Marketing and social media advice have been two of the most requested types of help through our Help a Small Biz project to help bushfire-affected small businesses get back up trading again.

The match between Sarah from Gallery Lavande and John O’Keefe from O’Keefe Communications is one of our best success stories.

Gallery Lavande is a glass art gallery in the small town of Bright in Alpine Victoria. Sarah is the owner and she handmakes unique ornaments while also running creative art workshops and classes for kids.

She relies heavily on tourism in the summer months to support her business and the bushfires meant that Bright and surrounds were evacuated in January and then tourists were unable to return throughout the year due to Covid-19.

Sarah reached out to Help a Small Biz to ask for some marketing and business strategy help to get her business ready for the easing of restrictions and return of customers.

We were able to match her to journalist and marketing expert, John O’Keefe, who was ready and willing to donate his time to help Sarah.

After they first connected he said ‘I was very happy with the connection, Sarah and I had a long chat, I wrote a Marketing report and we decided to start an editorial publicity campaign’.

As it turns out, it was a perfect match as John was able to get Gallery Lavande editorial coverage in local and national media including the Weekly Times, Alpine Radio, ABC Garden magazine, Country Life, Vasili’s Garden, Herald Sun and Canberra Weekly to name a few.

They have even established a working relationship outside the project and John as signed on to provide a marketing service to Sarah for the next 12 months.

He said that he “knew we were onto a winner when I showed Sarah’s products to editors and her story and images have graced pages of national lifestyle magazines, front covers, radio interviews and our campaign is only just beginning’.

Sarah said that ‘the help I have received so far has been amazing,’ and that ‘John has been an amazing influence on our business creating many opportunities for exposure in both Victoria and NSW. We are looking forward to continue working with John in the future.’

Help a Small Biz allowed these two businesses to connect and establish a relationship that will extend beyond the scope of the project to help Gallery Lavande get back on its feet after this year of compounding disasters.

Are you a small business directly and indirectly impacted by the bushfires who needs help?

To request help, small businesses complete this simple form

To offer help, business employees complete this simple form

Suitable businesses will then be paired with business “buddies’’ who will help address their needs so they can recommence trading and go on to thrive.