Shop small, travel local and do good this summer!

10 November, 2020
Shop local

We all like to shop local when we can. It helps keep small business moving and fellow Aussies in a job. And it’s more important than ever as we recover from the economic impacts of the coronavirus.  

This year has been tough, especially for some in regional Australia. There’s been drought, bushfires and floods in some parts. And that was followed by COVID-19, travel bans and the effects of the first recession in 30 years.  

In this episode of At Home with Lauren Keenan, your authority on home lifestyle and interior design, we talk about how you can help make a difference this summer by shopping small and travelling local.

Hear from Grace McBride from Spend with Them. It’s a massive social media movement profiling small businesses, food producers, designers and artisans in regional Australia affected by fires and the pandemic. 

We also take you to The Ruse, a very cool new mexican bar and restaurant on the NSW South Coast with beautiful interiors to find out how they’re getting ready for the summer ahead.

Thanks for listening to our award-winning home, lifestyle and interior design podcast. Stream the show here now or listen and subscribe in your favourite podcast app so you never miss an episode.


Back in January, when Australia was suffering through one of its worst bushfire crises, Turia Pitt and Grace McBride created Spend with Them.

Within 24 hours they had around 50,000 followers and now the account has around 200,000 supporters all wanting to help local businesses survive and thrive. Since then they’ve been showcasing the Aussie brands and small businesses most affected by the disaster.

Turia is an inspiration for many Australians, having recovered from terrible injuries she suffered during a fire in an ultramarathon in Western Australia in 2011. She has since gone on to recover from horrific burns and injuries, had two children and conquered some amazing physical feats.

But Spend with Them could be one of the most important things the NSW South Coast resident has done. Because it’s helping so many people when they are in need. 

“It was a really stressful time. Our town was completely surrounded by bushfires for a number of weeks. The highways were closed, we had no power, no phone reception, “Grace McBride said.

“It was a stark reminder of how wild things can turn. Friends were losing their homes. We had a whole community just north of us that was wiped out by fire.

“We’re a tourist town. Like many towns up and down the coast of Australia, we rely on that tourist trade to get through most of the year. So to see our friend’s businesses empty at the time they’re usually making up their income for the whole year it was really stressful.

“Australians are amazing. The way that the community has rallied has been incredible. The re-build is happening. It’s feeling a lot more positive, but for people who have lost their homes and businesses it is still a really tough time.”   


While communities affected by bushfires are still being featured, Spend with Them has pivoted to feature small businesses hit by COVID-19 too.

“I can see it already. People are changing the way they think about buying and want to support small businesses and shop local. Seeing something like Spend with Them or Buy from the Bush during times of severe drought or fire makes us realise ‘wow, my dollar can have a big impact’,” Grace said.

“And I think that’s really motivating for shoppers, knowing that money that I would normally spend at the shops is going to have a greater impact on a family or a community somewhere else.”


There are so many good reasons to support local business and shop local. It makes you feel good. It helps our fellow Aussies and their families. And it helps us to grow our Australian economy and gives rise to great local products and services. 

So here are our top three tips for supporting local business and communities this summer. 

Shop small. 
We’re really passionate about Australian brands and small business. We’re a small business, for starters! But they’re often the heart of our communities, where we live and where we holiday. Cafes, bakeries, homewares stores. And there are so many small businesses emerging, growing and offering services and products online that need our support too. So think about where you shop and who you buy from. Shop small. Shop local. And see if you can’t share the love around a bit more this summer. 

Travel local. 
While there are still some travel bans between states, borders are slowly opening, which gives us all more options for places to travel. And there are so many great places to visit. Like the Adelaide Hills, the Snowy Mountains or the Sapphire Coast in Southern NSW, Daylesford in Victoria and the Sunshine Coast in Queensland. Wherever you choose for your summer holiday, get booking now. Demand for local tourism is up because we can’t travel overseas, so we strongly recommend getting organised now so you don’t miss out.  

Donate to charity. 
This is just a reminder to think about making a donation. It’s been a difficult year for a lot of people, with many still getting over the impact of bushfires and over a million Australians are still unemployed. If you’re planning a holiday, why not support a local charity in the location you’re visiting. Or donate 1 percent of the value of your trip to your favourite charitable organisation. Some of our favourite charities this year have included Vinnies for their work in bushfire affected communities and W.I.R.E.S. for their work helping our native animals to recover from the catastrophic fire season. 


Here are the links for Lauren’s Lovely List recommendations in this episode:

  • Buy new tablecloths from the team at Australian company Bed Threads in their new ‘Spreads’ range
  • Get ready for summer with beautiful UPF50+ beach umbrellas from Sunday Supply Co.  

If you’ve been listening to us for a while, you might have noticed our new podcast artwork!

Our award-winning interior design podcast, hosted by Sydney interior stylist Lauren Keenan, is now in its fifth year. Lauren and Producer Scott are helping you to adapt to new ways of doing things during the pandemic. And we want to keep helping you create a home you love.  

Get in touch if you have a topic you want us to talk about on At Home with Lauren Keenan. Rate and review the show on Apple Podcasts and subscribe in your favourite podcast app like Spotify or iHeartRadio so you never miss an episode. 

And email us if you want to hire Lauren to help create your perfect home, whether it’s building, renovating or just updating your favourite room. Find out more about the services offered at Lauren Keenan Home and check out Lauren’s portfolio of work for some inspiration. And thanks for listening!

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