We received this letter from Dolores Stafford, the owner of Dreams Jewellery & Gifts on the corner of Haynes Street and Railway Road in Kalamunda. The letter sets out some of the ongoing challenges of getting back to “business as usual”. You can help Dolores and other businesses throughout the City not only by “buying local” but also by “buying locally produced”

My name is Dolores Stafford, I am the owner of Dreams Jewellery & Gifts in Kalamunda. We have been in business on the same corner for 25 + years and managed to work our way thru the many ups and downs during that time.

At the beginning of this horrible Corona Virus when we had lock down Dreams was able to remain open with reduced hours and reduced turnover and the assistance of the JobKeeper payment, with hand sanitiser, alcohol wipes, masks, and gloves. Together with myself and other small business who were doing take away coffee etc. we were able to avoid the total devastating feeling of aloneness and emptiness for so many of the seniors who live on their own in the hills community, I feel this was extremely important.

Gradually as restrictions are being lifted things are returning to some sort of normal for many businesses e.g. restaurants, cafes, hotels etc. they can purchase the necessary supplies, open their doors and trade.

The issues I would like to draw attention to is that for myself and other small boutique/gallery retail gift shops it is not that simple.

The people may be back on the streets however I cannot get my stock to sell to them. My Winter Clothing and Leather Collections are stuck overseas in Indonesia with no prospect of any air freight until late July, and another collection from the USA has not even been made.

I cannot travel to Melbourne or Sydney to view any new ranges that may be available and at this time of the year I would normally by overseas designing and putting into production my collections for the Summer Season — that is not possible either! I am sure many others are in the same predicament.

So this current situation is very far from the road to recovery for many of us, come the end of September when the Job Keeper programme is due to cease many things need to be taken into consideration and one of the most important things is mental health for all of us, why wait till it gets to that, act now ! Yes, we may have to adjust the way we have done things in the past, but we cannot do that overnight…. support us to get to the other side of this.

Small designers such as myself who have small and micro businesses contribute to 35% of Australia’s gross domestic profit and employ 44% of Australia’s workforce… to be told that it is ‘sad that a few small businesses will fall by the wayside’ … it is not good enough…

We have been put into this situation thru no fault of our own… not mis-management nor inability to run a business. For the last 25 years I have paid firstly Sales Tax, then GST, BAS returns, Wages, Superannuation ++++++++ ‘sad that a few small business will fall by the wayside’ is just a huge slap in the face for all those years of hard work doing my bit to contribute to the Australian economy, together we have made Australia the best place in the world to live and work and want to create a businesses and employ people.

We have been put in this situation thru no fault of our own and urge both State and Federal Governments to look at this much more closely, surely for the betterment of all peoples, people are much better off to continue in their jobs (which they have had some for many years) than to become dependent on government welfare, give the small business the support to continue employing their staff …. Surely, surely, the better outcome all round, because then I can continue to pay GST, submit my quarterly BAS, pay wages and all the associated benefits that this would create.

This leads me onto another topic I would dearly love to be able to bring to fruition…. why do we get so much of our product made offshore???? Of course, it is the cost. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could get it made in our own state at an affordable price? Yes, yes yes

Government assisted courses that have relevance and a real outcome during and at the completion of the precious years that our young ones give to further education with nothing at the end of it.

I have a young staff member who has completed a 3-year TAFE course in Art and Design and received no recognition at the end of it other than ‘you have passed’… She has designed jewellery for me which I have had my silversmith make and every piece that she has designed has sold in my retail shop.

Can we not talk about a government assisted programme where we are able to bring manufacturing home to our state?

A collaboration with small business and the government to allow students to learn, develop and grow their talents into a reality situation. I know that is what the TAFE programme is support to do however from my experience they are aimed at the over designed (and unaffordable for some) avenues and I feel that the input from the real bricks and mortar businesses is missing.

Let us put a programme in place that brings small manufacturing back home and encourage our young ones to move forward with confidence. Australia is a great place… let us show the world what we can do…… If you would like me to expand on any of these topics and ideas, please contact me by phone or email. I would dearly love to be involved in any projects that assist our young people shine as we know they capable of.

Yours truly


Ph: 08 9257 1167

email: dreamsjewelleryandgifts@iinet.net.au

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