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Creativity runs in Abi Daniel’s family, so it’s no wonder that she’s managed to create a career for herself in graphic and homewares design under her own label ‘Upcycled’. She talks to me about how she started out, a love of Scandinavian design, and the importance of conveying a positive message in all her products.

Who are you and what do you do?
I am Abigail Daniel and I’m the owner of ‘Upcycled’. I create homewares and graphic design.


When and how did you start ‘Upcycled’?
I started my business in 2013 after I had made many items for my own home and friends started asking me to make them similar items. I have come from a family of creatives so creativity runs in my blood. My grandfather has created Welsh Lovespoons for the British royal family and my Mum creates inspirational word blocks and birth memory blocks. In the past I had created jewellery with my Mum and ran craft markets in Auckland city so creativity is all around me. I have never had any formal training in graphic design but as part as my job as a youth worker and a youth pastor it was part of my role to create flyers and promotions for our weekly programmes and events. I really enjoyed doing this and slowly started doing other graphic design projects for my personal life. I did my own wedding invites, friends birthday invites and have now moved into creating prints for home decor which has grown into a part of my business. Upcycled started by creating upcycled furniture for homes. This is now expanding into creating pieces for shops and offices. I started creating prints when a friend of mine encouraged me to broaden my range by looking at what else I was good at.

What inspires your design?
Our design is inspired by Scandinavian design. Blacks and whites with splashes of colour along with the use of products made from natural materials. Our design is quite simple. Our prints are made to inspire and breathe life into a home. You will never find a negative quote or image as part of our print collection. Our furniture is simple, rustic and natural. We bring life to products that would have probably ended up in the rubbish.

What else do you juggle along with Upcycled?
I voluntarily youth pastor alongside my husband in our local church, nanny and I am a Mum. So I juggle doing my work at home around all of that and our busy one year old Ezekiel Maximus aka Z-max! I work from home whenever I can during naps or during the evenings after our boy goes to bed.

Upcycled 3What have you found to be a challenge in your business?
I have found the hardest thing to do is get your name out there and known. There are so many talented creatives and to make your mark is often difficult. I think the best way to combat this though is by making your product as easily accessible using things like Selz on your Facebook, making the most of social media and by being out in the public, for example in shops or at markets.

The myth of the ‘starving artist’ is starting to die down a bit – what are your beliefs around making a living from your art?
I think in the beginning its hard to make a salary out of your work but as you make your self known to the public and get a few customers it is defiantly possible to make a living doing what you love. This is definitely a goal I am aiming for in the future.

How do you use the internet to grow your business?
The internet is so key to the future of business. Shopping is becoming less personal as people spend so much time connect to the internet via social media and shopping websites. I use Instagram and Facebook to reach majority of my customers. I love Selz as it gives the opportunity for people to purchase so easily.

What are your favourite blogs or sites?
I love Pinterest! I spend a lot of time researching new trends in home decor and design in Europe and the States.

What’s next for you guys?
We are continuing to develop our branding with more homeware products in the pipeline. We also are planning to expand our graphic design into custom products including business cards, invites and more. This is just the beginning!

Love their work? You can see more of Upcycled’s work on their Facebook page.

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About the author

Melissa Whidjaya

Melissa Whidjaya

Melissa is the co-founder of Bloombox Co. Bloombox Co works to connect flower growers and flower buyers, creating a distribution system that reduces waste, improves profitability for growers, and removes barriers to consumption, providing flower lovers with a fresher, more sustainable product than ever before.