Each month we will be giving you an insight into the wonderful life of the reestore team and our exciting projects…
So who are reestore and how did they get started? The man behind the brand Max McMurdo tells us how it all began…
Most of you are probably looking at my name and the obligatory cheesy little pic and thinking, who is this person? Well I’m m not actually a journalist or an author, and didn’t even achieve a C or above in English at GCSE but I did like doodling and playing with Lego. This rather weak skill-set led me on a random and varied path through university where I studied product design and on graduating embarked on a career in car design – after all what young lad doesn’t want to pen the next Ferrari?!
Well it turns out 99.9% of car designers actually don’t pen the next Ferrari at all, rather they sit behind a computer drawing the technical detail on the back of a head lamp – yawn! So I did what any sensible, level headed person would do, quit my first well paid job, handed in my notice on my beautiful flat in Cologne and purchased an old left hand drive baby blue and white VW camper. I then travelled (the very long way) back to my parents house in Bedfordshire, along the way scavenging, skip diving and plotting my next move. Now I must point out I’m not a hippy, don’t have dirty fingernails or smell of compost but living in Germany had germinated (get it?) a thought in my mind that the whole eco thing made a lot of sense.
After explaining my arrival to my surprised and somewhat sceptical parents and making excuses for the oil now dripping on their driveway I spent the next few months plotting my eco design master plan. I ultimately wanted to design smaller products, I would conceive the idea, design, develop and make the items by hand out of scrap materials I could scavenge, I would then sell loads of them and become rich! It all sounded so easy on paper so I got myself a part time job in a bar and spent every waking minute thinking of business names, cutting up scrap objects in the back garden, sketching ideas and building a basic website. By January 2003 I was ready, I had beaten up several old trolleys and one resembled a chair, I had come up with the name reestore, the most primitive website in the world was my shop window and I had already chosen my Ferrari as selling these beautiful chairs must be the easy bit! I was wrong, you can have the most amazing products in the world but you need to make people aware of them, have a route to market and build a brand. Its one thing being ahead of the trend and cutting edge but it’s a huge challenge having to educate your potential customers who just think you’re a junk loving nut case! After years of struggling to make ends meet, lots of part time jobs, living in a caravan, running a stall on Camden market and even trying to become a teacher I finally accepted that I needed help and in order for it to grow I needed to let go a little and allow someone to help me nurture my baby.
In July 2007 I walked up what felt like the steepest staircase in the world, at the top sat 5 multi-millionaires who could change my life forever, here I was on Dragons’ Den. I must confess I honestly didn’t think they would take me seriously, I thought the producers who auditioned me saw me as one of those fools in the x-factor audition stages. Low and behold after a 2 hour discussion (somewhat heated in places with a certain Glaswegian!) I had 2 new investors and share holders in Reestore – Deborah Meaden and Theo Paphitis. Nearly six years later I have a great team around me, am producing furniture for The Body Shop, Smart car, Google, Ecover, Saatchi and Saatchi, and exporting our work all over the globe. In 2012 I returned to your tellyboxes appearing in Channel 4’s George Clarkes Amazing Spaces where I designed and built a home office in my back garden using a shipping container – and the reetainer was born! Since the show we have received so many enquiries for the reetainer, it now has it’s very own website www.reetainer.com
I am not going to lie – It’s been tough and I’m going to tell you about some of my highs and lows over the next few months, 100 plus hour weeks, learning the hard way about negotiating, how the budget can stitch you up and maybe some juicy gossip about the dragons and their den! I will also be sharing with you some of my new crazy ideas, updating you on current projects, telling you about some of my failed prototypes and generally using this space to rant about the world – hopefully somehow relevant to eco design! I also hope to show you how to make your very own upcycled creations at home. After all recycling is usually a pretty boring topic, it needn’t be, there is nothing more fun than making racing cars out of cereal boxes and elephants out of milk bottles!
Until next month my little future junk monkeys!
Five Minutes in the Tub…
Each month we will be picking one of reestore’s products and getting to know him or her a little better. This month is the turn of Jeremy the V8 Coffee Table, who recently appeared alongside Max in the Channel 4 show George Clarkes Amazing Spaces.
So tell us a bit about you? British born in mid 2012, I am the result of Max’s time spent working for Rover in early 2000. Max always knew he could find a way to make a more economical Rover V8 engine – and finally here I am!
Tell us something about yourself nobody already knows? My cylinders are the perfect size for storing wine bottles…ideal for displaying your best bottles of red!
Where do you hang out? Mainly I’m found in living rooms, reception areas and on occasion curled up at the side of sofas. I’m easy going and just as comfortable in the office or home.
Max says “Ok so it’s not the first time a V8 engine has been used but just check out that chrome effect coating An original Rover V8 block professionally powdercoated in a gleaming chrome finish – sitting on self levelling ball and socket height adjustable feet with an 8mm thick made to measure piece of polished and toughened safety glass. Hope Mr Clarkson approves!”