Dana Cechova’s business is a combination of three passions – art, marketing and New Zealand. Her Black Fish brand calendars will put fine Kiwi painting and photography on the walls of offices, workshops and homes throughout the country in 2011.
Dana formed Black Fish in 2008 to be a publishing company that would specialise in the design, production and sale of calendars and also Christmas cards - all with interesting and distinctive New Zealand imagery. For this year, Black Fish offered a range of calendars in the corporate market with over-printing of the individual client's identity and contact details.
For 2011, Black Fish provided the same customisation on an expanded choice of calendars for corporates and, for the first time, a range of 16 calendars for the retail market. The company will also have a wide selection of Christmas cards with distinctive New Zealand designs. It has joined GS1 for the application of GTINs and bar codes to calendars and cards sold at retail.
Dana - a professional graphic designer with qualifications and experience also in marketing - applies both artist's eye and business nous to the design and production of the calendars and cards (these also available for corporate customisation). Subject matter for the 2011 calendars includes: contemporary New Zealand paintings; scenic photography taken around the country; railway imagery; beautiful roses selected by rose breeder Sam McCready; popular children's cartoons; and fishing with TV personality Bill Hohepa.
Dana is particularly pleased with her forthcoming New Zealand Art calendar which will feature the work of Northland painter Richard Robinson on its cover. "I always look out for new ideas and new artists ... it's a matter of doing lots of research on the Internet and elsewhere, and then approaching people to see if they're interested in a calendar," says Dana. In the corporate market, she is also happy to work with images supplied by a client.
Auckland-based Black Fish has a full set of other design services that reflects the skills and experience of Dana and her associates - print advertising, websites, business collateral and so on. The company offers, quite simply, to help clients "make a difference" in whatever they are doing - and this includes advice on marketing which Dana is well equipped to give. She trained and worked in her native country, the Czech Republic, before coming to New Zealand in 2006, initially for a six-month visit. In Prague, Dana had been a marketing specialist with international firm KPMG. While on holiday, she says, "I fell in love with New Zealand and with New Zealanders."
Calendars go on sale in the final months of each year, but their planning, design and printing is a year-round business. Black Fish sources much of its requirement for printing in Asia where price is a compelling factor, although Dana says around one third of the 2011 corporate calendars will still be printed in New Zealand (and all the customisation is done locally). Close attention to printing ensures high quality of the end product and keeps its price down. Dana says being very reasonable on price, to corporates and retail customers, is another key point of distinction for Black Fish, alongside the great imagery on its calendars and cards, and its friendly, efficient service to business clients throughout New Zealand.