Upcycle Rising

There is a common denominator of Upcycle Artists; we've been repurposing since our childhood.  My earliest upcycle was when I was 7; I would take the old Lipton Tea boxes and make candy dispensers. Since the boxes then were more sturdy and durable they were the ideal box with the flip top lid perfectly scored so that it would lift and close with ease; perfect for dispensing candy. I wrapped the box in tin foil and etched designs with a pencil; back then, tin foil was thicker so the etching was more dynamic than what you can do now.  A true joyful childhood memory.

Recently I had the great pleasure to speak with Bhairvee Shavdia from Upcycled Around Town where she too has been repurposing and upcycling since childhood. She recently launched her website Upcycled Around Town which is an online market place featuring Upcycle Artisans offering wonderful eco-friendly products for both men and women. The website is a showcase as well as a marketplace; her approach is giving buyers an opportunity to not only purchase incredible handmade upcycled products but to also highlight the creativity and innovation from which the artisans produce their works.

Bhairvee explained; she would like to bring a greater appreciation to the upcycling artisan which their products are all produced and made in the U.S.A.  As consumers gravitate towards green products and choose to buy upcycled, a number of online stores have popped up which sell upcycled products however they are manufactured overseas.  Upcycled Around Town, is unique in that all of the items sold in their market are made in the USA.  Upcycled Around Town wants to raise the awareness of small businesses that hand-make upcycled products in the USA with a marketplace platform that promotes this concept.

Bhairvee and her partner Manish

Bhairvee and her partner Manish manage and operate their website in beautiful San Diego where within a month of their launch has attracted over 5000 pageviews with over 2000 unique visitors (in just one month of her launch) and features over 15 artisan vendors offering products from jewelry to home goods. In addition to her marketplace she works to educate and inform aspiring upcyclers with her blog and DIY features.  I asked Bhairvee what inspired her to create the website and what is her motivation and she replied: "When I walk along our beautiful coastline and see waste and litter polluting the water and beach, I knew I wanted to make a difference on more than just one level."  She explained; she has a passion for creativity and the environment and from there created Upcycled Around Town.

In addition to Bhairvee's work to feature and promote local Artisans; Upcycling is rising.  Take Boots n Gus; an Upcycler of Mason Jar Chandelier lighting based out of Grand Haven MI; they will be featured in not one but 2 upcoming episodes of ABC's Extreme Home Makeover Edition as well as a full on feature in Reader's Digest "Home Trends for 2013".  Boots n Gus opened their Etsy shop in 2009 with well over 800 sales since. 

There are over 100 shops with the word Upcycled in the name on Etsy; Google results pulls over 160,000 websites with the word Upcycle, with results pulling websites, Pinterest pages, blogs and more.

I began officially upcycling in 2009 with my cases, although Upcyclers were few and far between, since then there has been a rising community of upcyclers, a broader awareness, and a growing appreciation for the upcycle artist.  I'm glad to be apart of such a dynamic, eclectic, resourceful and innovative group. We've transcended from our garages, work spaces, creative corner and emerged a collective of Artists.

We are more than a trend we are a movement! Keep on creating Upcyclers; we are making a difference.

For more information on becoming a vendor with Upcycled Around Town visit the link here.

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