Aside from her practice as a coach/advisor/mentor Alison is researching for the development and implementation of automated (technologically driven) processes for the sustainable business practice of creatives and/or micro/small business/self employed.
AS Good NZ Limited is a Social Enterprise. By utilising Alison Steiner’s skills and experience, AS Good NZ provides professional advice in a socially responsible way, including business strategy and development, budgeting and accounting, marketing and fundraising with referrals to specialists as required. Creatively connecting for equitable creative, social and economic outcomes.
AS Good clients are primarily creatives, women, young people or those from minority backgrounds with a focus on self-employed or small business operators.
For more details click on About tab
Alison (Mellsop) Steiner has worked in the Creative Industries for over 25 years, spanning film, fashion, and through to visual arts, craft and design. Graduating with a B Com in 1993, Alison’s interest in the creative sector quickly grew as she wanted to contribute to New Zealand society and economy, and she felt support in the creative sector was potentially inadequate from a commercial perspective. (Note: Alison acknowledges not all creative endeavours, as with social, need to be commercial but an economic perspective can help develop sustainable practice).
Throughout the 25 years, Alison’s career and experience has straddled private, community and tertiary organisations. It has ranged from formulating business plans, to promoting and selling New Zealand art to corporates and overseas, through to art gallery ownership, project managing public art shows, ceramics and glass award development and presentation, undertaking a range of research projects including a feasibility study for a visual arts festival, raising funding, sponsorship, and business ownership/management of a creative practice. Relevant to small business, Alison’s duties included business management and development, including marketing and financial management, business planning and strategy, and staff management, along with commercial property ownership and management.
Her desire to broaden her contribution to society and economy, utilise her experience, and build on her awareness of economic development, social justice, equity and equality, led Alison to undertake a Grad Dip Arts in Education and Economic Development. In 2020, she set up AS Good NZ, a social enterprise to offer coaching, mentoring, small business planning, budgeting, and implementation. The aim of AS Good NZ is to support the development of sustainable business practice for creatives and/or low-income earners and to grow income, both for small businesses or self-employed.
Some of Alison’s recent clients have included a glass artist, ceramic artist/designer, yoga instructor, performance artist, graphic designer, photographer, jewellery artist, home repairs and maintenance, and a videographer/sound engineer.
She is also in the process of initiating a community hub in Kingsland for creative, social, cultural and/or economic wellbeing. Both have the potential to support and/or address inequity/inequality for transformational change.
Alison’s personal and business philosophy, similarly AS Good NZ Ltd’s, includes whanaungatanga (connection) and manaakitanga (respect, unity) with authenticity and integrity.
AS Good NZ is mindful of and has an objective to contribute toward the UN Sustainable Development Goals, particularly –
Which would then support,
In the Kingsland Community Alison helped to initiate:
“The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.”
― Franklin D. Roosevelt
10% of all pre-tax profits will be deposited in to a microfinance facility to enable AS Good NZ clients to borrow from when no other viable option is available. This will be verified by the company accountant at the end of financial year.
Upon graduating from the University of Auckland in 1993, with a Bachelor of Commerce Degree (Marketing and Economics), Alison sought opportunities to work with and for New Zealand oriented companies, with the aim of growing income from New Zealand made products and services. During the 1993 year, Alison completed an International Marketing Diploma to formalise her understanding of the concepts of Export Marketing. Throughout 1993/94 she worked as a consultant on various export related research and business projects and then started working for an Engineering company in a role to support the export of New Zealand engineered product.
During this time Alison connected with a gallery owner and her interest in the creative sector grew. In 1994, Alison completed a self-initiated plan to research and develop an arts marketing business. While in this phase she became aware of a new government-initiated Arts Marketing Board, AMBA, so she knew she was on to something.
Although she was not resourced to develop a business on a large scale, Alison was able to start a small company called Art NZ Limited, with the support of exhibition company owner Andy Hobbs. At the same time, Alison purchased a shareholding in an art gallery, Art by the Sea, then located on King Edward Parade in Devonport. The Art NZ concept was to market the artists and creatives, who supplied artwork to Art by the Sea, to corporates, and develop export opportunities.
Throughout the development phase, a New Zealand artist, Mark Cross, was sending his paintings to the USA, when an issue came up where US Customs requested Mark to pay import duties worth hundreds of dollars. Having already researched the export/import tariff to the USA, Alison was able to provide the correct information to the US Customs and therefore release the artist’s liability.
Alison was now a part owner and business developer for the art gallery Art by the Sea and Art NZ, and was approached to Project Manage the Artex Art show for 1995, held on Princes Wharf in the old arrivals terminal. This was a super challenging time as, alongside the art show, with Alison’s oversight, they developed a Ceramic award, the XPO Ceramics Award, a New Zealand-only entrant award. At the same time, an opportunity arose to present the previously unseen Kelliher Art Collection at Artex. The 1995 Artex Art Show, along with the Ceramics Award, and coupled with the art gallery ownership and arts marketing business, was climactic.
1996 saw the move of Artex to the Ellerslie Convention Centre, and the addition of glass to the Ceramics Award, becoming the XPO Ceramics and Glass Award. The Artex name changed to become Artexpo for that year. The concept of Artex/Artexpo was to promote New Zealand Art and Artists and seek to grow the visual arts sector. In late 1996, Alison had the opportunity to become the Project lead for a feasibility study of an International Visual Arts Festival for Auckland.
Initiated by Andy Hobbs, then Managing Director of XPO Exhibitions Limited, the study was undertaken by then XPO Project Management Limited. The feasibility study had funding support of Creative New Zealand and Auckland City Promotions (Auckland City Council). There was also a steering committee comprising: Leone Harkness, who was instrumental in setting up the International Festival of the Arts in Wellington; Andy Hobbs; Christopher Johnstone, former Auckland Art Gallery Director and an Independent Art consultant; John Gow, of Gow Langsford Gallery and John Leech Gallery; Anna Miles, Artist and Co-Editor Monica Magazine, now Art Gallery owner; and Chris Saines then Director of Auckland Art Gallery.
Although the report identified that a Visual Arts Festival was feasible, XPO Project Management was not and subsequently closed. No further action was taken. Alison then moved on to become a freelance creative business consultant and, over the course of the next several years, worked on projects, some of which included: consultant to an Event Designer and Manager; organiser for an outdoor event, including craft demonstrations/stalls, a sculpture symposium, organising contra sponsorship and making successful funding applications. She was also part time business manager for Manukau City Symphony Orchestra. From 2000-2007, Alison undertook key projects at The University of Auckland, working in various roles that culminated in being the Faculty of Arts Business/Projects Development Manager. Duties/disciplines included the (pre tertiary) Academy of Music, Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, and the Malaga - Pasifika Programme and Performance. Some of the projects included researching, identifying, and developing business plans and/or project development, publicity, and fundraising or sponsorship plans to support study or special projects. This also involved meeting with potential fund providers, reporting on expenditure, and managing stakeholder relationships, including contracts for funds raised. During her time at The University of Auckland, Alison raised, or supported the securing of, funds/income of approximately $6.5 million.
In addition, between the years 1997-2019, Alison worked with Steiner Ceramics, firstly as a consultant undertaking a research report on exporting to Australia, and latterly contributing to various aspects of the business side of Steiner Ceramic’s practice. In 2007, Alison left her role at the University of Auckland to focus on supporting and building the Steiner Ceramics practice, alongside Bob and the team.
Alison became a director of Steiner Studios, trading as Steiner Ceramics, and her involvement was full time between 2007-2019. During that time her key responsibilities were business management and development, including marketing and financial management, business planning and strategy, and staff management.
While Steiner Ceramics was based at home, in Kingsland, the practice held open days once a year to clear stock and provide the opportunity for people to see where the work was made. As much as they enjoyed the open days, the popularity of them, along with the demand for Steiner Ceramics work, grew and customers wanting to come and buy became an almost everyday occurrence. With this in mind, and with a need for more space, a new home was found for Steiner Ceramics to relocate to, thus enabling customers to visit daily and for the work to be displayed in a studio/gallery like setting.
Key achievements during Alison’s time at Steiner Ceramics included:
Between 2017-2020, Alison transitioned to a new career path and studied for a Graduate Diploma in Arts focusing on Education. Alison used the time to read and explore, in class and online, a vast range of ideas and theories, including the concept of a circular economy – covering not just the environment but also social equality and equity. This added to her awareness of economic development, social justice and the need for equity and equality in both New Zealand and the world.
In 2020, Alison’s mission was clarified to improve creative-social-cultural economic outcomes for New Zealanders, by operating a social enterprise as a business model. Once generating enough income, the social enterprise will use a percentage of its profits for social good, contributing to a microfinancing facility.
Alison set up AS Good NZ to offer coaching, mentoring, small business planning, budgeting and implementation. The aim is to develop sustainable business practice for creatives and/or low-income earners and to grow income, both for small businesses or self-employed. Through AS Good NZ, Alison is currently working with creatives referred to her through the Wayfind Creative (Depot Artspace) Creative Careers programme and Ministry of Social Development Flexi-Wage Self Employment programme. She is also a registered provider as an MBIE Regional Partner.
The meaning of AS Good NZ Ltd, ‘AS’ means firstly and obviously, ‘Alison Steiner’ but more importantly, ‘A Social Good NZ’, ‘A Sustainable Good NZ’, the list of good possibilities is endless.
Some current/recent clients include a glass artist, ceramic artist/designer, yoga instructor, performance artist, graphic designer, photographer, jewellery artist, home repairs and maintenance, and a videographer/sound engineer.
Study and research
Alison enjoys upskilling and building her knowledge and awareness of social, economic, creative and cultural issues. Where possible, her work has tried to consider or address issues in the creative sector. Over the years she has completed:
Note on the Circular Economy:
Although the circular economy is not new, the topic was presented in layman’s terms through the work of Oxford University academic Kate Raworth, author of Doughnut Economics, presented at UCL’s Institute for Global Prosperity. See this link which includes the Doughnut Economics model and the indigenous (NZ Maori) model.
The teaching of the circular economy seems to be ignored within the economics discipline in favour of classical, neoliberal economics of supply and demand which generally excludes the economic impact on social, environment and cultural aspects of society. These exclusions lead to inequity and inequality that are often referred to in sociology, education and politics courses, although only alluded to in(and sidelined)in economic development courses.
An example of this is the current research being undertaken by AS Good NZ into transformative ways to improve outcomes for Creative practice and people on benefits; offering support for pilot projects in Albert-Eden ward
I believe our personal and business philosophy ought to combine authentically, including whanaungatanga and manaakitanga
© 2022 Alison Steiner, AS Good NZ Limited