An interview with Retail World magazine’s Editor, Hailey Settineri

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On 20 March, Retail World magazine’s Editor Hailey Settineri put down her pen, and logged out of Retail Media – for at least 12 months that is! Hailey is taking a break (if you can call it that) from being an incredible, stand-up editor, to be a mother for the first time. So, it’s only fair that we take a look, and reflect on some of the highlights so far.

Hailey! Please remind us when this all began – how long have you been working with Retail Media?

I first joined Retail Media in 2007. I started out as a journalist across a number of industry titles before working my way up to Deputy Editor of Retail Pharmacy and Editor of Canteen News. In 2010 I left Australia to do some travelling. When I returned in 2012 I was fortunate that there was another opening at Retail Media, this time on the Retail World and Convenience World teams. I became Deputy Editor of both titles in 2014 and Editor in 2018.

Have you always wanted to be an Editor, or did you have different goals earlier on?

I always wanted to write, but growing up I assumed journalists only covered politics, sports or celebrities (three subject matters I try to avoid discussing in polite company!) so had ruled it out. It wasn’t until I began searching for ‘writing’ work after university that I discovered the wonderful world of B2B media.

What inspired you to begin working for the company?

While I was studying, I interned at a science facility where I was responsible for interviewing staff for the weekly newsletter. Among all the physicists and other boffins was a janitor who was ridiculously passionate about his work. After meeting him, I decided I wanted to spend my days speaking with people that shared his level of enthusiasm for their work, however niche. I’ve since come to learn that retailers are among the most passionate people out there! I truly love being able to share their stories.

Has there been a story that you’ve worked on (for Retail Media) that stands out/has stuck with you? If so, what story was it and why?

A few years ago I attended a seafood industry tour of Vietnam, where I was able to witness first hand the operations that supply many of our frozen and processed seafood products here in Australia. The experience really changed my perception of imported goods from the ‘cheap option’ to one with real social, environmental and economical benefits, right through the supply chain. I was proud to be able to share that experience with our readers.

How has the retail industry changed over the years that you have been involved in this category and what future predictions do you have for the retail industry?

There has been so much change in the past decade but the biggest, and one that will continue to change the industry, is consumer expectation. From what shoppers seek to how they pay, retail is a whole different beast to what it was only a short time ago. I’ve long been sceptical of online grocery shopping taking off here to the same extent it has in other markets due to our low and widely dispersed population and the challenges that creates. But I think the current COVID-19 pressures are going to force the industry to rethink the status quo and fast track developments in this area.

You’re about to take a break to embark on one of the most significant chapters of your life – how are you feeling about it and what emotions are you experiencing as you prepare to step away from the keyboard for a little while?

Yes, I’m expecting my first child, which is quite nerve wracking! Fortunately I’ve had a lot of support and advice from colleagues and some amazing women in the industry. I’m already looking forward to returning and bringing my new world experience with me.

Finally, in current times, the world is experiencing a number of hardships that is in turn having a major impact on retail businesses – what advice do you give to anyone right now who is struggling, whether that be financially, socially, emotionally etc.

There are certainly a lot of outside factors shaking up our industry at the moment. No sooner had businesses around the country begun to recover from the horrendous bushfires, then the COVID-19 pandemic hit – forcing retailers to face new supply chain challenges on top of panicked customers. These pressures are not going to alleviate any time soon, so I urge everyone in the industry to stay connected and support each other.