration of a chief executive of a top 50 company listed on the Australian Securities Exchange in 2010 is $6.4 million – or almost 100 times that of the average worker.”

I am outraged. 

Why I am not opening a shop front

I’m sick today. Headache. Staying at home. It makes me believe that my recent decision to not open a shop front is the right decision.

About two weeks ago, I started contemplating the possibility of opening a shop front in Canberra for Oz Fair Trade. It will be decorated with all sustainable furniture, and it will serve fairtrade coffee, tea and snacks. The walls will be painted with eco-friendly paint. It will be a place for socially conscious people to hang out and find great gifts for themselves and their loved ones. I had a vision and it felt great.

I started looking for retail leases. Two options jumped out at me. One was a shop in Bailey’s Corner facing London Circuit with a big window. It’s asking $40,000 p.a.. The other was a similar sized shop in Gold Creek opposite Cockington Green, asking for $18,000 p.a.. I really liked the shop in Gold Creek, and the rent seemed to be affordable.


My excitement lasted until I crunched some numbers and brainstormed likely problems I’ll face. The biggest issues arise from being a single business owner. No one will open the shop when I’m sick, like today. But the rent will still need to be paid. I will have no free weekends, because the shop’s financial survival will depend heavily on weekend sales. I will no longer be able to visit my inter-state parents and friends. I will no longer be able to do a trip. I will have to rely on hiring or give up work for two days a week, unless I can find volunteers to mind the shop for me. All these sacrifices though won’t bring in much profit, especially given the current gloomy outlook of Canberra’s economy.

So even though opening a shop front would be wonderful, it doesn’t make financial sense. Friends who have tried told me that it’s not worth it. The alternative of e-commerce involves much lower fixed cost and much more flexibility. Like today, when I’m not feeling well, I can still write a blog and dispatch orders. But I will struggle to mind a shop.

Even a shop won’t generate much sales during the week, which means the rent is not divided by 7 days but more like 4 days or less. Financially it can’t compete with market stalls, where rent is considerably cheaper. As a registered charity, I even get free market stalls sometimes. The downside of market stalls include set up and pack up time, limited stocks for display, and dependence on weather condition. However, the financial stress of opening a shop is far greater than the downsides of operating a market stall.

I still hope that more sales will come through the website, so that I can manage it with a full time job. I realised however that e-commerce is not easy. Despite all my efforts, I still don’t get much traffic. This is why I considered opening a shop. I think many people still prefer seeing and feeling a product before making a purchase. Moreover, having a shop will give credibility to the business, and put it in front of more people. I liked the shop in Gold Creek because most customers will be tourists, so I hoped that they would help spread the word and visit the online shop down the track. I also loved the atmosphere in Gold Creek, and that it’s close to home.

Perhaps one day I will open a shop, if I can find a team of volunteers who can mind the shop when I’m at work, away or sick. That would be wonderful. I think Gold Creek is the perfect place to open a shop. It is so relaxing and pretty. If I’m rich enough to not having to work, then I would definitely open a shop there, drinking fairtrade tea and be surrounded by pretty things and wonderful people all day long.

The Entrepreneur Interview: Catalina Girald, Founder and CEO of Naja Lingerie

An inspirational woman and a fantastic brand. Love it.


CatalinaCatalina Girald is founder and CEO of Naja, a San Francisco-based lingerie company that launched in December 2013 and aims to create luxe-looking undergarments for women at mass-market prices. Girald launched Naja with $100,000 and says her lingerie is for “women who aren’t afraid to speak their minds.” Girald was an attorney before pursuing her MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business, class of 2006. She talks with us about The Art of War, how a startup is like a manual-transmission car, and what it’s like to start a business at the age of 5.

In 10 words or fewer, what is the big idea behind your business?

Delivering luxury lingerie at fair prices while empowering women.

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?

Andy Grove was my professor in business school and he used to take me on walks. He has been a mentor ever since…

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How sugru is changing the world

The Happy Startup School – A better way to build a startup


Jane ní Dhulchaointigh is the inventor and CEO of sugru. An innovative new self setting rubber for fixing, sealing and modifying just about anything. She began her startup journey back in 2003 whilst studying for her masters in Product Design. She was tired of having to buy new things when her stuff got a bit broken. In most cases all it needed was for something simple to seal or mould around the broken possession.

In the current climate, mending things makes obvious sense besides buying new, and Jane began to think – what if everyone else had the same sense of frustration? What if there came a miracle little product on the market that fixed things simply? Saving everyone time and money, and salvaging the products people have had for years, whilst minimising wastefulness. This was her eureka moment. 


She got her sketchbook out and started imagining a world with a miracle…

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The Shop Fair Trade Workshop

Sally is a passionate Fair Trade advocate, and here’s her great blog about how everyone can support the Fair Trade movement!


Hi There and welcome to ‘The Shop Fair Trade Workshop on using Blogging and Social Media to Promote Fair Trade’. That’s a bit of a mouth full isn’t it!

In this workshop post I will be explaining a little more about;

– Who ‘Shop Fair Trade’ is.

– How you can also be a fair trade advocate using a blog or other forms of social media.

– Introduce you to another amazing fair trade blogger.

– Show you how to highlight products that you love and share information about fair trade to others in a creative way.

– And Finally Challenge you to upload your own posts or give you an opportunity to ask any questions that you may have.

First lets start with this:


This photo came up in my newsfeed on Facebook recently and made me smile. If you haven’t tried all these programs or forms of social…

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