Buoyant: Dubbo artist Jacinta Haycock in the studio from where she has sent paintings to new buyers found through the Buy from the Bush movement. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE

Buoyant: Dubbo artist Jacinta Haycock in the studio from where she has sent paintings to new buyers found through the Buy from the Bush movement. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE

Buy from the Bush sparks sales, attracts 25,000 followers

#buyfromthebush brings city to regional Australia

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Social media awash with a movement bringing city customers to drought-hit businesses.

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A Dubbo artist facing a water shortage is one of the first success stories of a new collective movement to help bush economies survive the drought and capture trade.

Jacinta Haycock's painting of sheep was snapped up by a Brisbane buyer this week in a sale that took a "weight off our shoulders".

The artwork had featured on Buy from the Bush, a social media page and hashtag that captured 25,000 followers in a week.

The brainchild of Grace Brennan of the Warren district, it's using social media to link regional retailers hit by drought with metropolitan consumers, especially in the lead-up to Christmas.

It has rapidly stimulated sales, expanded customer bases and lifted the spirits of operators of small businesses and side hustles in the Orana region, among them Mrs Haycock.

The artist reported she sold two paintings to new customers in Brisbane and Sydney a short time after they were featured on the Buy from the Bush page.

Mrs Haycock, who counts herself as a mum first and her art as a "side hustle", said it would help cover the cost of necessities.

Her household of 13 people live out of town, and are not connected to mains water.

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"I said to the lady that bought [the artwork], 'you've taken the weight off our shoulders' because we had to buy water again this week and I'm always chasing the money, because every painting is just to pay a bill or buy water or pay electricity," Mrs Haycock said.

"So I said it's beautiful because that's paid for the water this week."

Mrs Haycock, whose brother remains on the family property in western NSW, is all praise for the Buy from the Bush concept.

"It's just amazing what these girls have done...," she said.

"We all buy online, don't we, so it doesn't matter if you're buying from a shop out west or in Sydney, today you can purchase those things.

"I think it's absolutely beautiful that these people are getting people excited, getting a bit of business again, because it is very tight and very hard at the moment."

Buy from the Bush features products from retailers and makers from a patch of NSW including Dubbo, Cobar, Bourke, Walgett and towns, villages and farms in between.

Grace Brennan at home on the property outside of Warren. Photo contributed.

Grace Brennan at home on the property outside of Warren. Photo contributed.

Mrs Brennan reports it is not a commercial exercise, and any business facing drought conditions can use the hashtag, with no fees involved.

The founder - who is not a retailer - describe it as a "hopeful movement, and hopefully it's long-lasting".

"I don't own a business at all, I just benefit from having these beautiful shops in my town, and I just wanted to keep their doors open through the drought," Mrs Brennan said.

"And also give city people a really easy way of helping, because I grew up in Sydney, and I know they do want to help, they just sometimes need a way, they don't know how best to help."

The endeavour has grown faster than anticipated since its launch late last week.

"It's incredible," Mrs Brennan said.

"The businesses that are getting featured are getting a huge spike in sales and selling out of the items that are featured.

"Just getting really warm responses from the people in the city wanting to support their business.

"And I think, having grown up in Sydney...in Sydney you go shopping at a big mall or at high street stores, and you don't get the experience of wandering through a beautiful boutique with a curated collection of goodies.

"And that's what, moving to the country I've found so delicious about these rural shops is you get these really unique things and every single store has their own vibe."

Mrs Brennan said in a tight economic climate, the festive season was a focus of the movement.

"...In this instance it's specifically focusing on Christmas, and getting people to direct their funds - I think it's really hard to ask people for charity at the moment, anybody is challenged, so it's not charity, it's doing something they already would but just directing it in a certain way..." she said.

The story Buy from the Bush sparks sales, attracts 25,000 followers first appeared on Daily Liberal.

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