Indigenous businesses adapting to COVID -19

For many small businesses around the country, the global Covid-19 pandemic has hit hard.

This also rings true for many Indigenous businesses that rely on face-to-face contact to run cultural weaving workshops.

Indigenous weavers, Ngumpie Weaving and Gillawarra arts, have had to switch up their strategies.

Tegan from Ngumpie weaving said,

“Schools and workshops had to be cancelled due to covid-19. I was thinking to myself how am I going to bring in some money to help support us? I also felt for the people that weren’t going to do some weaving and learning. That’s what I enjoy the most about my business: teaching and connecting.”

For both Ngumpie weaving and Gillawarra arts, online weaving workshops made sense.

Krystal from Gillawarra arts said,

“Our Ancestors were masters at adapting to changing climate, among other circumstances. We can draw on their strength and wisdom to get through this.”

With many online supporters, they’ve both had an overwhelming response to their online workshops.

“We’ve had such a positive response to our online weaving workshops. I was thinking of ways to connect with mob during our self-isolation and I thought that weaving would be a deadly way to bring our mob together. We ran our first session last Friday and the ladies asked if we could make it weekly,” Krystal said.

Although the online platform wasn’t the norm for Tegan, it was a great experience. 

“My first workshop was a bit nerve racking. It was very different. I’m not used of being online but it went really well. I was really surprised.”

Krystal from Gillawarra arts offered this encouragement for other businesses that may be struggling during this time.

“Hang in there and connect with your community. Seek out government and community support including grants that available to assist us in getting through this tough time and don’t be afraid to ask for help.”

You can find both Ngumpie Weaving and Gillawarra arts on Facebook and Instagram here: