JaneR Designs

VIBES Award: Good Practice

Highlights:

  • Reusing and repurposing items that may otherwise have been discarded – a practical small-scale example of a circular economy, diverting items from landfill.
  • Inspiring others to “have a go” at upcycling.
  • Rethinking customers’ shopping experience in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

JaneR Designs, artisans of upcycling and furniture restoration, provides a sustainable retail experience with a workshop studio based in Dunbar. A pop-up showroom over the summer, the Hut@theharbour, also features their products and is itself largely built from reclaimed materials.

As a business, JaneR breathes new life into old things, creating lighting from salvage, restoring and repairing furniture, and creating one of a kind functional but decorative pieces for modern life.

They work with objects that generally linger at the backs of cupboards or are under threat of being replaced or discarded because they have had their day.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, JaneR Designs quickly realised that retail experiences were going to change and inside retail spaces would to be tricky for some time. When lockdown started, their business stopped; they went from working flat-out to finish projects for their domestic and commercial customers, to having no deadlines and no cashflow.

Their first reaction was to offer a free repair and restore consultancy, recommending paint, finishes and fixes to people who suddenly found themselves at home with time on their hands. They reviewed their digital presence, which confirmed that the majority of their customers were local. They then began to focus on strengthening their profile on Google.

They also long had a dream of building a shepherd’s hut using reclaimed material. A 19th century
photograph of fisherman’s huts lined up along the north wall of Dunbar’s historic Victoria Harbour
inspired them to build hut@theharbour. Completing the hut during lockdown helped them reach their local market more directly and enabled them to promote the repair and restoration service they offer. At this pop-up shop, customers see them working outside and ask for advice about their own projects. Their following on social media has increased and they are getting more traffic on their website.

Founders, Jane and Eric Roberston’s ethos is “always to look at what you have before acquiring anything new”. They are able to demonstrate how objects which may have been with a family for many years can be reused and repurposed, transformed to create something that can be used every day.

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