ISOLATION INSPIRATION: Cannon Valley woman Meredith Kirkham has started a new business in the wake of COVID-19.
ISOLATION INSPIRATION: Cannon Valley woman Meredith Kirkham has started a new business in the wake of COVID-19.

The Whitsunday business born in isolation

A WHITSUNDAY woman has turned her time in isolation into a new business which highlights and celebrates local small businesses.

Cannon Valley woman Meredith Kirkham wasn't sure how to handle the downtime given to her when she was stood down from her part-time role at Cruise Whitsundays due to the coronavirus downturn.

But the mother-of-one looked in the face of adversity and used the time to start a business idea she had planned in her head for a decade - one that would directly help the businesses she regularly used.

Her idea was Whitsunday Gifts, a business that sells unique gift hampers with its contents 90 per cent sourced from Whitsunday businesses. 

The hampers ranged from small and subtle to "the show stopper", as Ms Kirkham calls it and seek to highlight the great products sold in the region.

"I've always wanted to start something and go out on my own, but it's always been so hard to find that extra time to get it off the ground," she said.

ISOLATION INSPIRATION: Cannon Valley woman Meredith Kirkham has started a new business in the wake of COVID-19.
ISOLATION INSPIRATION: Cannon Valley woman Meredith Kirkham has started a new business in the wake of COVID-19.

"The isolation and spare time which came with the virus meant I had no excuse, and once I started the idea it just picked up momentum so quickly."

Ms Kirkham said once a supplier was on board, they would recommend another supplier and "within a week" she had an ABN and was preparing a website.

Although coronavirus measures had closed the doors of some businesses and made meeting suppliers difficult, the Whitsunday community worked to accommodate Ms Kirkham.

"I've had people drop their samples at the front door, or opened a shop up just for me so I can look at their stock," she said.

"It's so important to support our Whitsunday community at the moment and I'm trying to spread the word about some of the amazing people we have and their beautiful things they sell.

"It's so local and it feels like you're really connecting with the community. You're not buying online, or from some big company - it's from a local resident in our amazing community.

"It's a hard time for a lot of businesses, so if I can create a bit more reach for them and advertise them to a bigger audience than that's amazing."

Ms Kirkham's hampers are initially being tailored to Mother's Day, but her response has been "overwhelmingly positive" and she has already planned to expand her offerings.

Whitsunday Gifts is only offering local delivery at this stage, but is considering shipping a little bit of the Whitsundays in the future.

For more information on how to order, or the suppliers Whitsunday Gifts stocks and supports go to https://whitsundaygifts.com/


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