Rype Office: Adopting remanufacturing to create circular economy success
300 tonnes of furniture goes to landfill every day. The single biggest emissions in a construction demolition project is not the building, it is the furniture. Rype Office, a circular economy office furniture company, has been working to address these problems since 2014.
They take high-quality unwanted items from elite brands like Orangebox and Herman Miller and, using a quality-controlled engineering process, remanufacture them so they look and perform as-new for just less than half the price with an 80% reduced environmental footprint.
They have completed over 170 projects for clients including British Land, JLL, RBS, BP Chargemaster, the NHS and Cardiff University. Their ethos is to create beautiful furniture from the waste of others that has a beautiful story to tell.
Perceptions of poor quality have hindered the global uptake of the circular economy, particularly in sectors, like office design and fit-out, where aesthetics are key.
Rype Office’s mission is to demonstrate that innovation and smart engineering can transform waste furniture into an item that is as good-as-new, with an amazing story to tell and a much-reduced price tag.
Since KTN first helped Rype Office in their start-up phase, the model seems to be working; the concept and the market have proven themselves. They have grown steadily and now Rype Office has remanufactured over 18,000 items of furniture saving clients over 1 million kilograms of embodied carbon, compared to buying new.
On large projects, they try to conduct the furniture fit-out and remanufacturing with a trained team of people who are disabled or long term unemployed people living close to the project.
Business highlights at July 2020
- Currently employ 15 full-time staff and are recruiting 4 more.
- They raised £450K from SEIS and £300K through EIS.
- By 2025 they are predicting revenue of £10m.
They regularly add new products to their portfolio. They have launched booths manufactured with the Merthyr Tydfil Institute for the Blind, remanufactured boardroom tables with post-consumer waste plastic tops and bookshelves made from unwanted desk tops. Their free and award-winning design service integrates all furniture into beautiful, low cost and sustainable workspaces.
The business is now focusing on scaling their operations in the UK and helping companies safely set up their staff for long term home working in response to COVID-19.
How did KTN help?
KTN helped Rype Office source and secure their first £5k seed funding through Innovate UK (formerly TSB) innovation vouchers, which helped get the business off the ground.
An introduction to KTN’s circular economy business consultant Mark Shayler helped shape the business concept and provided strategic design advice around the business offer.
Greg Lavery, Founder and MD of Rype Office, said:
Without the initial funding that KTN helped us source we wouldn’t have been able to start the business. It provided the headspace I needed to develop the concept, scope the market and understand the routes to market. The introduction to Mark Shayler helped me refine the offer and provided design advice that was instrumental to the development of the initial concept and products. KTN really understood what we were trying to do and have been a great support in helping us achieve our objectives to-date. There are a great bunch of people at KTN who provide small businesses with excellent support and advice and make introductions to the right people who can really make a huge impact at the pivotal growth stages.
Ben Peace, Head of Manufacturing at KTN, added:
It’s great to see how our belief in Greg’s vision and our support at the earliest stages has delivered fruit (excuse the pun). Rype Office is another great example of how spotting environmental drivers in a particular market can be turned into an economically successful business model. They are now delivering significant environmental benefits and also considerable social benefits through the jobs they’re creating – a great example of positive change.
- Sourced funding to help launch the business and refine the business model and proposition
- Introductions to key collaborators that helped them shape the design of their products and routes to market