Hall of Fame Alumni
Corban & Blair
About Me - My Biography
Gillian Corban is CEO of Corban & Blair Pty Ltd.
Gillian’s background is in education (art and media) where she has been a teacher and Curriculum consultant. She also worked in Equal Employment Opportunity for the NSW Premiers Dept and holds degrees in english, education and media.
Past membership of boards include TAFE NSW, NSW Small Business Development Corporation and the National Procurement Board, as well as numerous community, government committees and Indigenous mentoring and coaching roles.
Gillian is member Chief Executive Women (CEW) and past Council member.
Gillian was awarded the Centenary Medal for her contribution to the business sector.
As a leader, Gillian pursues a values-based approach to business and is dedicated to the creative process, through knowledge, experimentation and innovation. She is passionate about business and the various processes that make it successful. Vision, experience, knowledge, ideas, energy, working with good people combined with a firm belief that most things can be possible if strategically applied.
About Corban & Blair
Corban & Blair are product developers, designers, manufacturers and distributors of fashion stationery and lifestyle products.
Collections are designed twice yearly for independent and department stores. Bespoke product solutions are designed for corporate and hospitality clients – marketing folders, gifts, menus, compendia, travel items and (carbon neutral) photo frames. All these products and many more can be made to order and personalised with lettering or logos.
Their design philosophy is to bring attention to the environment using design and associated messages of utility, durability and recycling.
Corban & Blair got their name from combining the last names of its founders, Gillian Corban and Amanda Blair, two passionate women who are all about design. Together, they opened a store in Australian designer stationery in 1988 with handmade journals and albums (their own hands, in fact). As the market began to change and develop, they too evolved to match consumers wants and needs, creating new products and styles in an array of materials.
Over 20 years ago, Corban & Blair made a serious commitment to design, excellence and best business practice, and this continues today. They both have a great passion for design, style and getting clients exactly what they want – even a little extra.
Their approach is hands-on and fashion-orientated. They constantly search for new ideas and concepts to add value and meaning to the products they design. Their ideas come from nature, technology, other cultures, materials, textures or intuitive responses to the market place.
“In this market environment, you need to be well informed and fast. Change is constant and getting faster – opportunities will not wait.”
Each year they create two retail collections – special products for other brands and designing unique product solutions for the business sector, which is harder than it sounds – but they love the challenge.
Corban & Blair design and manufacture in Australia, New Zealand and China and have many clients in these countries. They are committed to operating a business that focuses on economic and environmental sustainability.
“We pay the carbon credits on our New Zealand made photo frames. We sponsor a child in PLAN, a school in Tanzania and support the arts, schools, education and mentor and coach within the business community. We have worked with Euraba Indigenous artists and papermakers.”
“We never envisaged the stimulating, creative enterprise of wonderful employees, associates, suppliers and customers we continue to work with.”
Strategies for Success
- Make sure your product or service has a market and you know how to service, grow and evolve it.
- Learning, sharing, growing and experimenting should be something you do most days. The market is in constant flux and we all need to keep up.
- Everyone in your business needs to be “on the bus” with you.
- We live in a global world. Look for the opportunities this can offer.
- Ideas, inspiration, courage, risk, energy and passion are all necessary as business is very hard work – as well as fun.