I am a big New Years resolutions person, but I must admit at the end of 2019 I struggled to wish for anything else but good health for our family after an up and down pregnancy with Westin. I didn’t care for losing weight, saving money, goals for BWC. I just wanted to be healthy and happy.
I’m going to show you through my crystal ball, what our year has looked and felt like personally and from a business perspective. It’s been a year I’ll never forget.
When I found out I was pregnant with Westin late July 2019, we knew things would be a little different this time around. Living in Middlemount meant lots of travel for midwife and doctor appointments. We did not know however that I would be experiencing a high risk pregnancy, and for rural women this can result in making huge decisions.
Luckily for us, we left a beautiful life in Townsville and there was something calling me back. I was due to return to my full time job as a project administration officer after having my maternity leave off with Clay, our dream home we had built was becoming vacant as our tenant was moving out, my sister is in Townsville and I had already missed 6 months of my nephews life. The stars were aligning, it was time to go back home.. for just a little bit.
Owning and growing a small business does not often allow for such big moves, we put lots of things in place to ensure Buck Wild Country could remain open and stay in Middlemount, for your orders to be sent out daily and all of the other magic behind the scenes to continue to flow without me. I’m not going to lie, it was hard to let go, to trust my work in other people’s hands but I had a beautiful friend, Shaunna & Brodie who made this whole process run so amazingly and to this day I am so grateful.
Back in Townsville, back working full time, struggling to find a daycare for Sadie and Clay, running BWC from afar, going through terrible twos and threes without your husband as Brodie remained in Middlemount, oh and being pregnant! I’m not going to lie, it was hard. But it’s the hard times like these that really make those who matter shine, and it was in this period we really were grateful for “our people”. They say it takes a village to raise a child, during this period our village showed up.
Although I was 8 hours away from our HQ and our stock, business did not stop in Townsville for Buck Wild Country. I was still busily planning Wild Hearts Can’t be Tamed campaign which was set to be released on my birthday 05 February 2020. After an amazing shoot which seemed like a life time ago, I was more than ready to start 2020 with a BANG! And a bang it was with a shoot that’ll probably go down in history as my all time favorite. Wild Hearts has since been so successful with more than a few restocks and ladies that can’t be tamed running wild in our amazing designs from this collection. It was everything I dreamt of and more, it was wild, I just wish I blew up a car for the gram.
It wasn’t long after this, baby Westin entered safely into this world. Finally I felt content knowing that he was healthy, I was healthy and life would be able to go back to normal with me moving back to Middlemount and finally being a family, together again. However, the universe had other plans and that same week we watched on as the prime minister announced that our country would go into lock down due to Corona Virus. Slowly we watched things as we knew it in Australia change drastically, from cancellations to major festivals like CMC to slowly schools, shopping centers. The world was staying home to stay safe.
There was so much unknown at the beginning and with a newborn we made some huge decisions once again. The decision was made for Brodie to return to work and for us to stay in Townsville. In my newborn bubble I did not immediately worry about business and the effects this would have on us but my heart hurt for those around me, especially my fellow small business owners I have connected with who had to stop business immediately. It was when CMC was cancelled I started to worry, usually one of our busiest times, cancelled. I strategically planned Wild Hearts collection to be released in time for a festival that is no longer. Where will people wear Buck Wild if you cannot go anywhere!?
I did a market plan and really worked hard to keep business running as usual even through a pandemic. I connected with other businesses and leant my shoulder, all so encouraging that we can get through this - what a community I am apart of. You see for small businesses this isn’t just a job, creators crave to create. What do we do when we cannot create anymore or when there are grey clouds making us question every move. Corona virus changed small businesses forever, I’m sure some didn’t make it, but so many did and most came out stronger, better. Because we had to be better, to stay alive.
As we slowly started to see light, I was itching to work with my good friend and our photographer Vicki Miller again and celebrated the opening of her doors as well as so many others! By now we were back in Middlemount as a family after 9 months apart. Back to being on the ground, sending orders and forever folding tees - far out, I missed it.
What better way to celebrate “back to normal” than a photoshoot at Texas Longhorn Tours in Charters Towers for our Midnight Embers winter collection. This shoot was easy, we only invited our closest as social distancing was still so important. I chased our samples around the country side (literally) as everything was so delayed in the mail due to corona virus. We arrived to the shoot late, after traveling 6 hours with 3 kids under 4 but we made it! Jack waiting patiently with a beer for Brodie. This shoot should technically never been able to happen with the hurdles but it did.
Midnight Embers was a collection of beautifully embroidered sweaters, I ordered just enough to remain exclusive. But I never dreamt of them selling out in 2 hours. I still remember on the day messaging Brodie and saying “wines tonight, it’s going to be a sell out”. The desire for these sweaters was and still is today so high, we cannot wait to bring them back in 2021.
There was no time to rest. I was already working on my next project which was to be “Cosmic Cowgirl”. Originally I wanted Cosmic Cowgirl released Mid Year, I had been sitting on these designs for quite some time and I was eagerly waiting to bring my vision to life. When I mentioned 12 models to Vicki, our photographer I could see the stars in her eyes. We knew this was going to be epic. So over the next couple of months, I settled into life as a Mum of 3, I got back into the swing of sending orders daily and balancing work and home and was doing some serious online shopping in preparation to style 13 models from head to toe! Oh and we brought a caravan and thought we were grey nomads, squeezing in a weekend away when ever we possibly could.
Cosmic Cowgirls campaign came around in a blink of an eye, I found myself traveling to Townsville with Westin who was now 4 months old to chase sunsets and style 13 western queens. The day completely blew me away as I watched magic come together, the vision was everything I had dreamt of and more and I had a moment where I felt like “I made it” as I was worried this release would not happen in 2020 with all the challenges thrown our way.
I knew this collection would have people talking about Buck Wild Country, and it did. Bringing something completely different and unique to the western fashion industry in Australia. We released 12 beautiful designs, over 2000 tees and a lot of heart and soul.
Let’s talk about growth. Buck Wild Country started off as a hobby, my complete passion for fun wild fashion. We started with a few boxes, a website I designed myself, our models were us and our good friends. 2020 has been a year of growth and survival and a year that I invested every sale back into the business. So when I re-designed our website with our designer for the release of Cosmic Cowgirl, I made it exactly how I always dreamed of it to be. I wanted you to know us online as if you were walking into a store, you would know we would have loud country music playing, possibly a few sneaky beverages over the counter, and it would be beautiful and unique. Not your average thrown together shop. You’d wanna come back. I put my personal touches and beliefs throughout the website from our acknowledgement to country to the introduction to our little family. I am so proud of our new website and I hate to be biased but as an online shopper also, I think it’s up there with the best!
It’s now December 2020 and I don’t know where the hell this Wild year went however I am not on the bandwagon for it to be over. I have loved 2020. We introduced our third little buck into the world, Westin Kai. We had 3 successful drops, one complete sell out! We invested back into the business to make it better for our customers, we bloody survived.
I would be lying if I didn’t admit there were areas that fell while I tried to keep it all together. And I am grateful for every customer that made it with us to the other side. Other side of business and other side of my own personal year of growth as a mum and small business owner. For that I thank you.
Moving into the new year we have so many exciting things to share with you including a new shop and new business! Friends Of The Wild Collective will be opening in the shopping mall in Middlemount and it will hold a collection of all of our favorite things, Buck Wild Country will be hanging wild on our racks as well as some familiar brands in the western fashion industry! We will be creating a beautiful place for our community to come for a coffee, chat and of course shop for good quality clothing, gifts and homewares! This’ll also be our HQ for Buck Wild Country and where I’ll spend most of my days! Sadie starts school next year and Clay starts kindy, Westin will be my little shop keeper for a little while longer (not ready to fully give up stay at home mum life). We cannot wait to show you what we have been up to and the beautiful space we have created! You can follow us on Facebook & Instagram @friendsofthewildcollective and we will be available online to shop www.friendsofthewildcollective.co.
2020 New Years resolutions for Buck Wild Country? Lets go!
• Maintain amazing customer service
• Keep it diverse & add more options to our sizes 18-24
• Balance work / home life
• Drop 5 collections (yes they are already done/ in the works for 2021
• Stay true to who you are, because you are amazing Buck Wild Country
From our family to yours, we hope you have a wonderful Christmas and New Years. Stay safe and Wild!
We will be acting like elf’s sending your Christmas orders right up to 10/12/2020 for guaranteed Christmas delivery! We will be putting our feet up from 23/12/2020 - 29/12/2020 to enjoy some well needed time with our family and friends however our online shop will remain open to shop till ya drop.
The Long family xx