From drought to fires and now floods - Australian Bushies can't seem to get a break. But instead of wasting tears, bushies are offering a practical business solution to ward off the impact weather is having on survival. They are asking everyone to Buy Local - Regional Local. And Aussies are responding in droves! We just need to continue.Drought, fire and rain affects entire communities as most affected farmers are cash-poor. This means that many people in the community are being forced to leave their communities in seek of work. The ripple effects of the drought run deep through rural communities and affects many more people than those on the land.
Grace Brennan, a mum of three (with one on the way) lives on a property in regional NSW and mid October 2019, she created the @buyfromthebush Facebook and Instagram pages, showcasing beautiful rural boutiques and unique wares available from the bush. Two weeks later the #buyfromthebush movement has attracted more than 120,000 followers (now at 219,000) along with piles of direct orders to businesses and promises of support. Many small boutiques are receiving calls and messages from city consumers wanting to 'buy from the bush this Christmas'. Some products have sold out and others are seeing big spikes in their sales. The response has been amazing, but Grace isn't surprised:
"I WAS VERY KEEN TO FEEL HELPFUL IN WHAT CAN OFTEN FEEL LIKE A HELPLESS SITUATION. HAVING GROWN UP IN SYDNEY, I WAS ALSO REALLY AWARE OF HOW MUCH PEOPLE IN THE CITY WANT TO SHOW THEIR SUPPORT IF GIVEN A CHANCE''.
#buyfromthebush simply provide an easy way for city people to support their country cousins who are doing it tough, by promoting their products directly. They are simply encouraging city folk to do some of their Christmas shopping (any shopping really) in the bush to help support small rural communities.
Grace is working with another local, Millie Fisher, who is working on it as the project's 'Chief of Hustle'along with PR Agent, Georgie Robertson.
"EVERYONE IS TAKING IT ON AND FEELING RESPONSIBLE FOR SHARING THE MESSAGE. I THINK, IT'S A PRACTICAL AND SIMPLE WAY OF SHOWING THAT THEY CARE. RETAIL IS A TOUGH BUSINESS FOR EVERYONE BUT THESE BUSINESSES OFFER A FANTASTIC SERVICE TO THEIR LOCAL COMMUNITIES AND WE REALLY WANT TO KEEP THEIR DOORS OPEN!"
The outpouring of gratitude and the stories of not only retailers who are being reinvigorated but also big city businesses offering their support has been immense. Some amazing big corporates are also putting together Christmas hampers from the page for their staff members.
Also supporting the initiative and gaining traction quickly is online platform, NSW Buy Regional campaign, that features profiles of businesses sorted into categories which you can simply click on directly to purchase. It is very successfully leveraging #BuyFromTheBush and #OneDayCloserToRain, and the ambassadorship of celebrity chef Matt Moran.Some businesses are literally busier than they have ever been.
Just in the western corner of NSW near Warren there are a number of small boutiques, all with their own charm fighting against the odds to grow their businesses through the drought. There is a beautiful shopping trail through this dry part of the state that would delight any shopper. The small boutiques offer something that big malls, high street stores and even Amazon doesn't. They are filled with character, run by stylish and energetic young business owners keen to meet customer needs.
Empty Esky is another initiative that has taken flight in 2020, started by two Melbourne city slicker friends. #emptyesky is a movement encouraging ‘city folks’ to head to fire affected communities and surrounds, spending their money filling their empty eskies with produce to take home, to support regional retailers and producers affected by the Australian fires.