What do Queensland fruit packers The Wholesale Fruit Company and software giant Atlassian have in common? While they make strange bedfellows, the two Australian businesses have both weathered tough times, including financial crises.
Look into other savvy businesses too and you'll notice a common theme. Often the ones that survive great hardship are not the largest or the strongest, but the most adaptable to change.
Right now, businesses in Brisbane are facing arguably their toughest challenge. The coronavirus pandemic has been a game-changer and Council is committed to helping businesses and protecting local jobs, with a range of support, resources and information available.
While times are tough now, we know our city is resilient. Local businesses are thinking outside the square to devise new ways to deliver their products and services.
Here are just a couple of local Brisbane businesses who have faced the challenge head on and have inspired us with their creativity.
Feeding the people
The Wholesale Fruit Company has been feeding Brisbane’s hospitality sector for more than 35 years. With many of their customers closed, or scaling back operations, the family-owned and operated wholesaler has shifted its focus to providing fresh produce boxes to the public.
“We have just had to go into survival mode,” says daughter and Customer Relations Manager, Natasha Bensted.
“We are an essential service and we are based out of Brisbane Markets, so we thought, what can we do with the fruit and vegetables, and really it was a no brainer.”
Natasha says she initially put the idea out on social media and wasn’t expecting such an enormous response.
“I’ve just been overwhelmed by the support for my family. Really, I feel privileged to be able to feed people, whether it be business or residential.”
Making the move
Since opening her yoga studio in Indooroopilly six months ago, flexibility has been key for Movement Vitality founder Virginia Corpus-McDermott. She’s now live streaming all her classes, allowing students to practice from the comfort of their home or workplace.
“It’s an opportunity,” Virginia says.
“We have a small studio, so we have a small community and really I just wanted to serve them and make sure they got their meditation and breathing.”
Virginia says she’s heartened by the support, and not just from existing clients.
“What I soon realised was that it wasn’t just our current students dialling in. People see me on social media and think ‘hey, I’m going to give this thing a go.’”
Virginia believes an important part of adapting to change in business is keeping an open mind.
“Be creative and listen to your staff and your customers. Know you are not alone. You have formed a community as a business, and they want to see you succeed.”
Doing it in style
As a style coach and personal branding specialist, Majella McMahon knows a thing or two about transformation. She’s embraced the switch to digital, offering online shopping consultations, professional styling sessions and video wardrobe detoxes through her business The Stylery Co.
“The foundation of my business hasn’t changed,” Majella explains.
“My ethos has always been around helping people feel their best, it’s just we’re finding new ways of communicating. If someone wants to buy new clothing, or support local businesses, we can do a virtual shopping session in place of an in-person consultation.”
Majella says as well as adapting the way she conducts business, she’s finding the type of services her clients are wanting is changing too.
“I don’t think people are seeking to consume at the moment. More people are working from home and finding themselves having to conduct video calls and meetings, so the focus really has shifted to virtual style and how to communicate successfully and confidently in the digital space.”
Love for our local businesses
Our businesses are an essential part of what makes Brisbane a vibrant and unique place to live, work and relax. As we continue to face the unprecedented impacts of coronavirus, it’s important we come together to support those affected.
For the latest coronavirus news and information, head to Coronavirus: Support for Brisbane businesses.