An 11-year-old’s idea to sell ‘Billy button’ flowers from her family’s NSW farm goes viral

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When 11-year-old Georgie Empringham decided to sell some of the beautiful native wildflowers growing on her family's farm in western NSW, she initially wanted to set up a roadside stall. 

Her mum thought selling the stunning "Billy buttons" on social media might be less work, but instead the brilliant business idea went viral almost instantly.

Within a day Georgie, from Nevertire in Central West NSW, had more than 100 orders, with requests to sell the vivid yellow, everlasting flowers to Queensland, Victoria and Tasmania.

"They're little balls of happiness and sunshine. We've got heaps on the farm, like millions," Georgie said.

"It's pretty cool. Now my sister's helping doing the packing and answering messages, while mum and I do the picking and wrapping."

The long-lasting golden, globe-shaped flowers are native perennials and a part of the daisy family.

The thriving business is named "Belaringar Billy Buttons" after the Empringhams' family property.

Georgie's mum, Sally, can't believe the national response to her daughter's idea to pick and sell the wildflowers.

"I kind of thought I couldn't be bothered setting up a roadside stall and doing signs, which ironically, wouldn't have been much work at all," Ms Empringham said.

"So I suggested we make a little Instagram page and see how it goes.

"By 6pm that day she had 44 orders and then overnight she had another 68. So, I think it would have been easier to have the roadside stall.

"When you go out and you look at them, they're still solid as far as the eye can see, we're so spoilt."

Which is a good thing because demand for the flowers since Georgie started the business last week is already so hectic the family has had to set up a website to let people know when they have run out of stock for the day.

Ms Empringham said they were also receiving bulk orders from florists. 

The Billy button bonanza 

The millions of Billy buttons growing on the Empringhams' farm are the happy side effect of an effort to improve the property's soil.

"When we moved to this farm, my husband did a lot of regeneration on a claypan that we have. There wasn't much on it at all and even through the drought, he's sort of kept it so that it would keep regenerating," Ms Empringham said.

"The Billy buttons are tricky to grow but just seem to love this claypan.

"For the last few years, we've had friends come out and pick them with us and a friend of ours makes 'bush tin cookies' including Billy button cookies and we make an afternoon of it."

She said the longevity of the blooms was a big factor in their favour.

"They last forever, they're native, they don't need any water and they're not high carbon impact," she said.

"We've got some around the house that are 12 months old, and they look the same as the ones that are brand new.

"I think people are probably more and more conscious that flowers die so quickly and they're quite expensive. So I think this obviously holds appeal because they're there forever."

And the profits from this booming Billy buttons business? Georgie and her sister Amelia will be using them to buy hay and gear for their horses.

Lucy Thackray (Original ABC Article)