Voice of Real Australia: Passions to profits: Rural women turning hobbies into businesses

Clockwise from top left: Suz Seniore and her daughters; Pippa and Zoe Ebsworth modelling their mother Michelle's clothing line, and Emily Cousins.
Clockwise from top left: Suz Seniore and her daughters; Pippa and Zoe Ebsworth modelling their mother Michelle's clothing line, and Emily Cousins.

They say necessity is the mother of invention and so it has been for these three talented women from across Australia who turned their hobbies and talents into growing businesses.

Despite lockdowns and isolation - or perhaps because of it - this new generation of business is thriving in regional Australia.

In south-west Queensland, mother of two Michelle Ebsworth found herself expanding her business Sunday's Belle, doing the opposite of a lot of businesses during COVID-19 and moving from online to actually opening a physical store.

"Through the coronavirus lockdown, it actually got busier," Ms Ebsworth said.

"Perhaps more people were shopping online or they were buying fewer clothes but nicer quality.

"It got busier and busier and the fabric was taking over our home."

As demand for her vintage-inspired children's clothing boomed and the fabric started taking over the family home, she moved to a shopfront in Charleville - opening The Faraway Tree in September.

In Victoria a skill passed from mother to daughter has turned into a successful business for Suz Seniore. She designs sewing patterns for girls, women and dolls.

Her Instagram page, sewpony, has attracted more than 11,000 followers and her patterns have been sold around the world.

"Every design you make you have to get people to test it out. So through social media I created a form for people to fill out and to test it. You have all the sizes tested," Mrs Seniore told The Standard.

"I have about 20 patterns for girls, some are unisex and a few are also for women."

Over in Western Australia, when Emily Cousins moved from Perth to Corrigin in WA's central wheatbelt region, she knew no one and started looking for a hobby to keep herself busy while her husband was out working on the farm.

Always obsessed with fashion and accessories, Ms Cousins starting mucking around with polymer clay and before long had launched an Instagram page selling her earrings.

"Looking back at me as a kid, I always loved fashion and getting dressed up, so creating statement earrings was the perfect hobby for me," she said.

However it's grown past that and is now at a point that when partner Jake Tuner comes home and wants to spend time with her, she's often busy creating new designs or making orders for people.

I tip my hat to these women who've turned passions into profits.

Voice of Real Australia is a regular newsletter from ACM, which has journalists in every state and territory. Sign up here to get it by email, or here to forward it to a friend.

In case you are interested in filtering all the latest down to just one late afternoon read, why not sign up for The Informer newsletter?

More stuff happening around Australia ...