4 minute read
I grew up in the middle of a rainforest, just outside of Berry “The Town of Trees” on NSW’s South Coast. My parents made an old tree stump into a forest mailbox and ‘Jessica the Fairy’ would leave sparkly and inspiring notes on my birthday. I walked that road from the bus stop home through the forest every day. My backpack filled with Spice Girls contact covered notebooks and a snake bite kit. It was very… 90s Australia. I’d walk that road at night with my sister at 18, being dropped at the top gate at 12am by the only Taxi in town after the local pub had closed. I still walk that road on the weekends, up to the paddocks to feed my mum’s horses with my 4-year-old niece. The forest is home to wallabies, echidnas, snakes, birds, wombats, frogs and as it extends down to the largest part of Broughton Mill Creek – a surprising amount of Platypus can be spotted at dusk if it’s very quiet. There isn’t a place in the world that I know better or cherish more.
They say every 29-30 years, you have a return to yourself - “Saturn’s Return” (where Saturn returns to the same celestial position in the sky as when you were born). I found out about this (inconveniently) after I had turned 30 and had been questioning where I was living (New York City), the career I had made (TV Producer), and how all this was affecting my mental health (not too good). After a torturous 29th year traveling a lot for work, two months after turning the big 3-0, I promptly moved myself – and precisely 54 pieces of vintage Americana clothes – home. It was the first phase of returning to myself. It was a long 6 months, 4 big shoots and 2 psychologist visits later that I would have another return to myself and decide to leave my career, for good. For – good.
It’s just over a year since we launched Made By You. By “we”, I of course mean myself and my dog, Roo. But we almost didn’t. We almost didn’t even start. Because I wanted good x 3. Good for myself, good for others, good for the environment. And if I never stumbled across “The Tree of the Future” – the world’s fastest growing hardwood timber – plantation grown, right here in Australia - my life, my customer’s homes and the furniture options in Australia might look very different. Sure, we’re starting small, but so do the most magnificent 400-year-old, old growth forests. The kind that sustain entire ecosystems and habitats. The kind that outlive generations and sequester a year’s worth of carbon for entire countries annually. The kind that are crucial to protect when facing Climate Change.
See the reason why we all love timber in our homes is the reason why the world’s forests are currently in danger. Timber is beautiful, real, and timeless (and so are the forests that it comes from). And while timber is technically a renewable resource, the kinds of forests that are being logged all over the world, can’t be regenerated in our lifetime, not to mention the irreversible damage and erosion caused to the soil (a finite resource). Timber is gorgeous and should be enjoyed. It reminds us of nature and the outdoors – has an authenticity you just can’t beat. But there’s a better way to enjoy timber than paying thousands of dollars for hundreds of years old, single slab tabletops, or mass-produced furniture with timber veneer over chipboard or plywood using “FSC” or “PEFC” logos to justify how sourcing wood from forests is somehow sustainable. There’s a way to enjoy timber furniture in your home without it costing the earth.
We don’t source timber from forests at Made By You. We make our pieces from Australian grown, plantation grown, Paulownia Timber – the fastest growing tree in the world; the highest strength to weight ratio of any timber in the world; that grows again from its stump; that reaches maturity again in 10 years, not hundreds. We’ve made good x 3. I’ve held myself to the highest personal standard to create products for people and their homes all over Australia, while also caring deeply for the environment. Maybe that’s why I grew up in a forest.
I hope you’ll follow along, while we work to change the furniture landscape for the better.
All Photography by Daniel Bolt