Mulbury is an incredible Australian brand with one simple purpose: to help reduce landfill by recycling various materials into homeware. Their purpose is fulfilled through their creation of one of a kind furniture, timber picture frames in all sizes and finishes, and other homewares, which are all sustainably sourced and made with recycled or second hand materials.
This week we sat down with Gerry, the owner of Mulbury, to chat a bit more about why sustainability is at the forefront of their product design and how they have saved approximately 200,000 lineal metres of timber from landfill.
Keep on reading to learn more about Gerry’s story, and why their customers should expect the unexpected when ordering one of their unique products!
Tell us a bit about yourself and how you started Mulbury?
I was previously a builder by trade. Seeing endless amounts of timber and other materials being thrown out was part of my everyday working life. I thought that there is surely a way to recycle all these materials to stop so much waste being poured into our tips, so I started a part-time project of making picture frames in my backyard shed from all the timber from the building sites and sold them at local markets around Melbourne. They were an instant hit and over 20 years later, Mulbury continues making these picture frames.
We love the unique look of your products that comes from using recycled Australian timber. Can you tell us a bit more about how you source the timber used and your production process?
As we have grown and had a demand for more timber, we now source our timber from various building sites around Melbourne. Instead of the timber going to land fill, we take it away and put it to good use. We generally use Victorian Ash timber.
The production process is a unique one and a long one. Firstly, we have to determine if the timber we receive, is of the right quality and thickness to use. If not, we will try and find another use for the timber such as other products or projects.
For the timber that is at the quality we need it to be, we then clean it of any debris and remove any metal such as nails. Depending on the style of frame we are making, it is then cut and joined. Our picture frames are then finished, fine sanded. They are left natural or we use oils and waxes, to enhance and moisturise the grain and timber for a long-lasting quality. The final stages see our glass or acrylic installed with the backing board. We have over 20 years experience making our quality picture frames. It’s a process that still to this day constantly changes.
At Mulbury, there is generally a ritual attached to the sanding and uncovering of the character and beauty that lies within the pores of the timber. A rare beauty that has been hidden for years. We never know what to expect, so we tell our customers to always expect the unexpected.
Why was creating sustainable, eco-friendly products important to you?
Being green and looking after our planet has always been important to us. As we have become more aware over the last few decades about the environment and global warming, it’s clear that our lifestyles need to change to more sustainable practices. We have always had an interest in interior design and once we worked out the art of recycling timber and being able to create homewares, it was a no brainer. Our practice helps ensure the protection of Australia's old growth forests by providing an alternative supply of high-quality old wood.
What do you believe has been Mulbury’s biggest success so far?
We measure our success based on the amount of material we can recycle or save from landfill. So we don’t really have a single biggest success, however every picture frame or homeware item that we sell contributes to reduced landfill, which is a success to us. To date our best estimate is we have saved approximately, 200,000 lineal meters of timber from landfill. That’s an achievement we are proud of, and we have our customers to thank for helping achieve this.
What does the future hold for Mulbury?
There’s plenty on the cards for 2021.
Picture framing can be challenging and confusing. In addition, using recycled timber means every frame is going to be unique in the colour, grain, character and in some cases the shape. We aim to make life as easy as possible for our customers so we’re going to roll out some helpful videos to help people to make informed decisions for a huge variety of questions they have such as: what picture frame will suit my picture?, what will my picture frame look like?, does my picture need a border around it?, what type of timber do you use?, etc.
We’re also planning on introducing frame sets. A pre-designed set of frames to decorate your wall at home, office, café or wherever. They will come in all shapes in sizes!
We have an Event and Gallery space at our warehouse in Highett, VIC. We plan to host many more events there over the next 12 months. We host artist exhibitions, charity events and yoga classes are even available on some mornings and evenings.
On top of all that, we’re always continuing to strive reduce our waste as much as possible. We give away a lot of our excess timber and saw dust, but we want to eliminate any waste completely, so were trying to be creative and come up with new ways to hit that zero waste milestone.