Lau Morrachini is an eco-friendly woodworker and jewellery maker. She’s an upcycler, who makes her own, bespoke products.

Listen in to hear Lau share:

  • An introduction to Lau and her business (1:11)
  • How she got started with wood-working and metal turning (1:53)
  • Where she sources the reclaimed items to create her products (4:45)
  • How she designs her products (6:18)
  • How and where people find her products (8:45)
  • Whether it’s easier to sell bespoke jewellery in person or online (10:22)
  • How long it takes to make a product (11:30)
  • How she manages stock and what to make, when (12:38)
  • The biggest challenges she faces (13:57)
  • How Coronavirus has affected her business and the way she needs to market her products (16:30)
  • How the business works around her family (18:33)
  • What she enjoys about running her business (20:34)
  • Her top advice for other makers and product creators (24:03)
  • The importance of knowing who your customers are (25:30)
  • Why it doesn’t matter if not everyone likes your products (29:11)

USEFUL RESOURCES:

The Creative Upcycler  

Lau’s Etsy Shop

The Creative Upcycler on Instagram

The Creative Upcycler on Facebook

Lau Morrachini on Linkedin

LET’S CONNECT

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Work with me

Transcript

Creating Upcycled products - with Lau Moracchini

INTRO (:

Welcome to the Bring Your Product Ideas to Life podcast, practical advice and inspiration to help you create and sell your own physical products. Here is your host Vicki Weinberg.

Vicki Weinberg (:

Hi, thank you so much for being here today. I'm really excited to introduce this week's guest to you because she actually makes her own products and run for the manufacturers for them, which is something we haven't spoke about on the podcast just yet. So Lau Morrachini is the founder of The Creative Upcycler she's an eco

friendly woodworker and jewellery maker based in Brighton. She collects, we claimed in salvage work to make bespoke would enjoy a week and home homeware. So this is a really interesting conversation. You'll find out about how a lo got started creating her own products. And so the practical steps she goes through where she sells them. And I really hope you'll find this useful. So without further ado, I'll introduce you to Lei say hi, Lau thank you so much for being here today.

Vicki Weinberg (:

Would you mind if we start by telling everyone about yourself and your business, please?

Lau Morrachini (:

Hi. Thank you. Thank you for having me happy to do the podcast. My name is Lau I'm a woodworker and maker. I'm based in Sussex in Brighton. And I worked for my workshop and the back of my house. I make a wouldn't do a REIT. And what an object may be from a reclaimed wood. Yes.

Vicki Weinberg (:

So we meet weekly. So for reclaimed Where

Lau Morrachini (:

Yes. From our scripts. Yes.

Vicki Weinberg (:

Oh, wow. And how did you get started dipping that

Lau Morrachini (:

Just so it's a woodworking has always been my, my passion since it was a little girl, like grew up in my dads workshop for learning who've done in metal and even mechanic's. And after that, that warranted as a teenager, I want you to become a cabinetmaker, but a at that time that let's say it was beginning of the eighties. It was a bit tricky. I lived in a rural area and it wasn't a bit challenging for me for a young guy to become a cab. He didn't make it at that time, so I didn't do it. And I went to university, I graduated and I moved to Mexico when I traveled to Mexico. And so I decided to stay there because I really loved it.

Lau Morrachini (:

So I worked for 10 years as a French lecturer in Mexico, a but at the same time that I sets up a, a, a collective, most of makers and artists and doing woodworking. And where are we making? And after 10 years decided to come back to Europe, a two to three years in London, where I worked as a French, a lecturer asking Scott age, and that's the three years I resigned not on the finished the ones you do to stop my passion and driving, to start living up, to make a living at the top of it. So we move to is born.

Lau Morrachini (:

And where have I met my friend, Mike cabinetmaker and I used to go every, every week, two is workshop making pieces of furniture. And I realize that he was throwing all the off-cuts really expensive. Then there are a lot of, of course, a to the, to the beach. So I said, look, if you can't solve all of this words, or I'd rather the world for my mission and obviously, and rubbed all the wood since then, and he calls me my PI, but the way the pieces of wood, I started to make a small objects. I bought late, and I started to make a kitchen where a lot of jewelry bit by bit, but I didn't have a role there for three years ago.

Lau Morrachini (:

We moved to Brighton and I'm very lucky to have now my own workshops at the back of the house. So I've got all my tools that you and I can work from. This is where I became a wood worker, let's say a full time. Yeah. So I think I have really managed to truck to transform my, my first of all, my passion into, into a business.

Vicki Weinberg (:

That's amazing. So where do you, how does it work class or where do you get your wisdom metal from now? Because I know you only used me claimed items, is that right?

Lau Morrachini (:

So many for me from cabinet makers, wood merchants, now just working with some more of guts and a hardwood, but before you used to even collect in skip flight dipping, and now is just sometimes I get them for free, but something I have to buy them that is just off guts.

Vicki Weinberg (:

Okay. So you are just looking for that, the scraps of, with a metal that other people aren't don't want the day it needs.

Lau Morrachini (:

Exactly. It is becoming tricky because that it makes us realize that some people are doing more, I'm making muddy with out of that. So they are sending them now. So it's a, it's a bit of a challenge or on the job because I was in need to do by the way, try not to bite off cuts, but it's becoming a bit tricky too, to keep my prices, you know?

Vicki Weinberg (:

Yeah, of course. Cause I guess if you start having to pay for your materials, obviously your costs are going to have to go up to a hundred. I think that that's very interesting.

Lau Morrachini (:

Nothing is freed and we need to have a piece of wood.

Vicki Weinberg (:

So where'd you, where'd you come up with the idea for your project. So I've had a look on your website, in your, and your products at all. So unique. So all things that you've designed yourself and now the things that, how are they sort of, how do you, yeah, I'll be, I'll be honest. I am not a creative in this way. So I'd love to know a bit about how do you come up with the design for a beautiful piece of jewelry, for example, right.

Lau Morrachini (:

Yeah. I used to make bigger things. I like the big jewelry books, shelves, a side horse, et cetera. And I started do makes I had some very small very nice, were like Walnut and all that. And I started to make rings and I had really good feedback from friends and family. And I said, well, let's say you should sell them. So why not sober? I decided to do a over a website, then Shop online. And then I started this just for the creative.

Lau Morrachini (:I started in June, may, June,:Lau Morrachini (:

So you, you, you see a ring and he said, Oh, I'm going to this ring. I really love it. Are they the right to me? High or low reload this ring. But could you change the inlay off? I don't know of a, to acquire is by a new label. Let's say the other thing or a different food or a different shape. And you can assign. So at the moment, I'm really happy because I've got a long list of all those four weddings things. Yeah. Wedding rings and engagement rings. Oh, that's not my thing. Or if it's summer or if it's the lockdown, if it's what people are getting married a lot at the moment.

Lau Morrachini (:

So yeah. Yeah. They couldn't believe that people who told that trust in, in, in me for the wedding rings and the other really good feedback, then you have got more orders now, you know,

Vicki Weinberg (:

That's amazing. Where do you think people are finding out about you is at your website? Are you doing anything else to promote yourself?

Lau Morrachini (:

What else? I've got two shops online. I've got a private, I started with a private website and I've got another shop on Etsy, a that's online and face to face of a, a track to do, to make us fast. This was fast, the artists open houses. And I don't know if you've heard about the festival in Brighton. Yeah. Yeah. So it, it was council in may and fortunately, but it's the schedules for November and December that when I do face-to-face all the rest is all online. I don't have to Shop.

Lau Morrachini (:

I mean, if you think of Shop.

Vicki Weinberg (:

Yeah. And do you think does a loss of Your where do people have said, do you think people tend to find you online or are they find you or, you know, when they met you in person or is it a mix of, of both?

Lau Morrachini (:

Do you find me online? I sell less rings during faster, because I've got a samples of I've got 10 or 15 wrings to show them and I can do when we are face-to-face that can measure the fingers. We can discuss a design, but people then who are not to buy them well, when we are face-to-face I send more at home where, for example, the infest, all the reasons, the 99% of the rings, I sell them on online.

Vicki Weinberg (:

Interesting. So as you say, you think it will be easier to sell a living in person because you can sit down and discuss. Yeah.

Lau Morrachini (:

Right. So the ring and the light, and if you go to the size, because obviously I can't make a, because one of my unique setting was everything. Every wring is unique and the spot, so I can't make it the same region in 10 or 15 different sizes. Yes. That was a way that I then Denzel of rings and not sending them. So if you pick the ring, you design it. So we decided to get near the edge, unless you've got, you know, exactly the design that you like to buy and I'll make it right.

Vicki Weinberg (:

Oh, fantastic. So you just, do you get people ordering rings though and fairs and things like that yet So made when I said buying, so obviously not all during that time.

Lau Morrachini (:

Yeah. Yeah. The rings out, sitting better online it's yeah. It's funny. Yeah.

Vicki Weinberg (:

And what to say, so it sounds like you've got like a mic set of products that you make for people. And then your, obviously your home, where products that you make and they are always available. So how do you, I'm just thinking, how do you manage knowing how many to make of each items is actually something, if you don't mind me asking is how long does it take you to make something? Like, if we say a bottle of a stopper, for example, how long would that take you

Lau Morrachini (:

Both on the stop lights, like an hour and hour and a half, depending on the wood, because some people wants to do different foods and sometimes just a simple design, a lot of waiting times in a woodworking for the drying times and punishing and Sunding and taking a walk and cuttings, or is not so long. Some summary things that take me to make them more of a four or five days was drying times in some ways, takes me two to three hours or the raise a eight to 10 hours.

Vicki Weinberg (:

Oh, wow. Yes. So how has it use sort of balance is knowing how many of your products or is it depends on the wood. You can get hold of, how does that work?

Lau Morrachini (:

I've got them in stock, everything I've got in stock, it's all online on the Shop of the rings there that, that they had made yet.

Vicki Weinberg (:

Yep. So for your home Wednesday, how do you sort of know how many to make, or do you not know? Do you just gauge it by a number of orders or you have one of everything

Lau Morrachini (:

If you wanted it, I send it to immediately, if you want then and say, okay, but ah, give me five days, but like just, I'm just able to make a six or this type, because I just have this amount of a, of, of this type of food at the moment. So it's a harmonizing in the top of the discussion with the customer's. That's an interesting,

Vicki Weinberg (:

That's interesting. So you say you sold one of one design, then you would then make that one again. So you have it ready to sell it to the next customer, if you can. Yeah, because I did want to how that worked. So I've looked at your website, obviously you have quite a range of home products. I did one to how you kept on top

of them, because obviously you are making everything yourself. So that's the one that's got to take up so much of your time.

Lau Morrachini (:

And so yes, I make it a, everything for me to then go to the post office and send to the, the parcel.

Vicki Weinberg (:

Yeah. So there's quite a lot of time in both. And that's probably a good point to talk about. So we met, you mentioned earlier about how it is getting a bit harder to find the scrap word and the scrap metal. So are there any other challenges that you've encountered sort of since starting up your business?

Lau Morrachini (:

Yes. So the big challenge of selling online is when you don't have any physio, if you're going to have a physical shop, do you have to work a lot on your marketing and social marketing and your SEO on the line? And I'm not doing enough work on it at the moment. It's because of child care for all the reasons. But I think with a business like mine, I should be quite a quarter of my time in my workshop, three quarter of my time on, in front of the computer, working on my SQL content or my site content or my social marketing needs, et cetera, or taking a nice pictures or promoting them and researching for the goods a bit of the best hashtags, etc, etc.

Lau Morrachini (:

And I don't like doing that. I was working, but I don't, I have a physical Shop account to, for this, or you have to do it in any way and that's a, a path. So those in working from home, it's good to be your own boat, most of, but no hoorah, but you have to be super disciplined. You have to improve the routine because otherwise it was just all of a lie, you know, and do that tomorrow. And if it doesn't talk like that, so it's a bit tricky and I've got to children. So am I, my father works a full time, so I am in charge of the child care.

Lau Morrachini (:

So normally I've got what I call it a full or part time from nine to six for my business, all the rest of the time. And then with the kids a bit now, because of the lockdown, there is no school homeschooling in the morning every morning. And, and I try to, to get some free hours in the afternoon or, or in the evening for four My for my workshop, best buy ever. We've got a trumpet in a tight accident up on it is outside of my workshop and the keys to a hoppy on the trumpet. So I've got a nine of them and I'll make my, my rings.

Vicki Weinberg (:

That is excellent tip. So yeah, I think you are right. And I think it was coming to me. I must be, you know, it does bring its challenges. I mean, I guess another, you were talking about a challenge sort of marketing and promoting your business. And I guess another way, and please tell me if I'm wrong, but I assume that lockdown has also affected your business in a way that, because you can't go out and physically two stalls

and the band's and meet people, I'm, you know, there needs to be more, you know, online marketing is even more important than it ever has been, I guess.

Lau Morrachini (:

Yes. Yeah, it does. And I was so disappointed when, when they canceled the hottest of an office is because I was invited in February for the first time, there was some ones. So my products on them, you know, Christmas back, and then it brought to me and asked if I could be really, really like what you do. So do you want to be part of the house with us? And two is that with the collective? And he was really, really honored. Obviously I reorganized everything and the last two minutes it was canceled. I'm looking forward to, for the next ones in a Northern box and building my stock now being my beats.

Vicki Weinberg (:

Yeah. It is such a shame. And we have what you're saying as well about some of the, on the, on my marketing. I think that's, I think that's part of being a business owner. Isn't it, there's always so much you have to do because you are doing it all when it's just sort of, you have your business and I guess an extra challenge for you is that you are also making your product. So I have my products business, but I don't actually make the products. And even so I spent, I spent no where near as much time as I do on marketing. And I'll be honest because there's always, it feels like there's always something else to do it wasn't there. So I can't imagine how I would manage that actually physically creating the products as well.

Vicki Weinberg (:

So I think that's it, that's it? Yeah. That is a real

Lau Morrachini (:

In September and two of my, my full-time part-time, but the report nine to six and manage to do some more work and much more.

Vicki Weinberg (:

It is easier for me. Yeah. When you've got child-free time, it's always the joke or otherwise. So while we are on the subject of that, so, so I guess in normal time, so let's say we are not in lockdown. How does running at this point Product spaces work with your family or does it work around your family life?

Lau Morrachini (:

I don't know. I've got longer on a waiting time. Is it making the time or you can make, depending on the, the period in the year during holidays or increase my time to be two to three weeks while writing this book or green or install, if I can send it to immediately, obviously. So that's not a problem, but in when that's called, I can make rings, but, and then one to two weeks, or if I've got to get enough time in is not enough time, I need to make them. So yeah, it is good because I've got steel, I've got it from nine to six.

Lau Morrachini (:

So let's say five hours, which is, it's a big need to make the, most of it has to be doing the workshops. And I'm really looking to up my workshop, but the back of the, the, the garden. So when I'm done there coming to the computer and I do my own social marketing and on the sun, et cetera.

Vicki Weinberg (:

Yeah. That must be a really nice actually to separate your work from your home. So I have a, a separate space.

Lau Morrachini (:

Yes. Yeah. And it used to work in my kitchen. So when I used to live in Isabelle and then I have been very happy,I'm going to be a workshop with all my tools is now, and I'm struggling a bit with a storage now. There's a lot of allthe, of course I've got, I don't know. I don't know what to put things like that anyway. Yeah.

Vicki Weinberg (:

Is your house full of pieces of wood?

Lau Morrachini (:

Not even, no, not anymore, no. In the shed and in the garbage.

Vicki Weinberg (:

So obviously this sounds like a business that sort of was created out of love or a passion for what you do. So, so aside from a source of enjoying the making process, what else do you enjoy about this sort of a bit about your business?

Lau Morrachini (:

I enjoyed the, the relationship I've got, who is my clients online, or even if it's not a face to face. So is that I will prefer a face-to-face, but I'm a manager I'm always answering. You may not even directly or are you sure are sending pictures, designing more offerings online too. He's got a design together. And a, that's a very exciting process. Sometimes more than making the, the Turing is designing a, I've got a clue I've got to customer or at the moment in use in society. And you send to me a message that you really love your rings.

Lau Morrachini (:

And so I would like my ring's my wedding ring. I would like you to make my wedding ring, but I'm a, I'm a boy or from the South downs bought in bread. And I like to make a ring out of Ashland and Flinstone. And I was like, Oh, great idea. I, whenever I need to have it worse, but it's not very hard. And so if we are designing, we are making yes. He asked me for advice or I'm giving him and then do you have options? And it's all in the process of designing with, with the customer is, is, is it's nice. It's not really enjoy it. And, and a good feedback at the end.

Lau Morrachini (:

So it's like a seven better.

Vicki Weinberg (:

Yeah. Well, it sounds like you prefer a fantastic service and that was the nice thing. It isn't it about being in a small, one of the nice things about being your own business is that you can provide that service. There is nobody between you and the customer

Lau Morrachini (:

When, when, when someone said, Oh, well, thank you so much for my wedding ring. Wow. And he just sends in SME features and it's, it's really a one more thing. Really, really nice, you know,

Vicki Weinberg (:

That's lovely. That's a lovely thing to be able to create for somebody and the engagement. Yeah.

Lau Morrachini (:

I mean, it was people think that I started them on a beat and I tell the wedding rings because obviously it's not a gold or silver, but a, when some people prefer to have a unique, wouldn't ring, always a bit of a Gemma store in LA, or if you have silver or a different design, you know,

Vicki Weinberg (:

That's a really nice and how about engagement being, so do you get people coming for engagement rings, and then you get to find out how it all went after.

Lau Morrachini (:

Yeah. The problem, you know what I want to send me the day? She said, yes. He said, yes, send me the, the answer, an engagement, ring it to be tricky because normally I don't know the size. So I've got a lot of people stealing for the, of stealing for a day. You know, another ring running through the workshop, people who are living locally, obviously running through my workshop. I measure quickly the ring. And again, the ring back in, in the drawer or in the jury box. And sometimes we are just going to guess, but yeah, they can get from a tree that tree at the end, we all will get us a size.

Lau Morrachini (:

Right.

Vicki Weinberg (:

Got it. Good. Okay. So lay. What would it be? Your number one piece of advice for anyone else wanting to start a product business, particularly I guess someone who wanted to make the products themselves

Lau Morrachini (:

Do it. That's the first piece of advice. Trust yourself, show your work to other people, whatever you making friends, family show your work, try to do have a support network. Sometimes are taught to a friend or a partner or a memo of family. Tell them you goals, set some goals, tell them what you are going to do. Do we show them the product or accept the bad feedbacks? because then you are growing and doing better.

Lau Morrachini (:

A, someone like a, an accountability partner. Anyone, if you look next months and green to me, I don't know are going to make a decision. I'm going to learn out to solve the silver rings up to do it. If you don't have the money to pay for a workshop goes online, you got plenty or free courses. Jewelry-making all of the products

learn to practice, fail, start again, failed again, and stopped. And fate do it. You, you put it out. I've been in India. I hate to show it to people for, for feedback.

Lau Morrachini (:

It was something very important to us as well, knowing who your customers are. And Listen listened to your customers, basically, 'cause you making stuff to send it to them. You don't, you don't make stuff to please you in your work and give them in a drawer. So yeah. Communicate a lot with your customers as much as you can. What is it is, but going out and investigate that don't worry. If you see all these a product in mind, but also it's already exists. It doesn't matter. Do it, try to do it better. Try to transform me to try to, to add something more, to eat different color, different materials, anywhere, depending on your product.

Lau Morrachini (:

What is set for example, the I never pay for a week in class. If you might find them for Christmas bottom year or two days, not for another one's course. It's this expo Dani. That will be there when I go there to learn more and more techniques. But I've learned a lot of things with people online, practicing, failing, doing it again, et cetera. Or I have a go at it and it will be better every day. So several. Yeah.

Vicki Weinberg (:

Yes. Thank you. I agree. Actually, I've recently left when I say this is the last couple of years and it has a crochet and I did it all from YouTube. Just videos of people's hands, just coughing. I mean, I'm, I'm not doing anything to sell. I'm just doing it for fun. But yeah, I think I'm pretty, I'm pretty good. Now I'm actually, and as you say, it's just doing it. Although I suppose, I guess it's been a bit easier for me because I'm not doing it for sale. I'm doing it for fun. There's a bit less pressure maybe, but maybe that was another advice for people is if you enjoy it, I guess

the creative part, it should be fun to get the actual Creating should be fun.

Vicki Weinberg (:

She shouldn't be a chore because you're selling it at the end.

Lau Morrachini (:

Yeah. This is what I miss. When I used to work as an extra, you know, I miss manual work or creating with my hands and I feel much, much better making, doing woodworking and this and lecturing people.

Vicki Weinberg (:

If there's something relaxing, isn't there about doing something like that. Yeah.

Lau Morrachini (:

That's a perfect job for me. For mindfulness. Yeah. You said a lot of salting of the rings. You know, its not supposed to sell then you just because I wanted you to metal work when you imagine. So I started making wooden ring's for me and I said, Whoa, I really like them. And I'm going to make another one and another one. And when I had five or six, I went and I show two friends and family and it's like, wow, what a beautiful, even like my friend that got me, they make us. And he was really, really much for finished and got fictions, look, you should sell them because they are re deputy for them.

Lau Morrachini (:

So I did, I did it. And I started at the website than the shop online on Etsy et cetera. I'd been by me and I am selling some of it. It's perfect.

Vicki Weinberg (:

It is. It is great. You sort of decided to just put them out there and think fantastic. You went and shows people because I think that something that people can sometimes be a little bit hesitant to do because its quite vulnerable. Isn't it? Especially when you've made it yourself to show you to someone and say, what do you think? Because if they say, Oh no, I don't like that. We'll take your feelings. So it's a really brave

Lau Morrachini (:

Say that someone else that you laughed different, different opinion. Do you know if my lane is quite minimalist, I find it elegant and minimalist. So from Ringwood and Rainmaker, it does make a, that might make a lot of different metals, different wards, even margarines and rings. I find it not to bad, but it's for me to be too much. Yeah. If a customer says I would like three different wooden to two gemstones and a bit a monetary inside, could you do that? Of course I'll do it for the customer because if they want, but I prefer any money.

Vicki Weinberg (:

Yeah. And as you say, whatever you do, whenever you create it's, this is never going to be for everyone because everyone has different tastes and yeah. So

Lau Morrachini (:

I'd prefer the plastic means. Sorry. Yeah. The plastic rings or diamonds is a good the morning.

Vicki Weinberg (:

So I think it's great. As you say, just to just put your ideas out there, just to show people, get some feedback and it sounds like you found that all really useful. Yeah.

Lau Morrachini (:

Yes. Definitely. Because the first time you buy something you like you did with a project, it was like, Oh its not bad, but you, you will never imagine that you can sell them.

Vicki Weinberg (:

Yeah. No I think that's a good and I think the first thing that I guess yeah, it is to just say to people I've made this, what do you think? I guess that's the first step in having something that you are able to sell. Okay. We'll thank you so much for everything that you've shared and I'm going to be pushing the link to your website in the show notes and everyone can go Ava and have a look at what you create. And is there any last thoughts you wanted to share before we end?

Lau Morrachini (:

No, just have to encourage people to do to start a business. Don't worry. It's a big a baby to just, just do it. Just go with that and do it. It's easy. You know, nine with all the, even for you, you can do some sales stuff free on, on, on Etsy for a listing. It's like a thing there are paid 20 P for listing policing. So do it, try, try out some products play a bit far. So my advice to see if you've got some feedback or we'll returns or all it does, you never know, you never know, just go do it. Wait or I need this in this first at the beginning.

Lau Morrachini (:

I always an excuse. But after that I realized I don't need the tool. You can do it differently to do it, launch your business. And I did it and I'm really happy that I did it at that time.

Vicki Weinberg (:

Well thank you so much for your time and feel encouragement as well. I think that it's yeah, it's really a nice to have all these Your encouraging words and I'm absolutely with you that yes. I don't think you ever regret what you do. You regret what you don't do.

Lau Morrachini (:

Exactly. Exactly the worst.

Vicki Weinberg (:

Yes. That was fantastic. Yeah. And thank you. But yeah, it is scary, but also lots of fun. I think it's fair to say. Okay. Well thank you so much for your time later.

Lau Morrachini (:

Thank you for me.

Vicki Weinberg (:

I really hope you found that conversation with like useful and interesting do, please go to have a look at her website, take a look at her products and you'll probably like myself be amazed if she makes these by hand as always. I'd love to know what you think of the episodes. So you can always send me an email Vicki@tinychipmunk.com. If you're listening on Apple podcast, you can also rate AMA view of the podcast, which I would really appreciate it. Thank you so much and see you next week.