We shine the limelight today on a unique online etailer and social enterprise, hipcycle. As the special activities of the official Earth Month wane, we kick back for a moment and share a few words from founder, owner and Chief Hipcycler, Andrew Sell.
- AltCon: Andrew, Earth Day and Earth Month have a natural connection with upcycling. Can you give us a quick definition of upcycling?
Upcycling is the process of converting waste materials or useless products into new materials or products of better quality or a higher environmental value. While the concept of upcycling has been around for ages (think about our grandparents “making do”) with the onset of technology and double income families it took a back seat. Families nowadays, however, see the value both financially and environmentally so upcyling has made great leaps and strides the past couple of years.
- AltCon: How was hipcycle started?
As a social consumer, I knew I wanted to do something “good,” and when my career took a turn, I decided to go for it. The concept behind hipcycle is to make eco products affordable, durable and beautiful — create useful, new things from existing materials — items that would appeal to both the green and mainstream consumer.
- AltCon: Any exciting new product offerings or partnerships in the works or on the horizon?
We recently teamed up with Terracycle to offer green cleaning products – in upcycled bottles. We’ve also partnered with Bright Endeavors, a Chicago-based program for new moms. And we are currently raising start-up money to start a new line of business where we will import fair trade products made in Cambodia from reclaimed plastic bags. The funkyjunk fundraising campaign is here: http://bit.ly/I9IwYu
- AltCon – What do you see in the future for the green product marketplace, and Hipcycle in particular?
The future marketplace for Hipcycle will offer larger scale upcycled items (furniture) and our own line of products. I created Hipcycle to make green living easy, affordable, and fun. We believe that Hipcycle takes out the hassle of helping the planet.