Showcasing the outback a no-brainer

If there was a competition for multitaskers, Nicole Bond would have to be a finalist. 
Nicole’s recently launched The Outback Gallery, a website showcasing artists living and working in the Australian outback, whom may not otherwise have access to marketing tools. 

When I caught up with her, she was about to head off on a long hike through the Snowy Mountains with another group of likeminded, entrepreneurial women. 

What really resonated with me from our chat was one of Nicole’s mantras, ‘finished, not perfect’. She set out to launch an online business and had a couple of early hurdles, not least that the site she had been working on for months was dismissed by the first consultant she hired to finish it off. 

“He took one look at it and said ‘you’re a long way off, this is crap,” she said.

Despite her initial shock, Nicole soldiered on and engaged another consultant and while the program isn’t as flexible as she’d hoped, the concession meant she had her business online and functional. 

“It’s ok to be there (online) and not be perfect and be able to come back and change and tweak than to be an idea that doesn’t get executed,” she said. 

“Don’t get me wrong, you still want to look professional and have those important Ts crossed and Is dotted.” 

I have to say when she told me how she had launched the site in May this year, I had to laugh. 

“I clicked it through to go live, and then went to the races, had a few drinks and celebrated quietly,” she said. 

“It was a very soft launch because it was a new space for me. I wasn’t confident it was going to work exactly as I’d hoped, but I just had to press ‘go’ because I’d been promising people I would.”

Nicole is based in Longreach and had her lightbulb moment travelling home from Betoota after attending the Channel County Ladies Day in 2014.

It’s a weekend of personal development, pampering, networking and inspirational speakers and Nicole had got speaking to a number of inspirational female artists and photographers who were doing amazing work in between raising and educating the kids and working in the family business.

But they were really struggling with internet speed and bandwidth. 

“So I got to thinking ‘I’ve got really good internet in Longreach and I could just act as a consulate in getting their work out to the greater world,” she said. 

“I come up with ideas a lot, but this one just struck me. What about an online art gallery- obviously no one is doing that, because I’ve never heard about it. So I came home and ‘googled’ and obviously there were.” 

But despite realising it wasn’t a ‘new’ idea afterall, her research revealed a hole in the market. Everything she was seeing was very broad in appeal and didn’t represent the people in the Outback, or people struggling with low band width internet. 

“Intentions are all well and good, but it’s the concrete stuff that you leave behind is what makes a difference. Whether the concrete stuff is relationships or friendships or businesses or ideas that you followed through,” she said. 

“I started the business to do what I could to help the artists.”

Since launching in May, Nicole’s focussed on building the online stable and getting as many artists involved as she can. 

She wants to create a space that people keep returning to look at- ‘like artistic porn’, she says and then one day they see something that they just can’t live without. 

“It’s more of a showcase than an online store,” she says. 

“You can admire the work of the artists you know and maybe learn about someone new too!” 

She had many other pearls of wisdom, albeit in dodgy telephone reception, so listen to the full conversation on the Beating Around the Bush podcast, here

Fleur AndersonComment