Bushfires, floods and the pandemic left Australia’s rural and regional businesses doing it tough. Many businesses pivoted – some going down the online route and this virtual presence has often led to growth.
In the past year, governments have implemented a range of initiatives to support small businesses stay afloat. However, we can all do our bit to help business survive by buying from Australian owned and run companies whenever we can - even better if they happen to be regionally based.
According to figures from a spokesperson for the Department of Education, Skills and Employment: “As at October 2020, women who operated their own business made up 12.3 percent of employed Australian women.” Some of these women operated businesses are regionally based.
In the spirit of Christmas, here are a few women-run - mainly regional - businesses and initiatives you can shop with right now.
Mink and Me
Owner Lucy Moss originally had a dream – to provide beautiful homewares, clothing and gifts to Coonamble locals and beyond, with an emphasis on supporting local talent. And this NSW business has grown into more than a store – it’s also a café. Shop here: minkandme.com.au
Little Black Duck
Aboriginal artist Ashleigh Pengelly runs her small business out of regional Wagga Wagga and it’s a treasure trove of artworks, prints, hand-painted teapots, terracotta pots, Aboriginal candles, beautiful greeting cards and more. Shop here: www.littleblackduckaus.com
A focus on Aussie design and ethically sourced products are at the heart of Sophie Jones’ stylish boutique in Cowes on Philip Island. If you can’t make it there in person, shop online – they sell everything from kids toys to bags and wallets, body products, hats, jewellery, books and homewares. Shop here: tyde.com.au
Licorice Moon Studios
Artist Eve Simmons creates exquisite handmade ceramics from her Buderim home on the Sunshine Coast – you’ll find gorgeous spotted plates, glazed mugs, hanging pots and even ceramic bells at her website. Shop here: www.liquoricemoonstudios.com
Living in the country town of Cooma, owner and ‘big bird’ Jane Cay had long dreamed of running an online store from the country that was unique and inspired confidence in women. These days it’s a hub of fashion brands, styling advice, outfit inspo and sizes for all body types. Shop here: www.birdsnest.com.au
Starting a business during a pandemic might give any entrepreneur pause, but that’s just what Ami Bateman and Sian Murray did! The QLD-based owners of this start-up sell innovative, non-toxic home cleaning products that really do live up to the old saying, ‘just add water’. Shop here: www.pleasantstate.com
More female-run retail initiatives
Spend with Us
Central Coast web designer Sarah Britz and rural Victoria-based psychologist Lauren Hateley started this initiative to help support rural and regional small businesses in bushfire-affected communities. They joined forces with Jenn Donovan, who founded Buy From A Bush Business – and you can browse the site’s many stores or invest in a gift card. www.spendwithus.com.au
Wendy & Holly
The comfortable jelly shoe brand Wendy & Holly Australia specialises in women’s and children’s jelly shoes.
Buy From the Bush
Initially, BFTB was created as an Instagram account by NSW farmer Grace Brennan, to showcase beautiful items to buy from rural communities facing drought. It’s now a thriving platform of stores that’s had a huge impact on rural small businesses, generating millions in revenue. Businesses that benefited from the campaign were overwhelmingly women-run - accounting for 97 percent. Shop here: www.buyfromthebush.com.au