It takes a lot of determination to launch a new business in the face of a crisis, but Siannon Holloway’s love of all things Christmas has led her to build a thriving holiday décor business over the past 12 months – with the support of her local Licensed Post Office agent.
“I saw a gap in the market for quality, vintage-themed designs that just weren’t available here in Australia,” says the mother of three. So she designed them herself – and The Christmas Market was born. From Fair Isle-style summer pyjamas and Fa La La blankets to vintage mugs, heirloom wooden games and glass ornaments, the unique collection has been a sell-out success.
Angela Cramp, who runs the Warilla Licensed Post Office just outside Wollongong, was inspired by Siannon’s enthusiasm, evident from her first parcel drop off. “It’s just gone gangbusters, we’ve all experienced her joy as it has grown,” she says.
Angela initially helped Siannon set up a MyPost Business account, but as the volumes grew and Siannon started receiving container-loads of products, she switched to an eParcel contract.
“Our first parcel pick up was about 20 parcels,” recalls Siannon. “Now it’s around 200 a day, and sometimes twice a day. The volume of orders quickly became too much for me to handle manually.”
Spreading local joy year-round
For Siannon, thinking local extends to her supplier base as well. While some items need to be produced overseas for cost reasons, she prioritises working with Australian suppliers and manufacturers. “I think people appreciate when things aren’t mass-produced, when a lot of love has gone into the making,” she says.
She says the local support she has received from Angela and the Warilla LPO team “has been amazing.”
“I really feel like they have been over the moon with how quick our growth has been, and proud to see a young family like ours give it a go. They’re just so encouraging, and they want to see us succeed.”
When Siannon needed to quickly secure a lease on a warehouse to manage the rapid volume growth, Angela provided a letter of recommendation. “That helped us a lot, proving we weren’t just here for a season but we were a major player in the new eCommerce landscape with an Australia Post credit account,” says Siannon.
The new warehouse has relieved the pressure on her family’s garage and will make it easier for containers to unload pallets of stock – and for Angela’s team to collect all those parcels.
Siannon also plans to open a Christmas store at the warehouse, in time for ‘Christmas in July’ next year.
“For people who love Christmas as much as I do, there is nothing better than being in a magical space like that – just to bring that little bit of happiness,” she says. Her plans to spread the merry throughout the year also extend to vintage-themed Easter and Valentine’s Day décor and gifts.
“For me, it’s about family, and making each holiday special in small ways,” she says. “Everyone’s had a tough year, and right now I just want to make sure everyone is happy by getting their orders out to them, to bring that joy.”