Whether you’ve been living in South Australia (or anywhere in Australia, really), then there is no doubt that you’d be well aware of the pure devastation that the recent bushfires have caused around the State and the country. In South Australia, it happened less than 48 hours before the Gathered SA Market (Lobethal edition) was going to kick off. Being just before Christmas, there were a lot of individuals and businesses who were directly and indirectly affected by the fires. So, in light of the recent tragic and challenging times we’ve had, the market will be back next weekend, where businesses and individuals will come together to help the Adelaide Hills community rebuild and re-focus for a better prospect for the rest of the year.
I want to take a moment to introduce to you two very beautiful people who have quickly become friends to me in less than a year since meeting them at the Gathered SA Market last year – Christine and Ewen Maxwell. They are a couple (of crazy cats) who are running two successful businesses – BeSpoke2 and See Design.
If you’ve been following my blog / my socials for a while now, then you’ll know that I’m a sucker for personalized goodies for myself and my friends. More often times than not, I tend to drop a quarter of my savings towards BeSpoke2 – and there’s a reason why! Their products boast of a top quality finish, it’s a unique pressie idea for that special someone, it’s a great way to treat yo’self, and generally speaking, I’m all about supporting local when the aforementioned features exist at its prime.
While I have shared with you one-half of their business venture, here’s the story of their other business – See Design – which works as a form of brand coaching and helps their users find the optimum way to get the most out of their skillset (and their personality) through their business. Have a read of our Q&A below:
Tema: First off – how are you and Ewen doing? How is everything going since the devastating bushfires that swept through the Hills?
Christine & Ewen: We are well. We aim to remain positive and the bushfires, CFS resources with the community has not deterred us to live anywhere else.
Tema: What was it like for you when the major bushfires took over the community? What were your initial thoughts?
Christine & Ewen: I live in Lenswood and we are a small township – actually, we are classed as a village, because I believe there are only around 400 of us.. so for a small village with a general store / post office surrounded by orchards and vineyards, I thought we were safer than others. I was told that as we have one of the highest rainfalls in South Australia and the orchards and vineyards around us get watered frequently, we would be likely to be okay. However, it illustrated quickly and horrifically how a single tree falling, a couple of dry seasons for the surrounding lands and catastrophic weather should be taken seriously.
Tema: How do you think it has impacted on the community?
Christine & Ewen: I have personally seen the community rise above the fireground and help its fellow man in so many ways – from fundraisers, after-school care and affected children catch-ups, hampers, handouts and working bees. I started a Go Fund Me Campaign for Shayne Boyle – a local who lives up the road from us and know his beautiful wife Jess (I coach her @RusticWren) and her girls (all under 10) go to our primary school with our kids. Shayne was severely burnt in the Cudlee Creek Bushfires while protecting a neighbour’s land. We raised our goal of $25K within three days and we are now up to $34+K. As a 7th Generation Lenswood Local family, it illustrated to me how loved they are and how much they love contributing to our community. It was overwhelming for me to see this kindness and generosity unfold, as we have only recently moved to the Adelaide Hills, but I feel like it’s been my home for years. Our community is kind, practical, and giving of its time, care, money, but most importantly love.
Tema: What are some ways in which you think our community can come together to help with the repair and rebuild of our beautiful Hills region?
Christine & Ewen: The Book Them Out campaign is just one perfect example of support. That’s great for the retail side of things, but choosing local (particularly the Adelaide Hills) makes for an enriched solution. Buy our fruit – Lenswood Apples, pears, cherries, our services in consulting, building, beauty, and handmade products (to name a few).
Tema: Would you like to tell us a bit about your business – See Design?
Christine & Ewen: See Design is all about enlightening and empowering business and personal brands. Aside from working with a huge variety of international, national and our favourite local SA Businesses, a passion of ours is to design and market your own personal brand. What makes us very different from other studios is that as your Brand Coach, I (Christine) specialise in showing women how they can profit from their passion and personality through our unique Brand Coaching Modules and build on this through our sessions. We love seeing and experiencing real transformations through coaching and designs. It doesn’t stop there – if you need to workshop and strategise on your business or personal brand, or a advertising campaign to market and promote, a product that needs designing or a new logo identity – our boutique multidisciplinary studio is for you. We also love embracing Local SA Brands – we are surrounded by an inspiring and rich resource.
Tema: What role is See Design playing in the upcoming Gathered SA market?
Christine & Ewen: Having seen the initial fallout of the Lobethal Gathered Markets and being personally affected because of the bushfires, it was a good time to show how even one person can help towards their own community. I will be helping by sponsoring and working together with Jenna from Gathered, along with the fabulous women who run Fabrik; who are also from the Adelaide Hills Council. I will be creating the Re-Gathered Marketing, Design, advertising campaign, and have been spending the past few weeks walking up the Main Street of Lobethal, talking to the local businesses owners, and giving them ideas on how they can participate. When you attend the Market next weekend, make sure you check out our Re-Gathered Giving Guide that showcases what the Gathered Community has to offer, together with a map of the Main Street of Lobethal and the business offerings, sales and fundraising activities. It’s been a lot of work for a short period of time, but it’s been a joy to see how the community wants to give back and help each other.
Tema: How do you juggle balancing out the running of See Design, BeSpoke2, and family life all in one?
Christine & Ewen: Ewen and I are a great circus act (laughs). We love juggling! Balance to us is all about support – support of family, of friends and our community. The more support we have, the better we can balance the two businesses and young family. It’s not easy, but as a Coach, we have to practice what we preach. So, we always value doing the work we love, with people we really like and the way we want to do it.
Tema: How do you feel about being part of the upcoming Gathered SA market next weekend?
Christine & Ewen: As a sponsor for See Design, we are really proud to be from conception to carrier of such an event. As a stallholder too (with BeSpoke2), we really love connecting with the Gathered Community and Design Collective and our own Adelaide Hills Community. I have a couple of clients participating at the Market, who have been affected greatly by the bushfires and it is an opportunity for further growth and rebuilding – not just for income, but for confidence too. A disaster of this magnitude has the power to take a toll on your mindset for re-growth. However, a positive injection in any form (as far as a contribution) goes a very long way for small creatives and businesses.
Tema: What are you hoping for the market to contribute towards the Hills community, in light of the recent devastating fires that swept through the area(s)?
Christine & Ewen: The Re-Gathered Market is also a small start in promoting the value of Lobethal and surrounding small Adelaide Hills towns. It starts with us. If you want to change the way people see you as a community, it starts with you. It’s an important step in helping redefine what Lobethal has to uniquely offer and the rich tapestry of local businesses and creatives that have a passion to ignite the town with collaboration, curiosity, and care – the best way possible – away from the bushfires.
Tema: What would you like people to expect when driving up to the Hills next weekend?
Christine & Ewen: Despite the fresh patches of black and brown that have taken over parts of our beautiful Hills landscape, make sure you take the time to see amazing boutique business, creatives, cafes, restaurants, and fruit and wine producers who colour and contribute to our community in a major way.
Tema: What are some things they should do during their time there?
Christine & Ewen: Check out the Giving Guide at Re-Gathered, make an entry donation to the CFS, participate in the silent auctions, walk up the main street of Lobethal, check out the different workshops and front porch fundraisers and come and see us at BeSpoke2. Please don’t be shy and introduce yourselves (and get something personalised)!
Tema: How can they / we contribute towards the community there?
Christine & Ewen: It’s simple really – Buy, Shop, Eat and Drink local. Any of these actions mean the world to the livelihoods of business owners – and refer! Refer a business, promote, be a fan – not just a one-time fan, but a genuine follower, and talk to us business owners. We are all about making a great and good impact and we know how much we love working or giving to people who we really like. Share your ideas – inspiration can come from connection and it is amazing to see the many ways that people want to serve in a meaningful form.
Tema: Is there anything else that you’d like us to know about yourself and your business(es)?
Christine & Ewen: We really believe people’s work is a gift and so we want to harness and showcase that. At www.seedesign.com.au, check out what others have to say about us, check out our design works, book a complimentary strategy chat or check out www.bespoke2.com for – you guessed it – bespoke prints and gifts that are faithfully designed for all kinds of causes. And thank you always for supporting local.
Christine and Ewen Maxwell from See Design and BeSpoke2 will be participating at the Gathered SA Market in Lobethal on February 8 + 9, 2020.