It’s no secret that this year has been rough on local businesses. From complete industry shutdowns, to a loss of international clients and travel bans, many people have been hit hard, and forced to pivot in their careers. Almost one year since the start of Perth’s lockdown, we reached out to a selection of innovative, women owned local businesses founded during the COVID-19 Pandemic, asking them in their own words, what this year has been like for their business. Be sure to support local and check them out!

Each of these women are passionate about their businesses, and have turned around from a point of adversity, creating something new, igniting their passions, and are sharing them with the world.

Little White Wedding Book by Alice Heydon

Little White Wedding Book had been in my head for a long time before COVID begun, but when lockdown struck it was clear that there was certainly something missing from the market in our local wedding industry. The Little White Wedding Book app helps you navigate one of the most stressful and emotional days of your life by presenting you with every little detail to track.

When COVID hit, couples didn’t understand what was going on, didn’t understand why their vendors weren’t refunding them, and didn’t know how to continue or transition the plans they’d already made. There was a lack of respect for their chosen vendor’s businesses, and acknowledgement of the work that had already been completed. I started on my own business platform Alice Heydon Events trying to educate couples to the what’s, why’s and how’s of wedding planning but knew it had scalability.  I knew there were a lot of wedding planning apps out there but there did not seem to be anything for couples that not only had all of the planning documents and spreadsheets, but also the reasons and explanations behind everything.

COVID has affected what I do on a holistic level.  Understanding and appreciating the struggles of couples currently certainly makes you a lot more patient and empathetic with clients.  It makes you look at the level of service you give, making sure that everyone is on the same page, everyone has all the information and understands your processes.  On a practical level, I had a serious look at my contracts and put important boundaries in place that make me respect my own worth as a supplier, but also my clients and their place within my business.  I can guarantee many others have had to do the same.

I have worked in the hospitality industry since I was 15, but I kept coming back to weddings and events.  Because I love them.  I love the process, the design, and the creativity that’s needed. I love thinking outside the box to make each event unique and special to each client.  With Little White Wedding Book slowly coming to fruition over the last 12 months, I realised that I also love to teach and empower others to be able to plan their own weddings.

There is something so satisfying knowing that you might be able to play a small part in such an important part of a couple’s lives, helping them to achieve their dreams with a little guidance.

Check out their Instagram here.

Leola Co by Carissa Sebo

My business is a handmade pet accessory brand, we sell everything from dog bandanas, bow ties, collars and leads, to hair scrunchies for humans to match.

My business began just before COVID as my side hobby to cure boredom and constant want to go shopping! Being stood down from my job as a flight attendant meant that I had so much time on my hands, and very little income through JobKeeper, so I needed to ramp up my brand to support my husband and I financially.

The thing that inspires me to continue to grow Leola Co is the return customers. We feel like a family. They are so incredibly passionate and supportive of Leola Co, and that motivates me every day to constantly improve and expand the range we have available. I turned my side hustle into a successful business and we now have a shop space and employ three staff!

Visit their Instagram page here.

L’etagere by Kathryn Neale 

L’etagere is an online store concept conceived during the pandemic which delivers international independent designers to the Australian market.

I’d returned from a design study tour in Lisbon, Portugal with UWA back in February of last year- just prior to Perth’s first COVID lockdown. Inspired by the European approach to thoughtful design and slow fashion, I returned to Perth feeling a sense of nostalgia for their way of life.

It seemed a risky and strange time to not only be launching a business during a pandemic, but also one that established its foundations in the culture and place of the rest of the world. Whilst we are grounded at home, our passion and love for international culture remains strong, and this is what drives me to deliver on this business idea.

Venturing into the realm of owning a business is daunting, but has allowed me a sense of purpose to bring good, thoughtful design to our local market.

Visit their Instagram page here.

Miller Rose Botanic by Tahnee Skowron

I’m a Perth self-taught succulent designer who creates succulent arrangements and uses succulents in bouquets and headpieces. All succulents used can be replanted after your event and will continue growing, the perfect eco-friendly option!

I was home on maternity leave with my (at the time) 5 month old daughter. I was blessed with a great sleeping baby so when we had to isolate due to COVID I found I was getting extremely bored staying home all day, and needed something to keep me busy.

It was just before Mother’s Day, and my mum suggested I make succulent arrangements. Despite being a plant person, I had never made one before but thought why not? I made a few arrangements and to my surprise, they all sold! From there my hobby quickly turned into a small business and I have started making what I love, replantable bouquets and headpieces.

Without COVID I never would have found this talent/passion I have! I feel like starting my business during COVID made it a little easier. It gave me the time to find my feet and start slow.

Without sounding cliché, nature really inspires me. We are so incredibly lucky to live in such a beautiful place, so I love using natives along with succulents to create something beautiful.

Visit their Instagram page here.

La Mar Art by Rachel

La Mar Art creates ocean-inspired, hand-poured Resin Homewares including grazing boards, cheese boards, coasters, candles & more! We also run bi-weekly Resin Workshops in North Beach where we teach small-groups how to create their own beautiful resin pieces in a fun & friendly environment – no experience necessary.

My business was created during COVID due to an unfortunate (or fortunate) redundancy from my corporate HR gig. During this time, I returned fast to my creative passions whilst I tried to figure out my next career step during a global pandemic.

A firm believer in “everything happens for a reason”, La Mar Art started as a hobby and fast grew into a full-time hustle. I quickly realised there was a solid interest in my pieces and thus created my business only weeks later!

I believe COVID has helped my business flourish greatly, as many Australians have opted to support local businesses and had more time to delve into their own creative hobbies/interests.

Aesthetically, I’m inspired by our beautiful coastline and the place we are so fortunate to be able to call home. I’m also inspired by the many beautiful people I get to meet in my workshops, and being able to re-spark their creativity (which is so often lost in adulthood) brings me great joy.

Visit her Instagram page here.

Thank you to the wonderful women featured on this blog, do be sure to support local, and praise their innovation in a time of such hardship.