This article on Pru & Co first appeared in our Autumn 2019 Bayleys Marlborough Preview Magazine.
In times gone by generations learned to waste not, want not. Living through the post-war years had taught them to embrace thriftiness with enthusiasm and flair. But in August 1955, LIFE magazine published an article called “Throwaway Living” celebrating a disposable lifestyle. It was this article that heralded decades of unbridled consumerism with severe social and environmental effects.
It’s only in relatively recent times that society has, thankfully, found its way again. A growing appreciation of our planet’s finite resources has paved the way for us, once again, to embrace the fabulous make do and mend ideals of the 1940s. People have begun to recognise the importance of the global recycling movement, learning to love slow fashion and appreciate the benefits of upcycling.
Introducing Pru & Co
One local businesswoman who has built a business on sustainability is Pru Adams of Pru & Co. She and her team, Wendi, Lesley and Bella the dog, have created a treasure trove of upcycled goodness.
Based in Grove road, Blenheim, the business first began operating two years ago. Even if you haven’t visited the shop yet, you may have seen the distinctive pink and blue striped van collecting pre-loved furniture from around the neighbourhood or re-delivering upcycled gems to happy owners.
Ethics, art and individuality
Pru says that upcycling is indeed about ethics, but to her, it also embraces art. She says, “We love seeing old pieces come to life, but we strive to also bring ‘joy’ to these pieces through colour and texture.” It’s not merely a matter of rubbing down and repainting a particular piece of furniture. Pru explains that the process involves consideration of the style of the item’s form and functionality. Sixty per cent of the items that Pru’s team upcycle are commissioned, and in these cases, thought must be given to where the furniture is going to be used or placed.
One of the joys of upcycling is meeting the need for individuality. People want a unique item that no one else has, and because Pru picks up pieces from garage sales, she can often offer upcycled statement pieces at a relatively reasonable price. Pru is the first to admit that on occasion she will upcycle furniture that she finds hard to give up, saying, “We invest a lot of love and time on our projects, so it’s hard not to get emotional over them.”
Fashion and trends are very much part of the upcycling business. Pru recounts that she’s currently seeing a movement towards mixing natural timber with painted surfaces in muted pastel or earth-tone colours. The great thing about upcycling is that each piece will always have another lease of life as tastes change over the years.
Have a go yourself
The team at Pru & Co are happy to share their knowledge and expertise, encouraging Marlburians to be brave and give upcycling a go themselves. They even sell a range of materials at the Grove Road store to help any budding DIY-er achieve a fantastic upcycled finish.
If you would like a unique piece of history in your home you can visit Pru & Co from 9:00 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. from Monday to Friday, or on Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m.