5 November, 2020
Side hustles show spirit of the bush
YEARS of relentless drought has prompted many farmers across the state to pursue a way to create an off-farm income, from making soaps in their shed, pouring candles or handcrafting jewellery and handbags.
YEARS of relentless drought has prompted many farmers
across the state to pursue a way to create an off-farm income, from making
soaps in their shed, pouring candles or handcrafting jewellery and handbags.
When Darling Downs woman Kerri Brennan started her own small business, Little Miracles Maternity Wear, to help provide for her farming family, she stumbled across hundreds of other rural women in Queensland enjoying much success with their side hustles.
The Brennan’s 2000-hectare farm near Leyburn, west of Warwick, had almost completely dried up, and with five children, they could no longer rely on the farm as their sole income.
Being inspired by all the beautiful and unique products produced in rural Queensland, Mrs Brennan set up a Facebook page, Buy from the Bush Qld, designed to become a hub to help shoppers find handmade gifts created in the bush and in turn, helping farming families, financially.
A few years on and Mrs Brennan’s Facebook page has over 18,000 followers and a Buy from the Bush Qld directory is stored on a purpose-built website.
At the beginning of the year, Buy from the Bush Qld even toured western Queensland, providing social media workshops and one-on-one business coaching to bush businesses.
“We want to share the story behind the items you buy and show our urban friends the spirit of the bush as we push through drought and disasters like bushfires,” Mrs Brennan said.
“It’s more than buying a jar of jam, you’re supporting a family. But not all producers are computer savvy, and we want to show them how to join the online retail world, so they don’t miss out on such a unique opportunity.”
When The Rural Leader caught up with Mrs Brennan, her phone was ringing off the hook with queries about the latest exciting developments for Buy from the Bush Qld.
“Christmas is coming, Buy from the Bush Qld is back in people’s minds, it’s nice they haven’t forgotten us,” Mrs Brennan said.
“I think people need something positive this year, Christmas is all about faith and family and I think coronavirus has made the value of our friends and family even more apparent, so there’s a lot of people who will celebrate even more so by spending their dollars.”
THE Australian Stockmans Hall of Fame will feature Buy from the Bush Qld businesses in its gift store.
Mrs Brennan said she was excited to work with the Stockmans Hall of Fame at Longreach to promote Queensland’s homegrown creations.
“Instead of selling the same old stuff we see at every gift store, they will sell a beautiful range of products from Queensland businesses, from clothing to chocolate, to wine, it will all be there.”
Mrs Brennan said Moffatdale Ridge winery in the South Burnett had even created special Australian Stockmans Hall of Fame wines for the museum to sell.
“I took a hit for the team and taste tested them – they were just beautiful and beautifully presented – in fact, I may need to taste test them again just to be sure,” Mrs Brennan joked.
“But it’s a really exciting step, it will be like walking into a whole Buy from the Bush Qld market space. We have ladies with businesses at Flinton and Augathella and they simply can’t get to the markets regularly, so to have their products sold at a major tourist destination will just be fantastic.
“There will be homemade gift cards, soaps, completely unique and authentically Queensland products, and it means people can help support the bush even further while they are visiting.”