Exploring North Queensland
Like most people, in 2020 my sense of the world has become much smaller. Planned trips to far off places quickly shifted to local getaways, with hours behind the wheel. But in unexpectedly exploring my backyard, I have rediscovered inspirations - the people and places that started the Naudic journey, and made me hungry to go beyond those horizons.
The first time I ever went to North Queensland I was a university student - my girlfriends, and I were thinking about what we were going to do for the three month summer break, once we’d closed our books. One morning on local mainstay radio station B105, I heard about a competition - the first 105 callers would get an opportunity to purchase a bus ticket anywhere in QLD for $10.50. With my uni friends Ally and Fiona, we decided we wanted to win those bus tickets. I staked the holding place by sleeping overnight in the city, making us numbers 9 - 11 in the huge queue. I was wearing hot pink sunglasses when a Channel 7 reporter came up to me, asking me where I was going with my ticket. I said Cairns, the international backpacker capital of Australia, because I wanted to meet some of those elusive, exotic characters. I was 19. It was the best $10.50 I have ever spent, and started my obsession with travel.
Over the past eight months, I’ve revisited those memories numerous times, doing four road trips around Queensland - a state of tropical rainforests and coves, mountains, deserts, and diverse landscapes beyond its cities. Two months ago, I first did ‘The Tropical Far North’ roadie - Palm Cove, Atherton, Townsville, Charters Towers, and more. The atmosphere back then was bleak - after all, it’s a year where we’ve grown used to uncertainty, not knowing what lies next. Businesses were closing, no one I met knew what the future held for the livelihoods and their families, taking things one day at a time. I had no expectations, but I had to go and check it out.
Doing my ‘Far North’ roadie once again more recently though, this time it was lively. A feeling of spontaneity and freedom was palpable - I left the car hire to the last minute, and couldn’t get a car when I arrived late on Monday night, . Driving through each of my stops - Palm Cove, Trinity Beach, the Atherton Tablelands, Bramston Beach, Kuranda, Lucinda, Ingham, Mareeba, Townsville, and Charters Towers - was an embarrassment of riches ... at each stop I was time poor. But I was on a mission - this was a sales trip for our next collection, named Pathfinders. However, I like to think of it as a connection trip, as every day I learned something new from people, their stories, and how they are getting through.
Those connections on this trip were numerous - I caught up with Kerri, Lex, Jenny, Emma, Joan, Pedro, Ann, Luke, Leah, Ella, Trish, Lacy, Michelle, and Caroline. These are our North Tropics friends (also customers), who we’ve worked with to navigate the past few months. While the circumstances were not what I wanted, our connections were made stronger. For my friends, running a small business in our current times requires creativity, strength, and community. Particular ideas to keep things ticking over, even in the hardest times, were numerous. One store ran self-care afternoons, holding a demonstration of all The Body Shop products, things to make customers feel good. Others ran styling sessions with customers, assisting with wardrobe planning for local gatherings; and sold gifts for various newlyweds on honeymoons. I heard stories of women supporting fellow women in business, working together to get things done. Some store owners gave dinner platters for staff working late, saving them having to go home to cook dinner for their families. It’s a reminder, amongst all of this, that life goes on.
Back at Naudic HQ, we’ve been busy delivering Spring orders to stores, many having their best season ever. Holidaying and spending their weekends close to home, locals are shopping at their neighbourhood stores, chatting on the streets as the store owners start the day. Once again, we’re back to living and supporting our own environment. We’re sitting down having lunch together as families, and exploring unseen parts of Queensland.
Next week, our Summer Collection “Sail Away” will be arriving … and aren’t we all happy the Summer holidays are just around the corner? Hopefully those carefree days will peacefully close out this chaotic year. The summer collection aims to bring the world to you - namely, there’s matching shorts and top sets of blue and white embroidery, reminiscent of sailing days and holidays in Greece. Hopefully it’ll help you sail away, on a much more local summer.
So here we are, enriched by being around the homeland again. How we love being an Australian brand. Keep sending through your messages - it has been the best reading these and keeping spirits up.
Until next time,