In recent months, most of us have been preoccupied with hand washing, home schooling and getting supplies to elderly relatives – only a rare few have focused on starting a business.
But Megan Lawrence from Riddells Creek, in the Macedon Ranges, decided otherwise. Having just completed a work contract at an earthmoving company, Megan had time on her hands. “Once that ended, I was at a loose end. That was the week restrictions came in, so I knew other work would be hard to find,” she says.
With time at home and after a brief collaboration with a friend selling clothes, Megan had the confidence to try selling again. “I had a week of doing nothing and then decided to turn to the one thing I knew how to do from home,” she explains.
“I started Country Mile Clothing in the first week of April and I’d only been planning it for a month or so,” she says. Selling hoodies, rugby tops and T-shirts aimed at rural buyers, Megan says sales rose quickly through social media marketing and orders have come from across Australia.
The process has been rewarding but a steep learning curve. “I’ve had to learn everything about owning a small business. I never assumed it would get this big, this quickly. It has been hard to get products in quickly enough to satisfy orders,” she says.
Even in her short time trading, Megan has seen buyers’ demands change. More people are asking for Australian grown and made cotton clothing and she is looking at local supply and manufacturing.
“I think the Australian manufacturing issue has come after COVID-19; people want to support Australian manufacturers. It’s something I am keen to pursue,” she says.
Tell us about rural women’s businesses that you have discovered.
Pictured above: Megan Lawrence took the brave decision to launch an online clothing business during coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions. Pic credit: Chloe Smith Photography