Meet Natalie, a colourful entrepreneur who used Victoria’s repeated lockdowns to start BUON Clothing. During Lockdown I, she actively pursued her dream to create cozy homewear, owned and made right here in Australia. Keeping local manufacturing going is extremely important to her team, and their products proudly bear the Australian Made kangaroo.
Throughout the first lockdown business was bustling, with demand for her bright, comfortable clothing at a high – with the colours helping to keep people’s spirits up. But since the start of Melbourne’s stage 4 lockdowns have made things very difficult.
Restrictions disrupted BUON’s supply chains, hurting the team’s ability to offer new products, or meet a higher demand. To make matters worse, they have been unable to receive new product samples, or do promotional photo shoots. While Natalie has drawn illustrations of the items, the team are concerned customers won’t be as comfortable with the drawings.
Natalie is committed to her dream and her team, but in spite of that drive, she says that stage 4 has ‘truly been a downer’.
To keep the business going, Natalie transitioned to pre-selling their next batches of clothing, ensuring their delivery remains stable to Australian customers, so they won’t be inconvenienced by shipping delays.
Although things lately have been especially challenging, Natalie says the support they have received from customers have made things easier to bear. She finds it easier to focus on managing challenges knowing her customers find wearing comfortable, bright and colourful clothing, has helped keep their spirits up in lockdown as well.
Natalie believes one of the biggest problems that face Australians during this time is the loneliness and emotional hardship, and she feels blessed to be able to help her fellow Australians – especially Melburnians – get through each day.
As the business began in lockdown, BUON has had limited interaction with their local community. But Natalie and the team look forward to a time when they can actively give back and support local initiatives.
Although it has been tough, Natalie says it is awesome to see young Australians getting around locally owned and produced goods, and that BUON would not have been successful without a strong national support for local, Aussie-made goods.
For Natalie, the pandemic has brought a fresh perspective on the importance of going local first for shopping and services, and hopes to see that continue into the future.