Bingara Wattle Arts & Crafts is Destination Diversity.
Covid-19 lock downs kill diversity and the lack of diversity kills towns.
Sure, essential businesses keep the commercial clock ticking over, but diversity suffers. And, towns drift backwards.
The evidence is stark.
The equation is simple, diversity creates differences and differences bring visitors.
Bingara is a diverse town, the brand is strong and people head there with a purpose. And, one of the many draw cards is to browse the diversity of the non essential shops.
Bingara Wattle Arts and Crafts is a fine example of a diverse shop.
Alone Bingara Wattle Arts and Crafts doesn’t make a huge difference. However, when grouped with others in Maitland Street, it forms a key attraction for destination Bingara.
The other side of the diversity equation is human capital, a bland name used by economists to describe people. Organisations rise or fall on the quality of their people; they are the glue that holds it together.
In the context of Bingara Wattle Arts and Crafts, the people are exceptional.
Just drop in any time and you will walk out convinced.
The ladies of Bingara Wattle Arts & Crafts.
The ladies of Bingara Wattle are busy, relaxed, involved and committed to their cooperative.
Walk in any day and you will greeted by some of the volunteers, Gail, Lee, Lynne, Shirley, Pam or Helen. The faces may be diverse, but the welcome greeting will always be the same.
And, they love to talk about destination Bingara, a diverse town they moved to when looking for change.
Change, why move?
All the ladies were attracted by a wide range of reasons, and they stayed.
Gail visited Bingara in 2011 and attended a performance by Lexi Hutton at the Roxy. She decided to stay.
Lee arrived in 2012, drawn by ‘the nice quiet place and the river.’
Lynne has just chalked up 30 years after working in the city for many years. She made the change in 1991.
For Shirley it was about the geographic position between families, the rural life and the river.
Pam had spent eight years travelling, liked Bingara, and simply stayed to soak up the positives.
It was also the river for Helen. She just felt Bingara was a ‘perfect place to settle.’
However, Bingara Wattle Arts and Crafts is much more than these ladies as they represent the sixty members of the cooperative.
While the local volunteers are the face of the organisation, it would not exist without the diversity of lovingly hand crafted creations.
The members, from all over Australia, are the engine room. They are the talented people who provide the diversity needed to attract customers.
And the message for those who have not called in for a while is that the display of crafted items is extraordinary.
The business structure is simple.
The members provide their creations on consignment at a set price. Bingara Wattle Arts and Crafts add a margin to cover costs and make a small profit.
Once an item is sold, the member is paid and the profits retained for donations to local charities. Many thousands have been donated to charities over the past 10 years.
The key to success is member engagement.
Personal engagement is critical and it maintains the diverse stock available to local and visiting shoppers.
The volunteers speak of their special relationships.
‘Our members always aim to please. If we get asked for a particular item, we contact the member that could make the item happen. They are only too pleased to be able to fulfil the request.
It is a pleasure dealing with all our members and they treat us like family. Also what is great is their talent and enthusiasm for old fashion crafts.
Shoppers love our wide range of hand crafted items’
The cooperative was established in 2011 and as membership grew, so did the challenge of finding display areas. Therefore, the recent opportunity of moving to a bigger shop was accepted with open arms.
The move from a single shop to a double shop in the Emporium complex is really a new beginning. Despite the physical challenge of moving, the ladies are absolutely delighted with the result.
The spacious floor space allows relaxed, easy browsing and the shop is very people friendly.
All the feedback is very positive:
‘People, either the travellers or locals, are so friendly. And they admire our great range of items and it gives us a very good feeling.
They love the great diversity and how well made our craft is. Also the products are really interesting, as are the people who call.’
With the support of their members and the community, the ladies are very optimistic about the future.
Despite the ongoing impact of Covid 19, there are plenty of positive thoughts about Bingara and Bingara Wattle Arts and Crafts.
Also, a most unexpected benefit arising from the impact of Covid 19 is the mental health aspect. The volunteers found all those associated with the shop enjoyed the friendship and support of each other.
Being able to keep in contact, talk about their common needs and aspirations lifted spirits. Everyone had “buddies” with common purpose and no one was left alone to face the lock downs.
Thus, all associated with Bingara Wattle Arts & Crafts, are mentally strong to meet any further tough times.
With this, all are positive and looking forward to the future.
The general agreement is that Bingara will continue to grow and support its citizens. People are always looking for a more peaceful and less hectic lifestyles, and many will leave cities and big regional towns.
Bingara has lots to offer these people.
Also, the ladies are really excited that their craft shop is ready for the future.
‘We will continue to welcome both locals and visitors and we enjoy chatting with new people. Our suppliers are incredibly talented and very responsive to our customer’s needs.
However, we are always looking for new members and more diverse range of hand crafted products. Our doors are open seven days weekly and everyone is welcome to drop in.
Contact details are:
Bingara Wattle Arts & Crafts
60 Maitland Street
Bingara. NSW 2404
Phone 0418 650 413, 0428 392 662, 0457 004 915, 0429 121 848