A not-for-profit Facebook group featuring locally-produced products is receiving overwhelming support, amassing tens of thousands of new members in just one day.
'New Zealand Made Products' is helping small businesses facing tough times by providing a platform to promote their goods to potential buyers within the group.
Founder Sarah Colcord said that as a business owner in the same situation as countless others, the start of lockdown brought lost income and business contracts. Her idea to start the group came from looking for ways to boost her business profile without paying hefty advertising costs.
"I came across 'Australian Made Products': that group has only been in existence for four months and already has over 1.5 million members.
"I thought I was capable of replicating that similar level of success here with a Kiwi version," Colcord explained.
Providing a new way to put buyers in touch with sellers, the Facebook group enables businesses to advertise for free, with posts ranging from practical, to philanthropic - even quirky.
"As the organiser, I don't benefit in any way: this is completely voluntary and I'm spending near[ly] 40 hours a week (alongside my full-time job), to manage and moderate the group," Colcord added.
Among the most unusual products posted to the group are BBQ covers ('skins') made from discarded billboards, a new RTD range called 'lockdown' and manuka-smoked whisky.
"The most popular product is Te Reo wrapping paper created by a 13-year-old entrepreneur from south Auckland," Colcord said.
Some sellers had reported selling out of stock, receiving a run of orders for the next few months.
"Vickie's Funky Cushions was one of the first posts to go viral: she usually gets 20 visits a-day to her website [and] after she shared about her business in the group, she got over 2000 visits over the same period."