WORDS: KIMBERLEY FURNESS, OAK MAGAZINE
With the cancellation of trade fairs Australia-wide in response to a global pandemic, bush-based businesses are creating their own opportunities to grow their stockist base coming into Christmas.
Founded by Dannielle Maere, The Bush Boutique is an online collective of bush-based product businesses offering a range of wholesale opportunities for retail store owners.
"This (The Bush Boutique) doesn't just establish a promotional platform for bush-based product businesses, it also provides a centralised website for stores in search of unique, Australian designed and made products to stock," says Dannielle.
“COVID has forced us to change the way we find stockists. This led me to begin growing my stockist base online via social media and e-marketing which can be time consuming and, at times, disheartening.
"I wanted to create a platform for businesses, like mine, to showcase their products to a captive audience, and so The Bush Boutique was born.”
Dannielle is the owner of bush business Meeraboo, creating hand-poured soy candles from her home in Canowindra, NSW.
With 70 per cent of her business reliant on bricks and mortar stockists, Dannielle was forced to change the direction of her business in the light of the global outbreak of coronavirus.
"This year was really make or break for me. I have just had my second baby and, like many mum’s who start a home business, I want to create a lifestyle that suits my family," says Dannielle.
"I’ve always wanted to continue working, and I have a real passion for small business. I sat down in January this year and outlined the top three growth areas for our business, and two of those were hinging on significant wholesale growth.
"Due to COVID, we had to pivot quite quickly in March to ensure our online presence supported us during the nation-wide shutdown. Whilst our stockist’s doors were closed, I was busy working behind the scenes on new products, learning all I could about online advertising and really streamlining our processes.
"I had planned to release another range geared towards tourism gifting this year, however I have held off and re-focused our attention to online growth and virtual opportunities."
The cancellation of trade fairs and markets is a loss for the creative community.
"Both markets and trade fairs are a fabulous way to launch your brand into a new market, and a great place to meet people and hear real time feedback about your product," says Dannielle.
"This year has shown that it’s even more important to have a solid online presence, whether that be a website or social media, so you can continue the conversation with your customer base."
In less than a month, more than 30 businesses have signed up to The Bush Boutique.
"There isn't enough words to describe how much I love women supporting women. It’s so incredible what we can achieve when we work together, share each other’s wins and pat each other on the back when we’ve done a cracking job.
"I think being an all female bush-based business is such a strength, and the women I have e-met are so talented and knowledgable. I feel so lucky to call them friends."
The Bush Boutique - a collective of bush based product businesses with a range of wholesale opportunities for your store.