What started as a social media movement to give a leg up to struggling businesses in the bush has turned into a permanent retail marketplace.
Buy From The Bush announced that it is partnering with PayPal to offer long-term support to local communities and bring regional and rural businesses together in one place for Aussies to browse, admire and buy, buy, buy.
The global payment tech company’s Australian branch will be providing technical and design expertise, as well as marketing the platform to its 8.5 million users to help grow Buy From The Bush. It will also subsidise rates for product sellers, making it more affordable for struggling businesses to list their wares on the site.
It has been a difficult year for small business owners out in the country. Drought. Bushfires. A global pandemic. Who’s going to be throwing down a few hundred dollars on new bed linen, no matter how chic the design is?
But a recent PayPal report found that nearly 40 per cent of Aussies are actively buying from local businesses to help them make it through the pandemic. We’ve heard the pleas of the outback photographers, the honey producers and the cookbook authors and we want to help.
That’s where Grace Brennan comes in. Grace was on her farm in Warren, NSW waiting for rain to fall when she dreamed up the idea.
“I started Buy From The Bush because I felt pretty helpless and couldn’t do much about it not raining. I’m a pretty hopeless farmer’s wife, I couldn't help in the paddock but I knew I had a skillset,” she says on her website.
“I knew that people in the city wanted to help, they just didn't necessarily know how.”
The initiative launched in October 2019 as an Instagram account to promote the wares of businesses from the bush. Foot traffic for those little boutiques was a thing of the past, so Grace found a way to get their products in front of new eyes, especially those city folk so eager to do their bit.
The hashtag #buyfromthebush went on to be used more than 210,000 times, by small business owners, creatives, farmers and the many fans of their products. The initiative has saved countless small businesses from folding under the pressures of 2020, drumming up $5 million in revenue for the businesses in the first four months alone.
But one problem still loomed. What about those businesses who didn’t have the resources to pivot to online retail? By launching an online marketplace, Buy From The Bush provided a platform through which the businesses could sell their products.
People are often wary of online shopping and the effect of big superstores like Amazon on brick and mortar local businesses. But online shopping could be the very thing that saves those stores. When the world was in lockdown, Buy From The Bush allowed would-be customers from all over Australia to browse the stores of hundreds of businesses from the safety of their homes.
Fast forward through the hard times of 2020 and now the website has become a fully shoppable window into country and regional australia. It offers a glimpse at life on the land and a way to take a little piece of that home with you. And just in time for your Christmas shopping!