I just bought a jumper

I just bought a jumper, so what? I just bought a jumper.

I bought a jumper that I didn't really need but, the jumper needed me.

You see, things have changed.
The past 6 months have had more impact than I could have ever imagined on my simple little mind.

Late last year I was invited to follow an Instagram account that a dear friend had started.
I was probably within the first hundred followers to join.
What happened next was the start of my change. Two months later and that same Instagram account had blown way beyond the hundreds of thousands of followers and it was all through the media.

The Buy From The Bush Campaign is so well recognised now for good reason. When the same said dear friend approached me to help get this campaign on to an online platform, I of course jumped. The following weeks were taken up by hours and hours of building and formatting details for hundreds of regional-based small businesses just like my own. Beautiful, humble and inspiring businesses with so much to offer.

Next month marks 10 years since starting my very first online store. If I knew then what I know now, my journey would have been a whole lot different.

What I can tell you is that things have changed DRAMATICALLY in the ecommerce world and particularly in Australia. Opportunities are far greater and the ease in which to get online blows my mind, daily.

There are two elements to this that I love, first it's the excitement and passion I feel in joining others to develop and grow their dream business. Secondly, it's the realisation that small business is a HUGE contributing factor to our incredible landscape. That someone's humble idea can share the same level of importance as some of our major organisations.

Growing up as an optimistic young woman I always thought that landing a job with a big brand would define me. What I quickly realised was that behind the walls of the major brands, housed the same tasks that I had previously completed in my uncle's small local printing business that I worked in whilst doing my degree. The difference was the sense of belonging. Whilst I enjoyed my time in the larger environments, I gained so much more from the small, humble and invested environment that harboured my passion for small business.

Christmas time and the family and I were on the South Coast of NSW enjoying our annual beachside holiday with our extended family that we do year after year. It's a place of pure joy for us and our kids. It's full of happiness and calm and it is the kick start to every year that we look forward to. That kickstart came differently this year. New Year's Eve and we woke to a bright red, angry-looking sky. The worst bushfires that our Country has ever seen were literally, on our doorstep. We tried to keep the kids calm whilst taking all the precautions we could. Hosing down gutters, clearing out dry debris. Time was against us as towns were being wiped out in the path towards us. Days later and we were still stuck, no power, no communication, no warm water. It was getting hectic. The little IGA down the road managed to secure a generator and worked endlessly to get supplies to everyone. Small business, once again, at it's best. Small town operators came together for the greater good of everyone.

As we returned to the safety of Sydney, we were overcome with a feeling of responsibility to make sure we returned to those small towns to inject lost income back to them. We made our plans for Easter to return with an empty car and long shopping list.

Again, things changed. 2020 had different plans for us as the Coronavirus hit our shores. Those small businesses had to wait, if they could. Most couldn't and the effects on a lot have been devastating.

So how can we navigate through these times and protect what we have all worked so hard for? Truth is, we don't really know, what we do know is right now, we can only control what we can. To me, that means opening up and being honest about your intentions, showing the face behind the business. If any of these life-changing events have taught me anything, it's that people help people. The person who built that business is what makes me engage.

The hundreds of incredible owners behind all those bush based businesses that I explored, the face to face interaction with those helping us survive through the bushfires, and now the people we are helping get through this lockdown, they all have changed me.

You see, I bought a jumper. Why? Because I saw a post from a local boutique store that I walk past nearly every day in our 'normal' life. The post was raw, honest and from the heart. It talked about how their physical doors have had to shut but they are still online. That they needed our support right now. So, I bought a jumper.

Now it's your turn. Show us your beautiful face, show us your passion piece and show us what makes you tick.

Join us on our members-only Facebook Group – Start Lab Social and give yourself a big, positive shout out. We want to hear from you. We want to celebrate with you. We want to survive beyond this with you.

If you don't yet have a business to share but have a cracking idea you've been sitting on. Now is the time! One thing I am very certain about is that support for small business, local operations and keeping our money onshore right now is front of mind.

** PS - LOVE my new jumper - check out @bettyandlola 


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