Q&A: The country outfitters who embody the raw beauty of the bush

This week we talk to Jasmine Crothers, founder of Rawhide Rural. Throughout her childhood, Jasmine’s father, ‘Rawhide’, introduced her to many aspects of agriculture and the Australian ‘bushy’ way of life. All the products and designs of the family-owned, Australian country outfitters based – based in Roma in rural Queensland – are inspired by the Australian land and the ‘bushy’ lifestyle.

ISB: What are the fundamentals of the business and your inspiration for founding it?

JC: Finding your calling in rural communities can often be a task easier said than done; and western Queensland is no exception. Unique job opportunities can be few and far between. I knew I wanted to follow my father’s footsteps and be involved in the ag industry, but taking up a typical farm job no longer interested me. I also knew that I wanted to be my own boss, I just wasn’t sure how I could combine both. The truth of it is, starting a country outfitters business was a matter of complete spontaneity; a ‘why not’ moment if you will. The idea came about in 2021 and after spending two years designing and testing, we opened in January 2023 with the aim of creating affordable, durable and timeless clothing for everyone. Today, I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. I’m able to combine everything I was looking for into one package, and I couldn’t be more thrilled!

ISB: Why do you believe you have overcome the challenges many rural, remote businesses face in establishing a firm foundation from which to build?

JC: Rural community mentality is the foundation of this business. Being completely selfless in all aspects of life; giving rather than receiving. I suppose it’s why my business has grown so rapidly. Valuing my customers above all else is what I believe will ensure longevity and, essentially, the survival of Rawhide Rural. Treating my customers like my own community may also be a key factor to our success. I heavily encourage my online community to support various other rural organisations such as local shows, like FarmFest, and the RFDS. Both of these are excellent examples of key pillars in rural communities and using my platform to encourage people to get involved is one of the best ways I can support my local community.

ISB: Why did you focus on social media as your main vehicle for promoting the business over other marketing methods?

JC: We’ve grown to a six-figure business in just over 12 months after starting with less than $7000 and no contributions from investors. As you may imagine, our marketing budget was non-existent in the early days; we were running on the bare minimum. The question we had to answer was, “How do we grow an online business if nobody knows we exist?”. And the simple answer was social media. We had no money for social media managers, so I learnt everything I needed to know and started posting! It was the easiest and most cost-effective way for us to get our feet off the ground.

ISB: And which social media channel(s) did you pick to promote the business, and why?

JC: Our two biggest channels were, and are, Instagram and TikTok. In our first week we garnered over 11,000 TikTok followers and it continued to grow rapidly. We find it’s a fairly even mix between the two platforms now, but TikTok was definitely the driving force to begin with. TikTok exposed us to the masses, and Instagram nurtured our following.

ISB: What was the outcome of this strategy?

JC: Dedication to growing our social media accounts has lead us to a combined 71,000 followers, which makes communicating with our audience a very effective process. I wholeheartedly believe that social media has been the reason for our success. It’s given us countless opportunities, like attending FarmFest in June this year. It’s also the sole reason we completely sell out of stock every time! It may also be important to consider the positive impact it’s had on my confidence surrounding the viability of my business. Without social media, this business would never have survived, it’s truly our biggest asset.

ISB: How do you envision Rawhide Rural growing and developing in the next couple of years, and what role will social media play in that growth and development?

JC: We have a very broad spectrum of goals we’d like to achieve over the next few years but the most ambitious would be expanding into international markets. We already have a fairly strong international customer base, owing to social media, so it’s evident that this will be our most effective method of broadening our international exposure. The ability to have the entire globe at our fingertips is absolutely invaluable.