In Founder Focus we introduce entrepreneurs and change-makers working on innovative startups, social enterprises and SME’s around Aotearoa New Zealand.

At a glance

Founder: Geraldine Tew

Business: The ReCreators

Founded: 2018

HQ: Auckland

Can you tell us a bit about your business?

The ReCreators is a social enterprise that delivers DIY skills-based upcycling events, workshops and programmes across Tāmaki Makaurau and the Waikato regions. Workshops include woodworking, textile design, ethical and greener skincare, plus an array of creative crafts.

We are a diverse and inclusive collective of upcycling creatives – tutoring, designing and manufacturing. Our educational classes and events are based around design thinking with reclaimed materials which promotes positive mental wellbeing as well as protecting Papatūānuku.

Upcycling workshops are suitable for all walks of life. We have classes for tamariki, rangatahi, and adults, as well as an online store of upcycled designs. Our prices incorporate the Living Wage as a minimum and the time taken to prep materials ready for a new life. 

Our collective supports collaborative learning, materials and support for sustainable creatives. The materials we use are either discarded or offcuts that would otherwise be destined for landfill. We feel they are beautiful and deserve a second chance on this planet.

What’s the backstory for your business idea?

I became interested in the idea of business for good in about 2018. At the same time, I was working on a driving programme for former refugees and was teaching a woman from Rwanda to drive. She had a physical disability and would only have been able to work limited hours. Combining the ideas of meaningful, positive work with protecting the environment, I decided to set up an upcycling business. Initially I thought a shared marketplace of items to purchase would be the business model, but nothing really sold. As I had spent a lot of my career writing and delivering courses, I adjusted the model to community educational workshops and the rest is history.

What programmes, learning or mentoring, or resources have been of assistance so far?

  • At the very beginning, I enrolled in an entrepreneurial course at AUT to help with the practicalities of branding, marketing, finances etc.
  • I have also had various mentors over the years for different projects including Women 4 Climate.
  • I joined Social Enterprise Auckland in 2019 and helped deliver a number of educational events. Being in that role was probably the greatest learning curve in terms of networking but also choosing content that was varied for running a business with purpose.


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