"How about SmoothEdge?"
Welcome to the story of SmoothEdge, the upcycled glassware company that started from a simple hobby and how it turned into what it is today. In part 2 of our series, we pick up the story in late 2017, when co-founders Justin and Leah had found a way of upcycling bottles fairly consistently…
It’s now late 2017, Justin and Leah have managed to create upcycled glassware with the right amount of hot, cold and a lot of elbow grease and patience. The satisfaction of cutting bottles is just too much and everyone Justin sets his sights on he tells about his “bottling” successes!
Justin began selling the upcycled glassware on Etsy under the name “Silly Little Fox Designs,” and despite a slow start, interest in the glasses began to grow. However the process was just far too time consuming and found it difficult completing orders, but he knew that people liked the glasses and wanted them.
In Late 2017, Leah also met Sam and it was here when Sam started to get involved with upcycling bottles. He quickly learned how to make the glasses and began creating them as gifts for friends and family. Upcycling bottles remained just a hobby for Sam, Justin and Leah for a year or so but this meant they could perfect the technique of upcycling with their extremely rudimental way but they realised they had something fairly special on their hands.
Fast track to April 2019, the team are all armed with a little more practise and Sam was coming towards the end of university. He and Leah decided they wanted to go travelling together to New Zealand and Bali and wanted to start selling the upcycled glasses.
This is where SmoothEdge was born…
After brainstorming several potential names such as Cutting Edge, Cut Bottles, Cut Cups they settled on SmoothEdge - a nod to the process of cutting and smoothing the edges of glass bottles to create glasses.
Fired up with passion, optimism and excitement, Sam and Leah began listing the upcycled glasses on Etsy and taking pictures with their iPhones, with poor quality pictures and little marketing knowledge. Progress was slow at first, and they only received one or two orders per month in the first few months.
They started collecting waste glass bottles from pubs and bars every Sunday, but at this time, would only sift through pubs bins which was satisfying but also a little embarrassing. With a mix of emotions while sifting, it was exciting finding an empty Bombay Sapphire or Grey Goose bottle, the “golden nuggets” - but embarrassing making noise rummaging through bins, it wasn’t the nicest of jobs, but it had to be done. Then they’d come back and smell of hangover, booze and annoy everyone in the house when they’d accidentally sprinkle tiny glass shards everywhere.
As they prepared to go traveling in New Zealand and Bali, Sam and Leah stocked up on upcycled glasses. They managed to recruit the “bottling, packaging elf” (Leahs mum, Jane) to do the packing while Sam and Leah were having a lovely time in New Zealand…
By the end of Christmas 2019, SmoothEdge had received around 50 orders - a significant milestone that spurred them us on to keep growing SmoothEdge.