Sustain furniture

Thriving through lockdown adversity: turning scaffold boards into reclaimed furniture

In 2018, Stockport-based James Mather and fiancée Natalie were stunned by the cost of hiring tables and a bar for their impending wedding. With a love for low-carbon reclaimed furniture, they decided to make their own using reclaimed scaffold boards.

Named Lockdown Start-Up Award Winner at the eBay for Business Awards 2020, Sustain Furniture was originally created as a part-time hobby alongside James's architecture profession and Natalie's wedding planning.

But in February 2020, events took a worrying turn. With the Covid-19 pandemic gathering pace, their young baby Isaac was hospitalised to remove a tumor, and Natalie left home for three months to be with him. With time on his hands and a need to take his mind off his worries. James challenged himself to sell the 18 wedding tables he’d been storing since 2018.

The timing couldn’t have been better. With employees across the country now retreating from offices to work from home, the tables soon sold out. James ordered more boards, and his hobby soon took over his garage.

Within two months he’d opened a shop and workshop to complement the eBay store, having already turned over a promising £22k.
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With Natalie and baby Isaac now out of hospital, the couple are planning to find more time to shape the look of their shop front and develop the business further.

The eBay judging team were hugely impressed with James and Natalie’s success in turning a part-time hobby into a fully-fledged business during lockdown. “Their products are beautiful, eco-friendly and timely with people still buying new desks,” they said, “and there is a lot of room for growth now that they have also set up a physical shop to complement their eBay store.”


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