During level 4 lockdown Sarah Colchord, an Auckland social entrepreneur, set up a Facebook page for New Zealand made products to help support businesses that had been unable to trade and were facing financial difficulties.

Many Horowhenua businesses promote their products and services on the page, which has more than half a million followers.

Sara Joy Noaro runs Gorgeous in Shannon, a business specialising in vintage-inspired dresses for women who like to feel beautiful and feminine.

The week before her post on the New Zealand made products page went live on June 21, she was all set to pack up her business. "I actually said, that's it, I'm finished. I couldn't be bothered to work in the shop with no customers," she said.

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Photographs of the dresses she makes and a short write-up on the page changed everything. Her post was liked by more than 1500 people and commented on by 215.

"That week I fielded over 1000 enquiries. It was a very long week." Sales increased significantly.

Sara says that she has noticed a commitment from locals to support local businesses post-lockdown, with people making a point to get presents for baby showers or birthday presents from her shop in the Shannigans complex on Plimmer Terrace.

Sara drafts custom patterns for customers or they can buy off the rack. "As well as supporting NZ businesses, people seem to want more sustainable clothing made with quality fabrics."
https://www.facebook.com/gorgeousinshannon/

Julian Newson from Levin manufactures and installs custom-made aluminium gates. He has been a sole trader since 2006 and has made and installed more than 400 gates.

Within the first few days of posting on the New Zealand made products page, he "couldn't keep up with the enquiries and it led to a few sales".

Nearly 1000 people liked his post. www.julesmakesgates.co.nz

Reuben Nicklin is an ocean photographer, wedding videographer and runs a gallery and expresso bar L'Arte from his home in 21 Ocean Beach St, Foxton Beach. His post on the Facebook page was liked by 2300 people.

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He said the page was good for engagement but he was not sure it led to sales of his ocean images. But his work was very much admired.

One fan said "If I had those pictures in every room I wouldn't yearn to buy a house by the sea." http://www.reubenjames.co.nz

Carl Bennick's carved Horns.
Carl Bennick's carved Horns.

Carl Bennick is a full-time farmer from Levin and carves horns, eggs and skulls in his spare time. His designs illustrate myths and legends from cultures including Celtic, Norse and Māori.

He said he was "blown away" by the positive feedback about his carvings from the Facebook page. "It exceeded all my expectations and led to a good number of sales."

His carvings are sold at the Medieval Fair and also at his parents' store Bennicks Eggs and Garden Depot in Levin. Instagram @Carlosphere_creations

Anyone can post their business on the Facebook page at no cost https://www.facebook.com/groups/519618962054849

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