We have met Elise from Paguro Upcycle a few times already. She has been a guest author writing about her personal journey and other topics here on The Wonderment. Today we are chatting with Yen from Paguro Upcycle. Looking at mental health, starting a business and how these accessories and jewellery can help the planet. This is another fantastic interview. We not only find out more about a wonderful brand, but add to our incredible competition! (The prizes are worth over £1800!!).

Take a pew and relax, as we talk to Paguro Upcycle to find out more.

Please can you introduce yourself and Paguro Upcycle.

Hi there! We are Paguro Upcycle, a contemporary upcycled fashion and home accessories company. At Paguro we sell ethically produced products made from recycled and re-purposed materials. We work with several artisanal producers and social enterprises in the UK and across the world. Each of whom share our passion for using reclaimed materials. I founded Paguro Upcycle and have been the spearhead of our sustainable vision for almost 10 years. After a year working with Paguro Upcycle, Elise is newly responsible for PR and Branding. Ava manages our vibrant social media presence. Together, we’re on a mission to create and spread the message for artful, eco-friendly pieces that resonate with conscious consumers.

What was the drive behind creating Paguro Upcycle?

Paguro Upcycle was born from a deep passion for sustainable living and a desire to offer consumers a chance to choose high-quality, ethically crafted products. Our mission is to bring meticulously handcrafted upcycled pieces to the market. Giving people the option to select items that align with their values of sustainability and ethical consumption. We believe that each of our products carries a unique story. This makes them not just accessories, but also statements of conscious living. The perfect conversation pieces that also make incredible, thoughtful gifts.

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How important do you feel upcycling is? 

Upcycling is paramount in our journey towards a more sustainable future. It’s not only a way to express creativity but also a vital step in conserving our planet’s resources. Embracing upcycling means harnessing our ingenuity to transform existing materials into new, valuable creations. By doing so, we reduce our reliance on new resources and minimise waste. This promotes a circular economy that’s crucial for the well-being of both our environment and future generations. Upcycling is the path to a brighter and more responsible tomorrow.

Do you think that looking after our planet can have a greater impact on our mental health?

Absolutely, caring for our planet has a profound impact on our mental well-being. It’s about recognizing that true happiness doesn’t come from mindless consumption. Instead it comes from making mindful choices that align with our values. When we invest in quality products, like those at Paguro Upcycle, that are not only ethically produced but also designed to bring joy and positive impact, it fosters a deeper sense of contentment. Supporting sustainable practices and cherishing items with a meaningful story behind them can offer lasting satisfaction. This improves our overall emotional and mental state. It’s a powerful reminder that our actions are interconnected, and nurturing the planet goes hand in hand with nurturing ourselves.

The idea of creating jewellery from inner tubes is fascinating.  Where did it come from? 

The idea of creating jewellery from inner tubes is truly captivating and serves as a key unique selling point for Paguro Upcycle. This concept was born out of inspiration from the art of paper craft and further refined through collaboration with skilled craftswomen who were already crafting inner tube jewellery for local markets. What makes this practice significant is its alignment with our brand’s core values and sustainability ethos. By transforming discarded inner tubes into statement pieces, we not only offer distinctive and stylish accessories but also contribute to a more eco-conscious world.

What challenges did you face in going from idea to small business?  How did that impact your mental health?

The journey from an idea to establishing a small business presented its fair share of challenges. In the early stages, when I primarily operated from home, creating a clear mental boundary between work and personal life became quite a challenge. This constant immersion in the business impacted various aspects of my mental health. Balancing feelings of self-worth, self-care, self-doubt, and self-confidence often hinged on feedback from customers, which could at times lead to feelings of uncertainty and vulnerability. However, over time, I learnt to navigate these challenges by implementing effective strategies for managing stress, maintaining a healthy work-life balance, and focusing on the positive impact our sustainable creations bring to both customers and the environment.

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I am extremely excited as you sent me the Lotus Statement Necklace, which is not only incredibly well made, it is an absolutely stunning piece of jewellery.  Who comes up with the designs?

We are thrilled that you love the Lotus Statement Necklace! Our designs draw inspiration from the captivating beauty of nature and the intricate details of plants. Take the Lotus, for instance – it symbolizes purity, which perfectly mirrors our ethos. We strive to embody the essence of upcycling by using original industrial materials in their pure form, minimizing excessive industrial processes, and transforming them into something truly beautiful and sustainable. It’s this harmony between nature’s elegance and our commitment to ethical craftsmanship that fuels our innovative designs.

The stark contrast of the rubber against the skin makes for a striking piece of jewellery that is not only unique, but certainly a conversation starter too!  What considerations have to be made when thinking about the designs? 

We agree! The striking contrast creates a one-of-a-kind piece that’s not only visually captivating but also a fantastic conversation starter, something our brand prides itself for. When it comes to our designs, we follow a meticulous process. We begin with a simple draft, gradually expanding it into a comprehensive design. A key consideration is the length and how comfortably the piece sits on the neck. We aim to strike the perfect balance between aesthetics and comfort, ensuring that each design not only looks extraordinary but feels comfortable for the wearer as well.

For me, this is a piece of jewellery that sparks total joy, from choosing it, to opening the box and then wearing it.  I really do find that it lifts my mood when I wear it.  Not only is it comfortable and looks amazing, but I feel good in it.  Is it important to you that your designs have this effect on people?

Absolutely, the joy that our jewellery brings to people is at the heart of what we do. Each design is a labour of love, infused with a positive energy that I personally resonate with. It’s important to me that every piece we create not only looks amazing and is comfortable to wear but also carries a sense of positivity and joy. If a design doesn’t resonate with me, I won’t launch it. This ensures that every Paguro Upcycle piece embodies the kind of positive energy that sparks joy and uplifts the mood of the wearer, just as you’ve described.

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Do you have a favourite jewellery design and why?

It’s like choosing a favourite child – all of our designs are close to my heart, each with its unique story and charm. However, if I had to pick, I do have a soft spot for our Geometric collection. The clean lines and precise shapes really resonate with me, and I find them to be a wonderful representation of our commitment to transforming reclaimed materials into handcrafted, artful accessories. The geometry often highlights the beauty of the materials in an unexpected way, making them not only visually appealing but also a statement of sustainable fashion.

If you could create any design for a piece of jewellery, what would it be?

I must admit, many of my creative visions have already come to life in our existing designs. However, if I were to dream up a new piece, I would love to venture into experimenting with other recycled materials that can offer a similar or even more remarkable impact. The thrill of innovation and discovering new possibilities within sustainable design is something I’m always excited about.

The Wonder Collection

The Wonder Self-Care Journal! We believe self-care is vital to great mental health.  What is your go to self-care activity and why?

Taking a walk in nature is my self-care go-to. The serenity of being surrounded by plants and the natural world instantly puts me at ease. Back home, I indulge in diffusing essential oils that evoke the essence of nature, continuing the tranquillity from the outdoors into my space.

The Wonder Mix Tape! What song/artist do you find uplifting and listening to it/them boosts your mood?

Personally, I’m drawn to classical music, especially when tuned in to Classic FM. With my mind often racing at full speed, music has an incredible power to soothe me. The range of emotions conveyed through melodies is captivating, and I’ve found solace and focus to concentrate with the relaxing notes of classical in the background. Some of my favourites are pieces like Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons,” Massenet’s “Meditation,” “The Blue Danube,” “Pie Jesu,” and “O Mio Babino Caro”.

The Wonder Bookshelf! Can you recommend a book to our readers.  Fiction, non-fiction, feel good or advice giving.  Why did you choose this book?

“Start with Why” by Simon Sinek. This book has been more than a source of inspiration; it’s an affirmation of my journey from being an accountant to becoming the owner of a very niche business. In moments of doubt or when I’m on the brink of giving up, this book serves as a guiding light. It reminds me why I embarked on this path in the first place, rekindling my sense of purpose and aligning my objectives.

The Wonder Sketchbook! Being mindful is a not just rewarding but can also be a lot of fun. 

Draw a self-portrait, draw a dog, a cat, rainbow, anything that comes to mind.  (Please do send us an image of your artwork to share)

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An endearing attempt of drawing my son Alexander with just four simple crayons. He’s a boundless bundle of energy that constantly keeps me on my toes, yet his infectious joy brings an unparalleled happiness into my life.

You can find out more at Paguro Upcucle and their mission on their website and social media channels. Don’t forget to check out the articles Elise has written for us too!

Competition Time

Yes indeed, we are adding yet another amazing prize to our prize bundle worth over £1800!! Today we are popping in a voucher from Paguro Upcycle for £30, redeemable on their website. If you are our lucky winner you will receive your voucher with the bundle in the post!

All you need to do to be in with a chance to win, is follow the directions below. Make sure you also check out the Competitions page for our other WTMH? articles that give you many more entries! Come back soon to read the next article and find out what other fantastic prizes you could win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Remember to listen to WTMH? What The Mental Health? Our brand new podcast available over on Apple. Our first Episode ‘Introductions’ is available now and we will have new episodes each week!

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About Author

Erika is bright, bubbly and friendly. Studying to be a counsellor, she is committed to helping others in the pursuit of better mental health. Having suffered from mental health issues herself including severe anxiety and PTSD, she wants to show others that the light at the end of the tunnel is not just a cliché!
Erika enjoys spending time with her little one, friends and family, crafting, reading, writing, music gaming, cooking, creating art, cacti and llamas.

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