General ramblings

A what…?!

As part of my grand Make It Better…plans, I am starting up an Upcycle Exchange.

A what?

An Upcycle Exchange!

The concept originated in America, and is the brainchild of an inspirational lady called Autumn Wiggins. Autumn started up the very first Upcycle Exchange, and has a very busy and thriving store in St. Louis . There are now several stores dotted all over the USA, and plans for more, and in Canada as well. They are all run independently, but along the lines of Autumn’s original store, and I think that I am the very first UK based venture!

The easiest thing to compare it to is a Bring and Buy.

The aim is to rescue un-used, un-loved or un-wanted arts and craft supplies, and make them available to local artists and makers at affordable prices. Thus saving the materials from landfill, and providing a consistent source of supplies to those who need them.
I have amassed a large amount of craft supplies of my own, and have been given various bits and pieces along the way, so I will use these to get started, but then the idea is that people come and donate their unwanted stuff, either for credit, or just because they want to and it is a nice thing to do, and I will then sort it, and make it available to anyone who wants it at Pay-As-You-Wish prices.
As a Brit, I have to admit that I am still trying to get my head around the Pay-As-You-Wish concept, and am a little nervous about it. Autumn assures me that it works well, and the vast majority of people are happy to pay a fair price for their goods, rather than waltz off with bulging bags full after paying 10p. But I am going to have to take a deep breath and put my faith in human kind and that they will want to pay a fair price for a good service.
I have put together a Wish-list of supplies that I think people will want, and I am on the look-out for, and this will no doubt develop and change as I start to establish a rapport with local artists and makers, and work-out exactly what it is everyone wants!

The ultimate ‘dream’ would be to have an Upcycle Exchange as gorgeous and successful as Autumn’s, along with a workshop area, and run Upcycling/sewing/crafting/mending workshops, as well as a Repair cafe.

But I need a small lottery win first, and Small people to be at school to free up some time!

So in totally untypically patient baby steps style, I am starting small, with a stall at craft fairs and will test the waters this way.

I had a baby trial run at our Make It Better…sewing.crafting. mending cafe thing (still working on a catchier title)

Make it better1

But my first ever proper outing will be at the Bath Artisan market this weekend.

This is a fabulous market, and is held under cover all year around. Each month there is a different theme, and this month it is Make Do and Mend, so obviously I NEEDED to be there!


Catherine, who master-minds the whole thing has very kindly allowed me to have my stall there, Scrapiana will be there with a Big Mend, there will be a Swish, and free screen-printing for the kids!

If you are in the area, do come and check it out-it’s going to be awesome!!
(And bring along any unwanted craft supplied to me and my Make It Better…Upcycle Exchange :))

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  • Reply Bath in Bloom and the Upcycle Exchange | My Make Do and Mend Year May 9, 2013 at 6:00 pm

    […] blogged last month about my new social enterprise venture, Make It Better…and the Upcycle Exchange. Essentially, […]

  • Reply Clara April 21, 2013 at 7:41 pm

    Oh yes, I’m definitely on board for this one. Keep me posted – I could quite easily get to Bath.

    • Reply Jen April 22, 2013 at 8:58 am

      Had my 1st outing at the Bath Artisan Market earlier this month, and seemed to go down well. Hoping to be there each month (2nd Sunday of the month at Green Park Station) Will keep you posted!

  • Reply kneehighmum April 14, 2013 at 6:54 pm

    Hi, have just found your blog via WWT and love it!! But am gutted I missed the Bath Vintage Fair and your stall as I only live a few miles from Bath. Hope it went well. Love the Make Do and Mend ethos. I am holding a Clothes Swap Party this coming Friday in our village and just love the idea of exchanging things, rather than consuming. Keep up the good work!

    • Reply Jen April 14, 2013 at 7:27 pm

      Oh no, what a shame. Hoping to be there every month now though, so the next one is May 12th!
      Clothes swap sounds fab-whereabouts are you?
      I am planning a swish for later in the year too 🙂

  • Reply kerry higginson April 13, 2013 at 8:39 am

    What a gorgeous idea 🙂 Good luck with the stall this weekend xxx

    • Reply Jen April 13, 2013 at 9:06 am

      Thankyou 🙂

  • Reply Jo aka Kiwijo April 13, 2013 at 7:21 am

    Another great idea,
    One of my favourite things about joining Twitter has been meeting lots of like-minded crafty people and exhanging craft supplies and makes.

    Regarding your shop idea, why dont you approach a local wholefoods shop and see if you can have a small table in the shop so that you can have a mini ‘craft exchange’ event once a week (Saturday morning) for example.
    We have a local shop who do this for our local credit union, and it seems to work really well. All you would have to do (apart from being there on a Saturday morning) would be to design a few posters to advertise, then once it got going, word of mouth would do the rest.

    • Reply Jen April 13, 2013 at 9:06 am

      Good idea Jo-thanks! I will give it some thought 🙂
      Have a great weekend

  • Reply Nat April 12, 2013 at 10:28 pm

    great idea! Hope it all works out and looking forward to hearing more!

    • Reply Jen April 13, 2013 at 7:02 am

      Thanks, I’ll let you all know how it goes..

  • Reply AffordableLiving April 12, 2013 at 9:05 pm

    That is such a good idea. I’m sure it will go well. Now you just need to take off and conquer other parts of the UK. (I’ll keep an eye out).

    • Reply Jen April 13, 2013 at 7:02 am


  • Reply Fiona (@bikelightsfiona) April 12, 2013 at 7:34 pm

    This sounds like a great idea – good luck with your first outing this weekend. I haven’t come across this concept before – there are similar things for kids craft supplies donated by businesses (like but they’re mostly open to schools and clubs rather than regular folk.

    • Reply Jen April 12, 2013 at 8:29 pm

      Thanks Fiona. We love the scrapstore! I took the Smalls to Make and Play sessions and we now have a garage full of scrap ready for use!

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