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How one Facebook group poured thousands of dollars into the rural economy

In October 2019, Buy From a Bush Business was launched as an Instagram hashtag to encourage more people to buy from rural businesses during the horrific drought that rocked parts of Australia.

Nearly two years later, the small hashtag has turned into an enormous community with over 340,000 members and has helped rural businesses through devastating bushfires, floods and a worldwide pandemic.

The founder of the Buy From a Bush Business Facebook group, Jenn Donovan, says, “When I started the group, it was because of the horrendous drought that was gripping my rural community, and many more around the country. Little did we know that bushfires, floods and a worldwide pandemic were just around the corner.”

Women, owener of small business packing product in boxes, preparing it for delivery.
The small hashtag has turned into an enormous community with over 340,000 members. (Getty)

Late 2019 was a tough period for rural businesses whose main stream of income came from visitors passing through town, Donovan says, “So many small business owners in rural areas were relying on foot traffic which they just didn’t have.”

After seeing the success of the hashtag #BuyFromTheBush on Instagram, Donovan created a Facebook page to simplify the buying and selling process. The page instantly took off.

“It grew very quickly, it hit the 100,000 [members] mark in a matter of months and then steadily grew from there,” she says.

As the growth of the group catapulted, Buy From a Bush Business aligned with the marketplace Spend With Us early this year to create an easier and more simplified buying and selling experience. The alignment has been incredibly successful and is on track to turn over 1 million by the end of the year.

Portrait of a business manager doing the books at a bar using a tablet computer
The group has supported rural businesses through the past few years of uncertainty. (Getty)

The alignment is a proud moment for Donovan: “We’ve been able to give people living in rural areas the opportunity to take that hobby or that dream they’ve always had — but never really had the resources or never really knew how to market themselves — and suddenly give them the platform to start their business.”

The group has supported rural businesses through the past few years of uncertainty by simply giving people the opportunity to access them.

“I think it’s one of the best things that have come out of the pandemic — people really want to shop rural,” she says.

Not only are people able to access locally made products, but Buy From a Bush Business has helped rural families create a second stream of income.

“Some of the best feedback I’ve received is from people that say they now feel financially independent, especially the women who didn’t have that and now have a level of financial independence,” she says.

Present wrapping.
Heading into this festive season Donovan is urging everyone to Buy From The Bush. (iStock)

Heading into this festive season Donovan is urging everyone to Buy From a Bush Business.

“I think there has been a major shift in people’s attitude of where people want to know ‘who’s behind this business'” she says. “Buying rural isn’t just about getting a gift, it could make the business owner’s Christmas.”

As borders open and we head into the festive season, Spend With Us – Buy From a Bush Business has created a map highlighting the businesses you can drop in and say G’day too while you travel and sitewide gift cards to spend at any of the 1400+ rural and regional stores online.

Published by 9Honey on December 2021

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