I came across a small furniture shop called Recreate in Woodstock the other day, created and owned by Katie Thompson. She started her business just over 2 years ago and it has grown from strength to strength. There are hundreds, maybe even thousands, of shops in Cape Town all selling furniture, but what makes Katie’s business stand out is that all the items in her shop were previously something different, something completely different!
An old hoover turned into a lamp, a hospital trolley transformed into a snazzy drinks cabinet, old pot lids altered into clocks, sieves into notice boards, oars into towel rails. And the best part is that the majority of Katie’s pieces originated at the dump, tip, scrap yard or people’s dustbins! Katie has a team of people scouring rubbish dumps, scrap yards, dustbins and garage sales for bits of broken furniture and other junk.
Katie admits that her original idea had nothing to do with recycling or sustainability but came purely from her “love of junk”. But with a background in interior design and her love for old things her business REcreate was formed. With her motto: don’t throw anything away, Katie has realised just how valuable even the most seemingly useless piece of junk can be. Even her price tags are cut outs from old cereal and toothpaste boxes.
It all started one sunny day two years ago when Katie found 4 pieces of old wood buried in her garden. She decided to turn them into a chair, and turn that idea into a business – right away! Her father, most sensibly, made her sit down and write a business plan first – which she promptly completed in 2 hours. 2 months later she had launched her first furniture range at Decorex.
Katie’s furniture is aimed at high end buyers so she uses top quality fabric and upholsterers, bringing the concept of reusing and recycling to a whole new set of people. One can just imagine the conversation in a posh Bishop’s Court home: “Oh Darhling, I simply LOVE your new couch. Where on earth did you get it from?”
“Oh this old thing? This came from the rubbish dump!”
Katie also offers a bespoke service, so next time you are wondering what to do with that old family heirloom gathering dust on your shelf, take it to Katie and she will turn it into something completely new and useful.
Recreate is in Salt River, Cape Town, opposite the Biscuit Mill at 368 Albert Road. http://www.recreate.za.net/