Our Story

Creating an Australian online marketplace

After 11 years living overseas, my partner and I made the big move to Melbourne in 2018. Excited to see family and friends we really struggled to make Melbourne home until I got involved with local markets selling Australian brands in Melbourne West. Braving the cold once a month I would set up my little stand at Footscray Finds and connect with local Makers and Creators, learning about their, Australian local brands, businesses and what drives their awesome passions and creativity to accelerate their local businesses online and instore.

A year flew by, and I decided it was time to put a call out in the west for businesses who would be interested in taking our little market gang, into a bricks and mortar pop-up store. The response was overwhelming and after a month of chats discussions, coffee meet ups, we had 12 brands keen to get involved.

On the 1st of December we opened The Rebel Living Collective store in the Barkly Theatre Footscray. With a day to bump in which could not have been done without rallying the troops. All small business owners chipped in brought their goods and helped with displays to finish in time. I couldn’t believe how incredible quick our little community was, there were people merchandising, filling in forms pricing and we did it.

The Rebel Living Collective store opened for the month of December and, every day was different with local customers buying unique gifts for loved ones and themselves, to drop ins from neighbours and local businesses owners keen to see what we were up too. What a success!!!

After closing the store, we decided to take a well-earned break and re-open in May 2020 in a new location (we all know that didn’t happen) and while the world went into lock down, I jumped online, picked up an engineer and began working on kouwi.com a marketplace for local brands to sell local products, to customers across australia and platform to champion local Aussie businesses.

Through covid the site had a number of iterations and while It and I evolved it was a night-time distraction from covid lockdowns. On the 24th of Aug 22, WWW.KOUWI.COM launched with 19 vendors and 221 products in its catalogue. As I slowly worked to make the site better while working full time, I realised I wanted to give back as much as possible, support local, and get involved with our local community. So, a few months back I quit my job and have been focusing on Kouwi.com full time.

Today Kouwi is a marketplace with 71 vendors and over 1500 items in its catalogue across 8 categories including Health & Beauty, Fashion, Home and Kids and we’re growing. And as we continue to look for another store to house our amazing local products, we’re AIMING HIGH and looking to hit 5000 products before the Christmas shopping rush sets in.

(Like to join us? Get in touch at info@kouwi.com) So honoured to be part of our awesome local community and to all who have come along on this journey including our customers, vendors and Biggest Cheerleaders! THANK YOU!

Steve  #thankyou #success #community #smallbusiness #supportsmallbusiness #localbusiness #people #creativity #markets #businessowners


Where we began

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