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Episode 33 – Greg Lavery of Rype Office

Circular Economy Podcast Episode 33 - Greg Lavery of Rype OfficeIn this episode, Catherine talks to Greg Lavery of Rype Office, which remanufactures high quality office furniture. We hear why Greg decided that office furniture is ideal for a circular business, how Rype’s customer base is evolving and why people are switching to remade furniture.

A civil engineer by training, Greg has focused his career on improving the sustainability of the built environment. He began by working for Arup and Greg was awarded a PhD in sustainable building design in the 1990s.

He built, from startup, what is now Australia’s largest solar business, Origin Solar, and as a consultant, assisted organisations with innovative sustainable business models, including Masdar City, Interface, Shell and ClimateWorks Australia.

Podcast host Catherine Weetman is a circular economy business advisor, workshop facilitator, speaker and writer.  Her award-winning book, includes lots of practical examples and tips on getting started.  Catherine founded Rethink Global in 2013, to help businesses use circular, sustainable approaches to build a better business (and a better world).

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About Greg Lavery

A civil engineer by training, Greg has focused his career on improving the sustainability of the built environment.

Beginning his career with Arup, Greg was awarded a PhD in sustainable building design in the 1990s.

He built from startup what is now Australia’s largest solar business, Origin Solar, and as a consultant assisted organisations with innovative sustainable business models, including Masdar City, Interface, Shell and ClimateWorks Australia.

Greg founded and is now rapidly growing Rype Office, a vertically integrated circular economy office furniture remanufacturing business.



Add ~ 3 minutes to these timestamps to allow for the episode introductions.

Catherine Weetman  00:01 I’m delighted to introduce Dr. Greg Lavery. Greg and I first met back in 2014 at the EPA SRC industrial sustainability conference at Cambridge University. At the time, Greg through his consulting partnership Lavery p&l profit Published report for the UK Government called the next manufacturing revolution. The following year, Greg was presenting again, this time Tim telling us about his new venture ripe office, and his plans for remanufactured office furniture. Greg stork impressed me so much that I ended up buying a few shares in ripe office. a civil engineer by training, Greg has focused his career on improving the sustainability of the built environment. He began by working for Arab and Greg was awarded a PhD in sustainable building design in the 1990s. He built from startup what is now Australia’s largest solar business, origin solar, and as a consultant assisted organisations with innovative sustainable business models, including Masdar City, interface, shell, and climate works Australia. Greg founded and is now rapidly growing ripe office, a vertically integrated circular economy office furniture remanufacturing business, Greg, welcome to the circular economy podcast.

Greg Lavery  03:06 Thank you, Catherine delighted to be here.

Catherine Weetman  03:09 So I kind of know, know this bit because of your talk, back in 2015. But before we get into the ‘what’ and ‘how’ of Rype Office, I’d like to ask you about the why – what made you start and do start to do this

Greg Lavery  03:24 is a really good question. And like many entrepreneurs, you can see from my introduction, I’ve sort of got a burning passion, all my life for sustainability. And the question is, of course, you can do sustainability and spend a lot of money. And there are a lot of organisations out there that are unprofitable doing wonderful things, but really struggling to make ends meet. And we thought, Well, look, there’s a lot of problems out there, where are those profitable opportunities so we can make some really big change at the same time do that in an economic fashion. And one of you mentioned the next manufacturing revolution, one of the seven operations needs that we showcased in that for British manufacturing was which by the way, we’re all about resource efficiency. One of those seven was the circular economy, which was pioneered in the sort of late 90s, early 2000s, by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, but really hadn’t taken a hold in any real shape or form beyond the usual examples of Caterpillar and perhaps photocopies as well. And what we realised is that there are some characteristics for what makes a good circular business and some characteristics for what don’t. So for instance, drugs – once I take a drug and it comes out my other end, nobody wants to use it in any way, shape or form, no matter how much you pay them, or how much money you say. However, there are some high-value items, but so we hadn’t looked quite rigorously at what’s going on in the UK economy. What we found is that office furniture and for that matter, office computers are sufficiently high value but at the same time are contributing to an enormous waste problem, which means that you can sell them for a reasonable price and Don’t pay very much money buying for them, which leaves you plenty of money in the middle for overheads, but more importantly, the remanufacturing processes, which we do very rigorously. Because we’re a bunch of engineers, we take that as an engineering precision process with all the quality control. That means we’re taking tonnes and tonnes of furniture and the statistic that really disturbs me whenever I hear it is that every single working day in the UK 300 tonnes of office furniture is going to landfill. 300 tonnes a day can you conceptualise how many very large lorries that involves, to take that and put that somewhere where basically it’s going to then emit methane and take up valuable lands, but landfill space that, frankly needed by councils for all the rest of the waste that occurs. So we said that’s nonsense, right? There’s got to be a better way. And you mentioned I’m an engineer by training Absolutely. got together with a couple of other smart people. We figured out how to remanufacture furniture back to Earth, new condition. And that’s really significant because remanufacturing is one of those things that a lot of people don’t understand. It starts with the term ‘Re’ – so isn’t that just the same as refurbishing or reconstituting or repairing? Well actually it isn’t it’s a quality-controlled engineering process, and that’s been one of our biggest challenges

Catherine Weetman  06:24 So yeah, going back to the high value and lots of waste and you mentioned some of the issues. Around waste, methane and so on. But there’s also the value of all those lost materials. Yeah, some of them?

Greg Lavery  07:07 Well, absolutely, I mean, the environmental equation looks so remanufacturing, the statistics for some really good papers that were written in the 2000s, show that you can reduce your green, your environmental footprint, let’s just call it that by 80%. And that’s the water that goes into products. That’s the energy and therefore greenhouse gas emissions that are embodied. It’s the materials that have to be dug out of the ground. It’s the biodiversity that gets destroyed because of the minds that dig the stuff out of the ground. And what’s more than as you also mentioned, there’s the waste problem. So actually, you can kill two birds with one stone, you can reduce the environmental footprint, but at the same time you start solving a waste problem. And that’s sort of got what got us excited, because it’s actually a very simple engineering problem. I mean, upholstery is upholstery, right? And there’s a certain way you put it on some chairs, you can reapply assumptions you can and that’s been really our task is to figure out how to do that cost-effectively to be able to do that. to scale and as we grow, we’re now delighted to be the lessors of a much bigger manufacturing facility and we’re in the process of recruiting a manufacturing manager. So hi to the listeners out there. If any of you are manufacturing manager, that fancy job in the region of High Wycombe, west of London, then we’d love to speak to you because now we need to get serious about manufacturing. And we need to be able to turn out a couple of hundred chairs desks, pedestals per day to satisfy our growing market because as you say, we’re growing quickly. We’ve grown out of our first plant, let’s get another one. And let’s get that to another world-class facility that is knocking it out of the park with top quality furniture.

Catherine Weetman  08:40 Brilliant, and it’s great news that the market is growing and you’re expanding with it. And I think some of that is from your approach, in that you don’t just have a kind of online shop with a selection of remanufactured office furniture you offer design services don’t need to customers so that

Greg Lavery  09:00 Yeah, and you’re touching on? Well, you’re touching on a key challenge for us when we started up. So as an entrepreneur, you have to figure out obviously, where you’re going to play in the value chain. And for us to start off just selling remanufacturing of office furniture, in an industry where most furniture is made by manufacturers sold through dealers, convincing architects who are the ultimate decision-makers, and then the client pays the bills, there’s actually so many decision-makers there, that what we decided is to get started, we had to really talk straight to the customer. And in the case of building products or interior design, you speak to an architect about what they require. And they go down to the incredibly detail where it’s gonna have a white underside for the arm and a blue on the top and a black for the back, but they’re not at the bottom of the back, because that’s got to be white to meet their design. Whereas you go to a client and you say, Well, what do you want from your new office, and they always use wonderful terms like I want it to be light. I want it to be airy. I want it to feel productive and collaborative. We want it to be fun, and we want to attract stuff there. And none of that involves a colour, other than light maybe, none of it involves a particular style or whatever. So actually, we say we said right from the start, we are going to vertically integrate, we’re going to cut out the dealers. So we’re going to be manufacturing, we’re going to be designers, and we’re going to deal directly with a client. And that was a great decision as it works. Because we now employ architects and interior designers, and we have some wonderful conversations with the client. And we don’t have to explain to all these intermediaries who through Chinese whispers, the message of what we don’t do get lost. It’s actually going straight to the customer say, we can give you everything that you’ve just asked for, and how would you like that, to come at a price tag less than half what you would have paid and with an environmental footprint 80% lower. And by the way, we’re also going to employ long term unemployed people with disabilities to remanufacture your furniture and the real kicker then is we’ll give you the marketing stories for your media distribution, as to where the furniture came from. How much greenhouse gas emissions how many hours of long term unemployment, disabled labour we’ve used as a real living wage, how much time how many tonnes of waste. And all of that turns into an amazing, like marketing feast for an organisation that has values around sustainability and purpose. And the other I mean, while I’m on that subject, what’s been absolutely incredible to us is and what really surprised us is that we thought the world needed a more sustainable solution in furniture, but the market wasn’t there. And we did our best and we grew and we grew. But what’s happened because we’re at the start of a new decade, thanks to Greta Thornburg, and the whole extinction rebellion movement. We the world recognises This is the decade for action on climate change, and for that matter of plastics and other environmental issues. And so what we’ve found to a great delight is in the last two years, the market has moved to exactly where we are. So we’re having many, many conversations with organisation say, “Hey, we care about the climate. We’ve now set ourselves a goal of all our operations being net zero carbon, you can help us to do that.” Let’s have a conversation and we’re working with some wonderful architects, some design and build firms, some property services companies, some state management organisations. And when you’re talking with organisations like British land for whom we’ve done three or four projects now, they can move their whole market as well. So if British land does something, all of the second tier, real estate investment trusts start to listen, all the property services companies like saddles and care and jail who are wonderful people who can mobilise to trends in the market very quickly. They listen, and they start to change their thinking about sustainability as well. So it’s been wonderful to be sort of at the right place at the right time. And as all entrepreneurs know, luck is very important and we got lucky about our timing, no question.

Catherine Weetman  12:51Yeah, and I think it’s, it’s really encouraging to hear that the conversations are now starting to go on in lots of different organisations, and I’m wondering if in some areas like remanufacturing, we’re now on that part of the product diffusion curve where we’re moving from the early adopters to the, to the kind of early majority. And some writers talk about a chasm don’t they in between those two? And are we ready to cross the chasm because the conversations becoming general now and people have heard of the circular economy. People are starting to, to see all the soft benefits coming from doing circular things doing more sustainable things, not just the good marketing story that he can tell your customers and new shareholders but there’s engaged employees who are you know, enjoying sitting on this office furniture, that’s stopped a whole load of waste and lower their –  They feel like they’ve lowered their footprint. And so it’s got lots of benefits that perhaps People didn’t envisage

Greg Lavery  14:02 right and really intangible – when you start thinking about “well I’m going to need a chair and a desk and whatever”, often the price point rules right so so a company might say let’s say for home furniture is occurring right now with the lockdown and hopefully we’ll be out of it shortly. With with the lockdown people of companies have said “Oh, you have an allowance of x hundred pounds for a chair for your home office.” So people are aiming at that price point. And when they look at what’s available, new and by the way, we’ve got to have a talk about language because the term new let’s call it from virgin resources, so from virgin resources that only lets them get a certain quality of chair in terms of ergonomics. When you then talk remanufactured or second life or whatever your term is for what we do this, let’s say a circular economy chair. The value for money you’re getting at that same price point means you can afford for that same price, a Herman Miller or a Vitara or an orange box or something that’s been beautiful design. And in fact, we don’t sell garbage, right? There’s no point in us selling something that’s not very ergonomic when it costs us the same to remanufacture. Something that’s ergonomic as it does to submit remanufacturers, something that isn’t, and sometimes more because they’re so poorly made. So actually, for the consumer, being the person sitting in the office or in your home office, thinking about the furniture, the value for money, in terms of the comfort and productivity that you can achieve with remanufacturing is actually opening a lot of people’s eyes as well. And we’d love bringing people into our showroom and showing them a few of the better-known chairs out there. And there’s one in particular, which we’re actually remanufacturing a lot of, and in fact, I’m sitting on one right now, which everyone sits on and goes this is the most comfortable chair I’ve ever sat on. And so our team scratch our heads, like how come I mean it’s a fairly common chair. And the answer is many organisations just don’t pay what it costs to buy a from virgin resources chair that has all the right ergonomics on it. And yet they turned to us and go most comfortable chair I’ve ever sat on. I want 100 of them for my people so that actually our staff are going to be sitting on these really ergonomic chairs, which is good for their backs, it means that the injury claims decrease. And you know, I think the statistic that blew me away is that between 40 and 60% of people through their entire working lives will have a back problem. Wow. 40 to 60. Right, that means so imagine you’re sitting there in those maybe that decade, you’re struggling with your back problem. Come four o’clock in the afternoon, you’ve had a good solid eight or nine hours sitting on your chair, and you’re thinking, gosh, my back’s really started to niggle me. I just can’t comfortably sit here I’m fidgeting and whatever, or go home early. That’s an hour of work time, or maybe more that actually the employer has lost and hopefully the employees also lost because they enjoy their job. That’s a whole different debate. Let’s not get into that. But assuming that they enjoy their job, that’s actually less time they’re spending, building their careers and showing their employer what they can do and making a difference in this world. Actually, that’s not productive for anyone. Then So the difference that a chair makes if you can get a much better quality one at the same price point or even lower, is actually a game-changer in terms of ergonomics. And which comes back to staff well being in an office. Mm hmm.

Catherine Weetman  17:13 Yeah, that’s great. And in terms of the broadening marketplace, are you noticing different kinds of companies coming in? I think when you first got going, there were companies that really wanted to have sustainability as their sort of, you know, brand values, it was one of their key values. And so for them, it was an easy way of showing that they weren’t just talking about it, they were doing it as well. And you notice it’s starting to become part of normal business, as well.

Greg Lavery  17:45 Exactly. And as you say, early on, it was a sort of a badge of honour for some organisations who were, let’s say, a carbon offsetting organisation that this was just part of the way they did business right. There was no question they were ever going to do anything different. And so They weren’t mainstream, though. But what’s happened since then is that there’s been a real change or recognition that values are much more important than the business environment. Let me give you an example. So many law firms that we work with have a real problem in their old offices where they have all the sudden many of them Timberline walls and very, very expensive and beautiful furniture including, let’s say inlaid, or very expensive veneer, boardroom tables, but unbelievably expensive leather-clad chairs in their boardroom so what happens is when a visitor or let’s say a client comes in to meet with their what would you call it, I suppose lawyer or solicitor, they shine into this meeting room that is incredibly decadent. And if I’m walking into a room where the furniture is more expensive than I could ever afford in my organisation or my personal life, automatically, I think, gosh, I know where my fees are going. These guys are expensive because they’ve got expensive tastes and represent that a little bit. Right? So you’ve already got a not a very good values alignment there and almost a standoff not comfortable relationship. It’s a bit a little bit adversarial. Let’s even put it that way. Right? Whereas lawyers are coming to us and say, we know we’ve got this problem, what can we do? And we say, how would you like your boardroom table to be post-consumer recycled yoghurt pots with a little bit of tin foil from the lids for an accent through that. And underneath it the world’s most beautiful frame from Vitro, which in itself would cost you 5- 6000 pounds just for the frame? And how would you like that cheaper than you currently paying for your furniture. And so it’s a no brainer, of course we want that. So then you think about the mindset of that interaction. So a visitor walks in and goes, gosh, this is an interesting table. The lawyer then says, oh, you’d be interested in the story that’s actually had a second life because we as a law firm and as individuals care about creating a better planet, and the cut and the client then goes “oh, fantastic. I can see now an alignment, a purpose here.” And what’s more than that, then the lawyer says it doesn’t cost as much as you think, etc, etc. So you’ve immediately got instead of an adversarial situation are very much in alignment of values, which is why the business world is moving right? Right now, it’s all about we want to do business with you, as a supplier or as a customer because we share your values. And we know that if you care about the planet, you’re probably going to care about your suppliers as well and your supply chain. Therefore, that’s a much better relationship and much more fulfilling for our staff and ourselves. And what’s more, we know you’re going to challenge us with better products and we’re going to we can work together in a very familiar way. And what’s great as you would know, as a being a part of the circular economy and sustainability world as you are Catherine, as I’m sure most of the people listen to this podcast are sustainability people are friendly, fundamentally, and I’ve done business most of my life with sustainability people and I see other industries where there’s it’s a dog eat dog zero-sum game, but we in the sustainability game know that ‘one and one’ doesn’t mean that someone else is going to miss out, right? It’s not a zero-sum game, when you’re helping the environment, everyone wins. And if we can make money along the way, that’s a bonus.

Catherine Weetman  21:09 Yeah, that’s great. And I think the other thing that came to mind there was the story of the table. That, you know, the story wasn’t a kind of ‘showing off’ story about, you know, which top-end designer made it or what expensive wood it’s made out of, it’s probably come from virgin forests. But the story is much story is interesting in itself. And there’s something that the customer is probably going to remember the employees remember, and it kind of brings the whole piece of furniture to life and, you know, gives everybody something more tangible to think about. So it’s not just the kind of why we bought this, but what it’s been made of and how creative that processes and so that that can also, you know, help kind of you know, get give people more of a connection with the person who’s telling the story and what’s behind it and all the rest of it. So,

Greg Lavery  22:06 and more importantly, as well, it differentiates us as a supplier. So we, that is seen as premium because it’s rare and it’s unusual. So we’re seen as guys doing something a bit interesting. And for us, and for those entrepreneurs listening, actually being another bunch of secondhand furniture, guys, that’s our worst nightmare, right? Because then we’re low-end providers of low-end products that’s not really differentiated, operating, frankly, in a very competitive and quite small market, which is the second-hand market. What those sorts of products enable us to do like that. That table is whilst still got a remanufactured base underneath, right, there’s still a significant remanufacturing component, but it differentiates us and enables us to compete in the new furniture market, which is a much bigger market. But we have to be really on a game with quality as well. So we have to say what we have to be able to deliver as new furniture in terms of appearance and performance. So that keeps us holds us to a standard as well. But that’s the standard that our customers expect, because they’re saying, if it’s between a veneer table that we would normally get, and a recycled yoghurt pot table provided by Rype Office, obviously, we want the what the recycle one, but we don’t want to pay any more. However, the budgets pretty big because of a dinner table is pretty big, in fact they want to make some savings, and they want to make sure that’s a little bit different. So actually, we obviously got to be high quality and it goes without saying, you know, lawyers, visitors room or meeting room, it has to be of the highest quality and and we are able to achieve that. And that’s been a lot of hard blood, sweat and tears by our guys in order to get to that level of quality. But with we’ve been there for a number of years, and that’s really now starting to pay some great dividends.

Catherine Weetman  23:45 So talking about the quality lessons and the quality struggles over those years. So it’s coming up to five years now since I first heard you talk about Rype Office. What else have you struggled with and what surprised you in those five years?

Greg Lavery  24:02 yeah, interesting question. So let’s reflect on that. So So what’s what we’ve struggled with is mostly education about remanufacturing. The circular economy is new to many people. And so being able to explain what we do, unfortunately, you can’t do that in 140, or what is it now? 280 characters, so we don’t even bother with social media, right? If someone’s flicking, they are not going to learn about remanufacturing and the value of the circular economy in terms of social value, environmental value and economic value in a tweet, right. So what we’ve struggled with is how do you find a way to condense that message and explain to people very simply what we do, and show them all the benefits because obviously, you need to show people proof that this is actually a win-win all the way around. I mean, it was hilarious. I was talking with a very large construction company really nice guy said, Look, Greg, I like what you’re doing. I like you. Where’s the catch? You can’t have all you can have your cake and eat it. And I said, actually you can you know, because this is, I mean, I mentioned the outset, we are an arbitrage taking essentially waste, although we don’t obviously pick stuff off landfills because we don’t need to. There’s a lot of office clearance companies that we buy from, and getting it back to as new right. So that there’s a big difference in the price point there. So we can afford to do that. So and then I sort of took him through this particular individual through where all the costs were and how all that worked and went, you know, you’re right. Why wouldn’t everyone do this? You guys are going to be really successful. I thought, well, that’s very kind of you four and a half years into a model to say so and of course, he didn’t have to, but it took me a half an hour to get to that point where he just went, I get it, I’m going to use it. And so he’s become an advocate for us, as have many people who’ve heard about what we do. And that and that’s been and I suppose that back to your second question that’s really surprised me is that we’ve the loyalty and strong relationships we’ve had with customers. And even non-customers, people that we meet, say, I really love your model. I’ve been watching your business for the past three years. So why haven’t you said hi sometime, right? We’ve got fans out there that’s really unusual and very rewarding, because clearly other people are just seeing the value that can be created, and the warmth of welcome that they give. I mean, they almost try and hug you, right? It’s like, what Who are you? It’s I Well, I mean, number one fan? It’s like, well, they’re fantastic. Why didn’t you say so? Let’s have a great conversation about it. So yeah, I mean, that’s really pleasantly surprised us. And but I suppose it shouldn’t, because at the end of the day, people are very passionate about creating a better world and doing so in an economic way. And when when when we find a solution that that does that, why wouldn’t we embrace it? So for instance, I mean, one of the things that I learned just yesterday is that Amazon has an Amazon renew page. And everything on there has been remanufactured by quality-controlled guys who’ve been vetted by Amazon. Now, I don’t know how great that vetting is, but I know a couple of companies that sell through that. I think that’s wonderful. That means that instead of buying stuff that’s from virgin resources, there’s somewhere now you can go, where you’ve got choice edited options where you know, the quality has been tested, where you’re probably going to get something that’s exactly the same as you would have paid a lot of money for. Similarly, Apple, I mean, Apple has an Apple Refurbished page on its website. Now, they don’t highlight that it’s sort of tucked away and quite hidden. But nevertheless, it’s there. And they’re quite proud of it. Because that’s, that’s an alternative to buying new. And this whole, I suppose, this whole thinking that you mentioned, sort of, are we entering a sort of early majority or something like that, in terms of the uptake curve? Let’s hope so. But I don’t think we’re there just yet. I think there’s still a lot more education to go on, which is, which is why it’s wonderful to be able to explain to people a circular economy on brilliant podcasts, like this one.

Catherine Weetman  27:54 So Greg, it’s great to know that you’ve got a fan base out there. And how can people who really like Rype Office and haven’t yet got in touch to try and give you a hug? How can they help you going forward?

Greg Lavery  29:36 Yeah. That’s hilarious. Isn’t it hilarious that we’ve got fans, but we appreciate every one of them. So that really good question. I mean, there’s a couple of ways you bought shares in us when we were raising money. Thank you for that. It’s great to have us a shareholder and we welcome shareholders every so often when we’re raising money. I would anticipate our next shareholding will be share raising capital raising will be Probably q1 or q2 next year, we obviously have to get over the COVID thing and be able to demonstrate to potential investors that the COVID was just a minor blip and that we are continuing to grow. So that’s one opportunity. And we also welcome recommendations. So if you know someone who’s,  or an organisation who’s thinking about refurbishing a floor or a whole building, or are in moving, and let’s face it, every company tends to move every sort of four or five years when the lease runs out. And mostly, there’s a sort of bad, let’s say, an expected habit of throwing all that furniture away. We offer a commission to people who can introduce us into projects. And that’s really just a matter of saying, hey, my friend, Harriet’s just about to move office, Harriet’s working with the person who’s in charge of that kind of make an introduction, we say, Great, let’s do that. And we’ll pay a commission based on the furniture that we sell into that project to anyone who introduces us so and we’d love to have lots of those referrals out there. And then finally, we’re recruiting we’re growing really quickly, I mentioned earlier perhaps the manufacturing manager that we’re after to minute run a new site at High Wycombe, and hopefully build us a few more after that upholsterers. We’re always looking for pulsars so if anyone knows any upholsterers looking for a sustainable role in a fast-growth industry, that’d be great refurbishers. So people with handy with tools that don’t that they’d like to see things built. We have a great bunch of people that do that. And we’re always looking to grow that But otherwise, I’m gonna get in touch we have a sort of open recruitment policy on our website under the Join Us page where you can see how some of the roles that we have opened and the process for doing that. So it’d be wonderful if anyone likes what we do. please reach out Link In with me or the company. Be great to connect with people that share our passion.

Catherine Weetman  31:53 Great, so hopefully you’ll get a good team of both recommenders and new employees for the next phase of Rype Office. And Greg, a question I always like to ask is, who would you recommend as a future guest for the programme?

Greg Lavery  32:10 Really good question. So there’s a couple of people who I really like in the way that they’re approaching sustainability and the circular economy. One is Nick Rawkins from Reconomy, which is office computers, electronics, but more than that, they’ve got a really nice encompassing model that basically takes away large volumes of electronics and then streams those into the highest value solutions for those and that that’s such a wonderful model. I really like that. And the other person is Kresse Wresling and I think Catherine you and I met her at the EPSRC events as well. She, her company is called Elvis and Kresse and she does high-end accessories like belts and handbags and various other items made from she started with fire hoses, so used fire hoses, which is am incredibly tough material without a market. And she solved that she’s actually putting all of worlds or UK all fire hoses into products. And now she started a wonderful collaboration with Burberry, to use their leather off cuts to make equally beautiful bags and other accessories. So Elvis and Kresse is, that is one of my idol firms. They’ve done it so beautifully. And our real beacon I think, in the circular economy for how to be a luxury brand, using materials that are largely worthless when she receives them. So hats off to her and Elvis for doing such a great job.

Catherine Weetman  33:37 Yeah, and having heard her talk she can the story behind that is brilliant as well, isn’t it? So I’ll get in touch with Kresse and so Greg, how can people get in touch with you and find out more about Rype Office?

Greg Lavery  33:52 Our website is, and you can email me at contact at Rype, I’d love to hear from you.

Catherine Weetman  34:06 Fantastic. I’ll put those links in the show notes as well if people don’t remember the spelling of that. Greg, thank you very much for taking the time during lockdown to talk us through all the developments at Rype Office. And I wish you lots of luck for the next phase of expansion and making remade office furniture go mainstream.

Greg Lavery  34:30 Thank you, Catherine. It’s been a pleasure.

Want to find out more about the circular economy?

If you’d like to learn more about the circular economy and how it could help your business, why not listen to Episode 1, or read our guide: What is the Circular Economy

To go deeper, you could buy Catherine’s book, A Circular Economy Handbook for Business and Supply Chains This comprehensive guide uses a bottom-up, practical approach.  It includes lots of real examples from around the world, to help you really ‘get’ the circular economy.  Even better, you’ll be inspired with ideas to make your own business more competitive, resilient and sustainable. 

Please let us know what you think of the podcast – and we’d love it if you could leave us a review on iTunes, or wherever you find your podcasts.  Or send us a Tweet: @Rethink _Global.

Podcast music

Thanks to Belinda O’Hooley and Heidi Tidow, otherwise known as the brilliant, inventive and generous folk duo, O’Hooley & Tidow for allowing me to use the instrumentals from the live version of Summat’s Brewin’ as music for the podcast. You can find the whole track (inspired by the Copper Family song “Oh Good Ale”) on their album, also called Summat’s Brewin’.  Or, follow them on Twitter.

Ep135 Tuomo Laine Twice Commerce

135 Tuomo Laine: unlocking circular business models

Tuomo Laine is the CEO and co-founder of Twice Commerce, which provides software to help its clients unlock a range of circular business models. Tuomo is known for being straightforward and action-oriented, and for his dedication to using entrepreneurship for societal good. He is a member of the Unreasonable Group Fellowship, and is occasionally invited to lecture at Aalto University,…
Ep133 Re-Action repurposing

133 Re-Action – repurposing: a new life for unwanted stuff

This is the 4th and final episode in the special 5th Anniversary mini-series featuring the Re-Action Collective, and we’re focusing on repurposing – using creativity and craft skills to breathe new life into unwanted outdoor gear, clothing and workwear. We’ll hear from the founders of two small repurposing businesses: First, Jen Dickinson, founder of Dirtbags Climbing, an upcycling workshop in…
Ep132 Re-Action repairing

132 Re-Action – repairing: from radical to renaissance

This is #3 in the 5th Anniversary mini-series featuring the Re-Action Collective, and focuses on repairing. We hear from the founders of three UK businesses that are helping people repair their outdoor clothing and equipment: Rosanna Watson at Snowdonia Gear Repair, Becky Kirby at Sheffield Clothing Repair, and Vicky Balfour of Vicky Bikes. The strapline for this episode was inspired…
Ep131 Re-Action sharing

131 Re-Action – Sharing: Serving more people with less stuff

This is #2 in the 5th Anniversary mini-series featuring the Re-Action Collective, and focuses on sharing and ‘pay to use’. We hear from the founders of three startups enabling people to have convenient and affordable access to high-quality outdoor gear: Anna Smoothy from Cirkel Supply, Rebecca Heaps from Tentshare and Bruce Leishman from KitUp Adventures. The strapline for this episode…

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