From a sprawling cattle property just outside Biloela, mum and business owner Casey Alsop is building a business designed to fill a gap in the market not just in Central Queensland, but state and nation wide.
Casey and husband Sam have a five-year-old son, who she says is her most important priority, while an online leather and hat business for babies and children, Little MeMe Designs, alongside a local childrens boutique occupies Casey’s free time.
Casey started in business more than two years ago, when she identified a gap in the local market for similar products and expanded with the purchase of Little MeMe Designs in April 2023.
“On a local front, my customers have really loved having somewhere local to shop for their babies and children and having somewhere beautiful to browse and to pick up a last minute gift.
“This brings a greater quality of life to the rural small town we live in. I think these small businesses have a great impact both financially, by contributing to the local economy but also on an emotional and social level.
“Each and every time I make a sale it makes me proud that people would want to spend their money on the items I have chosen to stock and to bring to the market. Each time someone makes a purchase from a small business, we do a happy dance.
“It helps to put our kids through swimming lessons or to help buy groceries, in particular when the seasons aren’t aligning for a productive and positive outcome from farming.”
Casey said the business was as much a commercial venture as a passion.
“I have a real passion for childrens fashion, shopping small business and being able to offer my local customers and those further afield somewhere beautiful to shop,” Casey said.
“I enjoy giving the customers access to pieces I would call ‘heirloom’ pieces, pieces that stand the test of time and can be passed down to siblings or friends when they have outgrown the pieces.
“I am driven to create a thriving business as I believe it has allowed me to stay at home and be a mum, focus energy on the farming business and still fit in having an income around my family and social life – rather than heading back to the nine to five job.
“I do think there are a lot more hours go into a business that you personally own, however, it is so incredibly rewarding when you see the results from your hard work.
“I think that social media has a lot to answer for, in a positive and negative way. I find that it is both inspiring to my passion and also a bit deflating. I have met such a beautiful group of encouraging souls through Instagram and I think this drives you to strive for more or make improvements to your business and passions.”
The business has two parts. Seed and Sparrow is Casey’s children’s clothing and giftware store within a collective in Biloela called The Little Market Co.
Little MeMe Designs is an e-commerce business, but Casey also stocks to numerous businesses around Queensland and Australia.
“I learn something new every day and there are so many memorable moments. Just to name one recently, I was invited to speak with a group of business women in our town about my business and personal journey.
“This was my first speaking gig, and it was both terrifying and also so rewarding and memorable. To sit with so many amazing women in one room and to have them invest time to listen to my story, ask questions and then implement things into their own lives and business would have to be a very memorable moment for me.”
It was this personal and professional drive which led Casey to join RRR Women’s Embracing Leadership program, designed to strengthen capabilities and leadership opportunities for rural, regional and remote women.
“I saw the Embracing Leadership Program as an opportunity too good to be passed up on – the opportunities to increase my leadership skills, invest in my own growth and increase my network of incredible women,” Casey said.
“It has been an amazing opportunity to sit in a room amongst so many intelligent, motivated and encouraging women from all walks of life and all ages and industries.
“I have gained a great level of confidence in myself and what my business has to offer and I am no longer afraid to share what I do and love. A lot of this growth came from the encouragement of the women around me during the time of the program. The skills shared by the women of ACTURA will also go with me into my business and volunteer roles.
“I think that women in the country are undervalued at times. There are so many intelligent, innovative and courageous women who are doing incredible things in their community. Not to mention their style. There’s some amazing fashion in the bush.”
Casey and her family live on a property just outside Biloela in the Banana Shire, a region rich with agriculture and community.
“It’s very close run into town for kindy, parts runs and all of the things that come my way. We also have a larger breeder block a little further out of Biloela,” Casey said.
“I do enjoy getting into the cattle yards and being involved hands on as well. But, I do not like fencing at all! If I can get out of this, I will do anything else.
“I originally moved to the region after I married my husband Sam. I moved here for love, from the northern rivers of New South Wales, however, I don’t think I could leave now. I just love it here so much.
“I love the open spaces, the stunning sunsets and the ranges and hills all around us. The people in this region are just so beautiful as well. I have met so many smart, kind and innovative people around here. It is inspiring.”
Get to know Casey
If you could have an infinite supply of anything, what would it be?
Time would be good at the moment, I seem a bit short on it.
What do you do on a day / afternoon / evening / weekend off?
I love spending time with my family. hanging out at home or going out for a coffee. I do also like to read when I have the chance and to meet up with friends. When we have had our fun, its back to the washing machine or in the kitchen preparing school snacks and meals of course!
What else do we need to know about you?
I love fashion and I love to wear colour, however, my house is pretty plain! I love whites, timbers and to add small pops of colour around this!
I love supporting small business and I have a real passion for women run business in the bush! There’s so much to explore.
By Emma Clarke