Corporate push for sustainable office furniture drives sales at Ayrshire firm
Growing demand for recycled office furniture to cut down on carbon emissions has led to a boom in business at Ayrshire refurbishment specialist 2ndhnd.com, which is anticipating a doubling of revenues within the next three years.
Co-founded in 2014 by managing director Ross Dutton, 2ndhnd restores tens of thousands of chairs, desks, drawers and cabinets to near-new condition. About a third of this is sold direct to consumers, with the rest purchased either by UK-based businesses or re-sellers based in Europe.
The company had a hand in the massive Barclays project in Glasgow which saw three existing sites replaced by the 500,000sq ft Tradeston campus officially opened by the banking group last month. Mr Dutton, a director with US office furniture giant Steelcase in the 1990s, said large corporations have become much more attentive to what happens to workplace equipment after they are done with it.
READ MORE: Upcycled furniture to boost green credentials of Glasgow office development
“If you had asked me five years ago, I would have said that we were scraping for product because people were just throwing it away,” he said. “Now we have got people coming to us asking for our help – they are waking up to the fact that these things can be used again.”
Headquartered in Dundonald, 2ndhnd has three warehouses including one 14,000sq ft facility in London. These hold between 30,000 and 40,000 chairs in stock at any given time, with the company selling in the order of 30,000 chairs and 5,000 desks annually.
Revenues in its last financial year hit £5m, with profits of £700,000. Given increasing interest in the circular economy, Mr Dutton expects revenues will double to £10m within the next three years.
READ MORE: Glasgow upcycling initiative ready to take off with support from airport
All items are cleaned and refurbished by 2ndhnd, including things like new coverings and wheels. They are then sold at up to 80 per cent off the recommended retail price of a new equivalent.
“Not a lot goes wrong with a decent office chair,” Mr Dutton said.
“Most quality office furniture will last you forever. I have bought back some of our own products which we have then sold again.”
Employing 35 people, Mr Dutton and his silent business partner are currently looking for larger warehousing space to consolidate their Scottish sites into a single facility of approximately 100,000sq ft.