A small Wagga family business, Crave Designs, a stainless steel fabricator specialising in creating water features, has bucked the trend by growing in demand during COVID-19.
With the bulk of customers based in Canberra, Sydney and Melbourne, owners Craig and Trudi Absolum believe the appeal of their indoor and outdoor products has increased due to people wishing to make their home a "peaceful, relaxing haven".
The business gained further recognition when one of its products featured in the popular television show The Block.
Crave Designs has also provided products to a special effects designer requiring items for a big budget movie production company.
Since then, the orders have kept rolling in to help keep the business afloat.
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"Our most recent project was designing and building a water feature which cost a substantial amount for a $30 million home in Rose Bay, Sydney," Mr Absolum said.
"Everyone has been at home more with lockdowns, especially in Sydney and Melbourne, which has opened up the option to renovate and landscape their home.
"They want to create an outdoor area that provides a safe haven and a tranquil place.
"We have found that more people are searching for Australian-made, built-to-last products, which is what we pride ourselves on providing to all our clientele as well."
A range of suppliers throughout Australia, including landscape businesses, nurseries and irrigation companies, stock the Wagga business' range.
Crave Design's products have been in demand throughout Australia and internationally, sending products to the United Kingdom, Fiji, Italy and the United States; however, Mr Absolum is open to sending his water features to all corners of the globe.
"The important thing is that we don't just supply a standard water feature, we do custom designs to suit everyone's budgets and try to accommodate all client requests," he said.
Since establishing the business in 2002, Mr Absolum has been grateful for the support of his customers and is intent on returning the favour and satisfying their demands.
"It's seeing their reaction when they have it installed and telling you how awesome it looks," he said.
"It gives us a real buzz and that's what gives us the inspiration to keep going and provide a high quality and luxury product."
The biggest disadvantage Mr Absolum has endured during travel restrictions with COVID-19 has been with freight issues and delays.
"COVID-19 has affected businesses in a huge way, but having to use a nationwide delivery company instead of our local removalist has been pretty bad," Mr Absolum said.
"We use Michael Steele from Price's Furniture Deliveries to deliver and install the features and consider him part of our team.
"Now, we have to put more time and effort into packaging the features, therefore our clients receive a more impersonal service because now we have to utilise a nationwide company which just drops it off at the client's door and leaves without helping put it in place."
Mr Absolum has recently added a display area which contains a number of his luxury range of water features at his East Wagga premises.
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