Artisans support South Coast e-commerce collaboration to see off COVID-19
Over 30 local small businesses, including kelp farmers, fashion labels and candle makers have collaborated to support the launch of South Coast Artisans Online Shop.
Launched by Gerringong-based entrepreneur, Kate Mather, South Coast Artisans is an e-commerce platform celebrating the NSW South Coast’s reputation for quality craftsmanship.
The platform also represents a combined response to the destructive impact of the bushfires earlier this year and the COVID-19 pandemic on local businesses.
Ms Mather said, “The double impact of the bushfires and COVID-19 has resulted in some of our local artisans taking falls in revenue as high as 90%.
“With many artisans relying on local markets to sell their wares or workshops to teach their skills, social distancing measures and lockdowns have torn the hearts of out their businesses, especially those without a robust digital presence.”
Operating within the South Coast Artisans website, local painters, potters, designers and jewellers have recognised they have a stronger voice by combining to offer a fantastic range of gifts and keepsakes of the beautiful South Coast region, noted Mrs Mather.
Caroline Bloomfield, the owner of Willowvale Road, which handcrafts luxury candles, diffusers and tantalising scents, inspired by the South Coast scenery, says, “I signed up to the shop because when I’m grouped with other like-minded local businesses I have more chance of being noticed by online shoppers who are looking to support south coast small businesses.”
Ms Mather, who operates holiday experiences and accommodation website South Coast Experiences, said the new e-commerce platform was a long-term business expansion plan.
“The arrival of COVID-19 brought forward the launch date,” she confirmed.
“When social distancing measures were introduced, and visitors starting postponing bookings, I could see that I needed to pivot rapidly into South Coast Artisans Online Shop.”
Ms Mather designed, built and launched the website within a month, as well as promoted the opportunity to South Coast artisans to ensure the platform hit the web with a wide variety of products and services.
“With the diversity of our product and services range expanding daily as new SMEs sign up, South Coast Artisans is a way for the public to support the South Coast SME community that’s been so affected by business and visitor losses in 2020. ”