An ex-executive who dreamed about leaving “the 9-5 grind” to sell sustainable mini-gardens has been announced as the overall winner of the inaugural PACK & SEND Small Business Logistics Grant.
Fleurieu Gifts, based in South Australia, provides eco-friendly alternatives to cut flowers, sourced from the Fleurieu Peninsula. Since its inception in 2014, founder and director Charlene Maney has used the power of e-commerce and online marketing to bring in six figures of annual sales – literally growing her business from the soil up.
Charlene was one of eight entrepreneurs selected as finalists for the Grant, beating out over 130 entries across the nation from small businesses spanning health and wellbeing, electronics and technology, food and beverage, art and culture, recreation and fitness, and fashion. Women led the charge in an all-female final.
A desire to spend more time with her family drove Charlene to swap her successful corporate job for more muddy ventures in 2014.
“I was working long hours and commuting into the city for work and just wishing I could see more of my family.
“In the end I decided to leave my corporate gig, combine my love of gardening and beautiful things, and create my online business – making mini-gardens.”
Charlene receives a prize pack that includes $10,000 worth of parcel and freight services from PACK & SEND, a three-month business mentorship with Hannah Staples, co-founder of Peppermint Grove Australia, and parcel courier and freighting advice from a PACK & SEND account manager for a year.
“The PACK & SEND inaugural Small Business Logistics Grant will be critical in boosting my business growth plans, giving me the capacity to invest my time and resources in other critical business needs, such as marketing and innovation,” says Charlene.
“I have aspirations for a brick and mortar store in the future, and hope my husband will join Fleurieu Gifts fulltime by the end of the year.
“I am so grateful to the PACK & SEND team and the Grant for their ongoing support and commitment to making my business – and other small businesses across Australia – the best it can be.”
Michael Paul, PACK & SEND founder and CEO, said: “Fleurieu Gifts is an incredible example of the enterprising spirit and high-calibre talent that exists within the small business community in Australia, and we are proud to play a part in turbo-charging the growth of her business. We wish her all the best in her endeavours.”
“We were also delighted to see the strong entrepreneurial spirit of women in Australia represented in an all-female line up of finalists.”
2017 marks the first year for PACK & SEND’s Small Business Logistics Grant, which was established to recognise the important role that the small business sector plays in the Australian market. ABS figures reveal that Australia is home to more than 2.1 million small businesses, employing 4.7 million people across the country.
Entries were judged by a panel of industry experts, including Hannah Staples, co-founder of Peppermint Grove Australia; Kellie Rakich and Alexandra Lyons, co-founders of Ankalia Textiles; Michael Paul, CEO of PACK & SEND; and David Scicluna, PACK & SEND Franchisee of the Year 2016.
The PACK & SEND Small Business Logistics Grant cocktail awards evening was held on Thursday 23 March 2017 at the QT Sydney.