BENDIGO entrepreneurs are crediting the success of their new businesses to a free pop-up space in the Bendigo CBD.
Kerry McCuskey started her business Tea Associates in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. She said the Bendigo Bank pop up space on Mitchell Street helped her business get off the ground.
"I retired from the corporate world during COVID and I was playing with the idea of my own business for a few years," Kerry said. "I decided to go into it full time.
"I was offered a spot in the pop up shop at Bendigo Bank. It's been absolutely amazing.
"It allowed me to connect with small businesses and makers in Bendigo, and it allowed Bendigo people to see what I've got."
Illustrator Bree Galvin also launched her business This Is Me, Bree during the coronavirus lockdown in 2020.
"It was a real struck by lightning 'aha' moment," she said. "I was driving around and realised what a fabulous city we live in. There is so much to draw and get down on paper.
"I posted my work on Instagram quite nervously, but people really reacted to it. It was very early in my business - I had only done a couple of illustrations - when I saw the pop-up space on Instagram.
"I was very nervous but I reached out and asked if there were any spaces. The Bendigo Bank staff have been so welcoming."
Bree and Kerry met each other through the pop-up space and became fast friends.
The pair decided to collaborate this Mother's Day with a new gift case series featuring all of their best products.
"I loved her products and what she did," Kerry said. "We have been talking about what we could do together."
The cases, which come in two different sizes, feature a variety of different Bendigo teas, an illustrated tea towel or lens cloth, soaps, and sweet treats.
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All of the various items and packaging in the cases are also made up of biodegradable, reusable, or organic materials.
Bree said it was great to collaborate with other Bendigo business.
"It's been a mutually beneficial relationship," she said. "We're going to work fairly closely together for some time to come."
Bree said the Mother's Day gift cases would never have happened if it wasn't for the pop-up space.
"Bendigo Bank has a reputation of being a community bank but this is a serious example of that," she said.
"The space is for free and is purely there to support local businesses and artists. I have been gobsmacked by the support. It's just been sensational."
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