Dragon’s Den survivor preaches the eco design gospel

After stumbling across “Annie” the shopping trolley chair, by contemporary Eco designer Max McMurdo, I just HAD to get in contact with his company reestore and find out more. Max’s approach to sustainable interiors is refreshing and oozes style. But it’s not only The Design Hub who’ve been wowed with his creations, he’s been nominated to be a judge for this years Observer newspaper Ethical Awards and attracted the interest of two business big shots…

Reestore take everyday waste objects and cheekily turns them into charming yet functional pieces of furniture and accessories. Imagine an old washing machine drum turned into a stylish side table with internal light (eco-friendly light bulb, of course!) called ‘Silvana’, or a discarded super market shopping trolley being reinvented as a striking and much talked about chair, ‘Annie’ as it is now known.

Managing Director and Chief Designer, Max McMurdo likes to name each of his contemporary eco furniture innovations after close friends and family, he even named his much sought after bathtub turned sofa after his father and ‘Max’ the sofa continues to be featured in style and design magazines all over the world since being launched in – max in 2006, Reestore 2002.

“We try to avoid traditional eco materials in favour of contemporary finishes, fabrics and above all style. Why compromise on aesthetics when designing and selling eco furniture and products, eco can be cool and stylish too in our opinion.”

The ‘Dragons’ certainly agreed when Max presented his unusual products to them on Dragons’ Den, the popular BBC television programme at the end of last year. The five multi-millionaires sitting in front of him were suitably impressed by ‘Ben the Bin’ which promotes recycling and multiple-use of plastic and biodegradable bags, thereby helping to reduce unnecessary waste being sent to landfill sites; and by ‘Gordon’ the cool looking chair made from an old wheel barrow.

A fierce bidding war ensued between the ‘Dragons’ as they fought for shares in reestore, already recognised as one of the UK’s leading designers of contemporary eco furniture.

“creatives are notoriously bad at making business decisions and produce beautiful award-winning products that don’t sell. I’ve been there and made the mistakes and id love to pass this knowledge on.”

With an answer to everything the fiery ‘Dragons’ threw at him in a tense and thrilling grilling in The Den (which made great TV by the way), Max chose to take investment from Deborah Meaden and Theo Pathitas who are now actively involved with reestore to make the company a household name in attractive looking eco furniture.

Deborah Desk

Since appearing on television, Max and reestore have gone global and been simply inundated with enquiries for his furniture from as far a field as Taiwan, Australia and America, with a number of magazines, websites and television programmes featuring the products as THE items to buy when looking for stylish, functional and eco-friendly furniture.

“The future of reestore is a confusing one for me as I never really meant to set up a company – it just happened!”

It really is a case of ‘watch this space’ – Max has been named as one of the ‘Expert Judges’ of The Observer newspaper’s annual ‘Ethical Awards’ which recognise and reward people and companies who have done the most to safeguard the planet in the past 12 months.

He is also embarking on a journey around the country “preaching the eco design gospel” and holding workshops for children and adults on how to get their creative juices flowing and make the most of their junk. To get involved with any of these workshops you can contact sir@reestore.com

Theo Table

“ Pre Dragons Den reestore was little more than a hobby fuelled by passion and belief rather than profit. Since going on the show I have been able to invest in tools, move into a workshop, employ staff and most importantly develop and improve the furniture to a much higher standard.

The knowledge and contacts provided by the investors has proved priceless in terms of door opening and increasing the professionalism of the business in general.

“I am also looking to expand the current range and free up more of my time to visit schools and inspire students.”

Max aims to inspire and support young designers to reach their dream like he did, “I get approached by loads of young designers with great ideas but no route to market. I would love to invite them to my workshop and under my guidance develop their ideas commercially to sell on the website.”
He is also barking on a journey around the country “preaching the eco design gospel” and holding workshops for children and adults on how to get their creative juices flowing and make the most of their junk. To get involved with any of these workshops you can contact sir@reestore.com – I’m already there Max!
Words and Images: Max McMurdo

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Filed under Bathroom Interiors, Bedroom Interiors, lighting, Max McCurdo, modern design, News, Quirky, Success Stories

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