In the last couple of years, many small businesses in rural Australia were forced to close their doors due to the effects of bushfires, drought, flooding and coronavirus. Businesses lost thousands of dollars in stock and many had to close indefinitely. So many of these small businesses were just bricks and mortar stores and didn’t have a way to sell their products online or the time, money or technical knowledge to set something up.
The idea for Spend With Us came about during the 2019/2020 bushfires. The concept was to create a central online marketplace and directory of small businesses based in rural and regional Australian areas who were doing it tough and needed to get their businesses online and sell their products when tourists were no longer able to come into their towns.
Consumers across Australia were keen to shop small and support these bush businesses but didn’t know how to do so without physically going to these areas. The Spend With Us Marketplace provided a free, simple and user-friendly way for non-tech savvy business owners to take their businesses online, tell their inspiring stories and allow Australians to easily find and purchase their products all in one place.
Nobody thought things could get worse for rural small businesses. They had been through drought, then devastated by bushfires and in March 2020 they got hit for a third time by the effects of covid-19. Australia went into lockdown and the need to get online and keep businesses trading got even more urgent! At this time, Spend With Us opened its platform to support all rural and regional small businesses to be able to help make a difference to communities that were experiencing trauma and income loss and finding it difficult to survive financially, not being able to physically sell their products in stores or at markets.
In August 2020 Spend With Us joined forces with the rapidly growing Buy From a Bush Business Facebook group which had been supporting drought-affected rural businesses as they knew that by collaborating they would be able to raise more awareness for shopping locally with rural communities, make an even greater impact and support even more small businesses by bringing them more sales and recognition.
There are currently over 900 small businesses on the Spend With Us website marketplace and directory for consumers to discover and support, and the Buy From a Bush Business Facebook group has grown to over 318,000 members as of May 2020!
Connecting the city and the bush, the Spend With Us marketplace and directory provides a central platform where every rural or regional small business can create their own free website store without all the costs and technical knowledge of creating their own websites and Australians across the country can find their products and support them without trawling numerous websites, scrolling through social media pages, or travelling hundreds of kilometres.
Sellers don’t need to have any technical knowledge or pay costs for things like web hosting, SEO, marketing ads etc. The marketplace founders offer support through a dedicated seller’s Facebook group and provide training for sellers on how to adapt and get the most out of their business for online selling.
Through the combination of the online marketplace and our Buy From a Bush Business Facebook group, the platform has helped tens of thousands of small businesses to keep trading and sell their products. For those wanting to buy Australian Made, there is a dedicated section on our website which highlights some of the unique and beautiful products that you can buy from the bush businesses.
Every time a small rural or regional business receives a sale, they genuinely do a happy dance! By being mindful of where you spend your money, you can discover incredible products and know that your purchase is making a difference in someone’s life.
The founders of Spend With Us – Buy From a Bush Business, Sarah, Jenn and Lauren say “We are a small but mighty team with enormous goals to ensure that Australia is talking about rural and regional areas, not just in drought, flood or bushfire times, but all the time.“
Would you like to do a happy dance too?
Join the Spend With Us – Buy From a Bush Business community for free! Become a member of our Buy From a Bush Business Facebook group and discover new and wonderful products from small Australian businesses. If you’re an Australian rural or regional small business you can set up your own Spend With Us store or create a post and market your products through our Facebook group. Create your store here: https://www.spendwithus.com.au/sell-with-us/ Tell your friends, family and network all about our initiatives and together we can help support small businesses in need and create more and more happy dances each time our sellers make a sale!
Article featured in Dynamic Business. Click here to read: https://dynamicbusiness.com.au/topics/news/why-thousands-of-rural-australians-are-doing-happy-a-dance.html