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Buy From the Bush prompts flood of love for rural businesses

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If you're in Sydney today you're in a good position to help our struggling drought affected regional small businesses.

In Sydney's Martin Place between the hours of 8am and 8pm around 20-bush based makers and creators will be based near the MLC building offering jewellery, art, stationery, homewares, food, baby clothes, and more.

The current drought is one of the worst on record affecting many more regional inhabitants than our farming families. The impacts are felt throughout the regional communities including retail and small businesses.

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Emma and Mollie Menzies at the Buy From the Bush pop-up markets in Martin Place, Sydney.

As a way to spread the Christmas cheer and help our regional communities, the NSW government is encouraging people to Buy Regional This Christmas. According to the government website, you need to make online purchases by December 15 to guarantee a delivery before Christmas.

You can directly from the #BTFB Buy From the Bush at buyfromthebush.com.au.

The campaign was formed in mid-October with social media accounts showcasing wares available to buy from rural communities experiencing drought. The account asked city dwellers to consider shopping to help their bush friends through hard time.

Now, nearly two months later there are more than 130,000 followers with rural postage volume jumping by 40%.

According to the website, businesses have reported growing their social media following by more than 4000 followers in three weeks. In real terms, that is 4000 new potential customers in the long term. For many, Buy From The Bush has meant that they will keep their doors open for a little longer. For others, it means that they can pay their family's household bills this month.

More than the financial investment, the psychological impact of city customers 'buying in' to these bush businesses at a time like this, is possibly the biggest success of the campaign.

Dubbo-based Ruth Young from Young Creative Farms said the response at today's event was "fantastic and overwhelming". By 9.30am they had sold out of tractors and had sold three large model farms (priced around $300).

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

These are one of our favourite things. Toy farms for creative minds! (Quite like the optimism with the green base ??????). Designed by @youngcreativefarms in Dubbo, NSW. Their Christmas special is $250 and offers a 60cm x 90cm farm with 3 gates, a shed, a (red or green... cause it matters) tractor and choice of animals up to value if $30. Contact them directly via message to purchase and find out more! #buyfromthebush #christmas #christmasshopping #drought #droughtrelief #stuffthedrought

A post shared by #buyfromthebush (@buyfromthebush) on Nov 19, 2019 at 2:24pm PST

Artist Emma Menzies, also from Dubbo in the state's west, had also praised the event for bringing people out to help their rural businesses. In addition to smaller items like cards and prints selling well, Emma also sold an original artwork for $895.

Annabelle Kennedy, a Nyngan-based fashion designer from Kennedy The Label, which offers classic linen luxury products for children, was also inspired by the event.

"We have had a 300% increase in turnover on this time next year," she told Money.

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Annabelle Kennedy from Kennedy The Label with two of her linen garments for children.

"It's giving us a lot or reach, exposure and media opportunities Australia-wide and internationally and it's completely credited to #BFTR."

Kennedy says she hopes to expand her offering to adults in 2020.

Money magazine reader Lou Webb, who has a cotton farm, has already landed a celebrity endorsement for her new millinery business.

Through some nifty publicity, Webb gifted one of her stylish headbands to fashion icon Sarah Jessica Parker.

The actress wore the headband to an event during a recent visit to Australia, sparking interest in the brand.

Webb and her son travelled from Warren, north-west of Dubbo, to sell hats and headbands at the Buy From the Bush markets.

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Julia Newbould is a financial writer and commentator with a background in journalism. She was previously editor of Financial Planning and Super Review magazines; managing editor at InvestorInfo and at Morningstar Australia. Julia co-authored The Joy of Money, a book on women and personal finance. She holds a Bachelor of Economics from the University of Sydney where she serves on the alumni council.
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