How does it feel to give away money? Pretty good actually – especially when you are an Australian gift shop business whose purpose is to help community organisations by donating money to them.
Here at O Gosh Shop, we are pleased to report that we have given our first substantial cash donation to Women Illawarra in Wollongong. This is money we have raised in our online shop through sales of beautiful Australian handmade toys and games, accessories, organic skin care, grooming products, garden ornaments, homewares, stationery, bags, jewellery, art, scarves, wallets, puzzles, table linen, and household items – all manner of gift items (especially gifts for her) made by designers and artisans in Australia.
We value the talent and enterprise of local makers, so only sell products that are made in Australia, and we are not alone in thinking locally-made gifts are good value. At our pop-up shop in December, people came looking for gift ideas, and those seeking out presents to send overseas didn't want koalas produced in off-shore factories (i.e. typical souvenirs). Rather, they wanted something that was uniquely Australian and would remind the recipient of home or a holiday without screaming Aussie, Aussie, Aussie ...!
All our products are genuinely made in Australia, and embody the colour and flavour of our community. Browsing our fabulous selection, customers were delighted to find a kangaroo, koala, or baby wombat on hand printed, sustainable linen tea towels, and Australian-made table runners that feature the unique flora of the Australian bush. More than one person picked up a handmade, cuddly stuffed toy to be shipped to a new baby on the other side of the world.
Australians are clever people, and jewellery designed in Australia is innovative and surprising. Those browsing the range of necklaces, bracelets, and earrings were struck by the originality and quality of the pieces. Our beauty gift boxes, which people buy for themselves and their friends, include soaps made in Melbourne and a range of native botanical skin care made on country by Aboriginal women in the Northern Territory. Our products have been sourced from brands all over Australia, not just Sydney where the business is based. Bestsellers include linocuts by an Adelaide-based artist, metal garden ornaments from Tasmania, coasters made at the foot of the Snowy Mountains, and evocative Australian-scented beeswax candles made by hand on the Gold Coast.
Naturally, you can't be a champion of Australian-made without featuring local animals or birds. People love to adorn their walls with art prints and photographs that feature cockatoos, kookaburras, magpies, cute animals, and the Australian landscape, especially as prints are a good way to buy art at a reasonable price. Of course, the Australian-themed Christmas cards and our collection of hand printed cards, all sourced from like-minded ethical businesses, were a hit. This year, we'll have (made in Australia) calendars too.
The gift of money
Enough about us, let's talk about the group that received our first donation (or gift of money). We know from our time doing volunteer work that many small community or cultural organisations are held back by a lack of funds. Income received through competitive government grants and sponsorship, generally has to be used for a specific purpose, and this leaves organisations without many options when they want to try something new.
The world is full of problems and our small contribution can't solve everything, but it can help with some things. Our aim, as a purpose-driven business, is to give away money that helps the community thrive. We're using commerce to make the world a better place. You could say we sell gifts that keep on giving.
We decided to give this first donation to Women Illawarra because they have a creative approach to helping women and families; they recognise that people need more than food and shelter; they place an emphasis on bringing people in the community together for the benefit of each other.
Since its inception in 1979, Women Illawarra has been instrumental in the foundation of many women's services in the NSW coastal region between the mountains and the sea, immediately south of Sydney. Operating as a not-for-profit charity, the organisation works to empower women and children by providing support, community programs, and a range of services.
Those community programs include free creative classes in craft, language, and gardening. O Gosh is pleased to be able to fund additional art and craft activities, which is a wonderful way to bring women together through creativity, conversation and community.
In accepting the donation, Women Illawarra General Manager, Michelle Glasgow, said "We work to empower women and children, striving to create a world where they feel safe, valued, respected and have a sense of belonging. We do this through providing opportunities to participate more fully in the community, reducing social isolation, discrimination and disconnection, whilst facilitating knowledge, skills and personal growth and development."
This is completely aligned with our intention to foster a thriving, sustainable community. Michelle continued, "Money donated to us by O Gosh, will go directly to providing additional arts and crafts groups, free of charge, to women in our community who otherwise would not have access to these activities. Creativity and connection are crucial to a sense of wellbeing, and we are so happy to have your support."
What a perfect match is that! Our donation will give many women the opportunity to learn new art or craft skills in a supportive social environment, so that they can better participate in society. And who knows, some may take it further, learn more, and go on to make beautiful Australian objects that can be stocked at O Gosh.
More about us
O Gosh sells beautiful products from Australian makers, designers, and artists committed to local production, a sustainable future, and ethical business practices. We have Australian made gifts for her, gifts for him, gifts for them, and for you. Gifts for all occasions!
People who make buying choices every day want to support local producers and sustainable, ethtical businesses. We're delighted that many have decided to spend with O Gosh when looking for a product or special gift for family members and friends.
Our donation to Women Illawarra was $1000 which was made up of 5% of sales revenue from our first few months of trading, additional donations from generous customers, and a little extra from O Gosh to make it a round number.
Our store is open online every day of the week and accepts credit cards and Paypal. We offer flat rate shipping and orders are sent out Monday to Friday, with delivery by Australia Post. We can gift wrap for you and add one of our greeting cards or birthday cards - all made in Australia - to complement our eco-friendly wrapping paper.
Read more about the great work being done by Women Illawarra, a community organisation run by women, for women
Come browsing on our site today and, while you're there, sign up for our Newsletter to hear more good news.
Image at the top of the page shows Bush scented beeswax tealight candles