Upcycling is at the core of GoodsAgain mission. We love using existing materials and transforming them into beautiful new products. However, upcycling comes with many inherent challenges. It’s not always a well defined process of designing a product, procuring raw materials, and making it. Here, the raw materials aka discarded materials considered waste come first and then you decide what you can make from those. So what are some top challenges that are unique to upcycling?
You have no control on what you will get as ‘waste’! So every time you get something, you try to visualize what you can make out of it and then plan the next steps. This is very different from traditional manufacturing where you know what you will have as raw materials and you can plan months in advance and even automate it! Hence, upcycling needs a lot of creativity, design thinking, and an open mind to try out new things.
You may not get the exact same thing again especially when you are upcycling preloved clothes. Our scarves and swim cover ups made from pre-loved sarees are a few examples. You only get one saree in a particular color and pattern. Sometimes your customers want to have the same product again but you only had limited quantities of each design.
With limited quantities, it also adds a lot of work for a business especially an online one. You have to take photographs of each individual piece. So if you have 10 saree scarves, you will have to upload photos of ten different products; basically clicking, modeling, refining, editing, uploading, pretty much the whole process will be repeated for each scarf. Once you sell that one scarf, the whole effort goes away with it because you won’t be getting the same one again!
It’s hard to understand the true value of the product if one is not aware of the challenges behind making that product. In this case, it also helps the environment and many underrepresented artisans. People who love upcycling like we at GoodsAgain believe that It’s still worth it! Nothing beats the feeling of giving a second life to something that was discarded to go to landfills and oceans!