Changing Lives – How the Buy From The Bush Marketplace, supported by PayPal, is expanding rural small business opportunities
21 Oct 2021

A year ago today, PayPal Australia and Buy From The Bush joined forces to launch the BFTB Marketplace, showcasing the beautiful things available to buy from rural Australian small businesses.

Grace Brennan of Buy From The Bush
Grace Brennan of Buy From The Bush

The partnership enabled BFTB to develop a permanent, secure, and easy to use eCommerce site and has worked to build stronger connections between the bush and the city to help ensure the long-term survival of rural businesses and communities.

BFTB founder Grace Brennan said, “While Buy From The Bush was born of drought, it has now seen rural small business through a series of crises including fires and a global pandemic. One year on, the Buy From The Bush marketplace is now a significant channel to market for rural small and micro business. What perhaps excites me the most is our capacity to foster growth and innovation. This is only the beginning.”

The BFTB Marketplace features more than 250 rural and regional small businesses across rural Australia. Through the platform, bush businesses have shipped to approximately 30 countries including the US, UK, Germany, Switzerland, Chile, China and Qatar.[i] A 100% Australian project, the design and build of the Buy From the Bush Marketplace was sponsored by PayPal and built on Australian-developed technology from Marketplacer.

Eric Lassen, CEO of PayPal Australia said: “PayPal’s mission is to enable all people and businesses to join and thrive in the global digital economy by making commerce more convenient, affordable and secure. We feel privileged to work with Buy From the Bush and empower this purpose-driven business with the technology needed to help expand the economic opportunities for small businesses in rural and regional Australia.”

’Tis The Season to Buy From The Bush

The lead up to Christmas is a pivotal time for small businesses in the bush. Last year, the Buy From The Bush (BFTB) marketplace turned over more than $600,000 dollars in November alone.[ii]

“Buy From The Bush helps you discover unique gifts that you wouldn't stumble across in a mall or high street store. Much of it is hand-crafted and sourced locally. We curate the very best of stylish country store finds in one easy platform. The best bit is knowing that your gift helps to generate cashflow, create jobs and provide opportunity for small rural communities across Australia,” said Ms Brennan.

This year it’s expected that November and the lead up to Christmas will again be the platform’s top selling period as Aussies look to businesses on the land for unique and beautiful Australian gifts. The Buy From the Bush team are hoping people across the county will support the bush this holiday season while nabbing some stunning home-grown prezzies.

Meet one of the BFTB sellers:  Washpool Skin Wellness

Melissa Thomas of
Melissa Thomas of Washpool Skin Wellness

Living in the tiny township of Ballandean in rural Queensland, mother and daughter team Melissa and Emily Thomas run a family-owned natural, eco-friendly skincare and low-tox home products brand, Washpool Skin Wellness. They develop, create, bottle, package and label all their products on site at their family-run soaperie.

In late 2019, Washpool Skin Wellness had a heavy reliance on storefront sales which accounted for about 75% of trade. That same year was the peak of a five-year drought, then bushfires arrived in December and Melissa’s husband was drawn away from the business by his role as a volunteer firefighter. Heading into 2020, the family thought about closing their doors and laying people off until the next Winter season.

“By selling our products on the BFTB Marketplace, Washpool Skin Wellness went from being a side income stream to a business that not only supports our own family but those of our wonderful staff as well. We joined the Marketplace when it started in October 2020 and daily average orders shot up 50% in the first two months alone.

“Supporting small producers like Washpool has an incredible ripple effect that impacts small rural communities like ours, boosting the local economy and the spirits of our employees and their families,” said Emily Thomas.

The BFTB x PayPal Story

Launched in October 2019 as an Instagram account showcasing the beautiful things available to buy from rural communities facing drought, Buy From The Bush has evolved into a nationwide movement that promotes the products and services from rural small businesses across Facebook and Instagram (~487000, followers).

In 2019, PayPal Australia partnered with Buy From The Bush to feature a directory of twenty rural small businesses on the PayPal website and promote them via PayPal’s marketing program ahead of the festive season. Then in October 2020, PayPal became the founding sponsor of the movement, bringing together PayPal’s eCommerce expertise and BFTB’s network of authentic bush businesses to launch the BFTB Marketplace.

In September 2021, Buy From The Bush in partnership with PayPal Australia launched the inaugural Buy From The Bush – Big Break online business pitch competition. The competition called for Australians in the bush with big business ideas to enter for their chance to win a share of $60,00 prize pool with a first prize of $30,000.  The judging panel is still evaluating entries, winners to be announced soon, but why not have a look at the finalists and vote for the People’s Choice award.


[i] Data from BFTB Marketplace

[ii] Data from BFTB Marketplace

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