Remade in Britain meets Purepallets!


For this week’s #GuestBlogWednesday we meet up with upcycling superstar and Remade retailer Dawn Taylor, from Purepallets. This is a fantastic interview, looking at the birth of Purepallet ‘s and where the upcycling adventure is heading. With handy hints, tips and a nose around Dawn’s upcycled workshop, a reclaimed pallet haven, this is a fascinating read for all upcycled pallet fans!

Above, you may remember Dawn from our Leeds Upcycle a Room in a Skip PR stunt. Here she is being interviewed back in November 2014 at the recycling centre where all the skip decorating happened!


So nearing the end of February 2015, Michelle pops over to York to see where Dawn creates her fantastic upcycled pallet creations and asks her all about Purepallets the company. She also collected the Entries box that we commissioned for the Great Home Hack that you can see below and collected some items to sell at our first upcycling event.


Purepallet's owner, upcycler and all round sustainable superstar Dawn.


How did you get in to making items from pallets?

Purely through a friend! I was decorating her kitchen, and she was scouring the internet for what she wanted and she showed me a pallet wine rack. I enjoyed upcycling the wine rack I found it really inspiring, and really didn’t want to stop at upcycling wine racks! It definitely opened my eyes to the limitless options of recycling and repurposing!

My friend loved her wine rack and so did her friends! Even though I had no woodwork experience, I was not put off by it because I love being creative and giving things a go, particularly DIY.


Above: Purepallet's range of upcycled wine racks, created from salvage pallets.

When did you decided to turn it into a business?

I upcycled the wine rack in 2013. In the last year it grew and in January I took a career break from my part time job and decided to go for it! And here I am, upcycling pallets every day, I love that each day is completely different and varied!


A collection of Purepallet's upcycled range...


Have you had any formal training or did you teach yourself?

I have had no formal training although I am always looking into technique courses to expand my skills! It’s a great way of keeping updated and expanding my skills and possibilities in my work too! I recently took part in a paint technique course which I enjoyed and have begun incorporating into my work.

I was taught practical skills from my dad - he was a plumber who did his home extension himself and I remember helping him mixing cement and laying bricks!

I am not scared of trying new things, I feel it is vital to learn, you just don’t know where it will take you. The beauty of the internet means you can google upcycling techniques, YouTube has a fantastic DIY & ‘how to’ community!



 Above: A quick sneak into the busy workshop of Purepallet's!

How would you describe your style? And where do you get your inspiration from?

I feel my work follows a more natural, rustic, and shabby chic style which I also love! I find the industrial, urban style really inspiring too! I would love to experiment more but its finding the time amongst the bespoke orders I receive.

It’s important to me that the reclaimed pallets tell a story. Each upcycling project I ask myself to paint or not to paint … I love that the grain shows through, the finished effect makes it very tactile, you can’t help but want to touch it!


A selection of upcycled products created from recycled & reclaimed pallets.

Do you have a favourite piece or section of pieces?

My favourite piece is probably a coffee table that I made for somebody. They sent me a picture of something they wanted and it looked as though it was 4 apple crates put together but obviously I do not have any apple crates which means I had to make each crate. This made it more time consuming but so much satisfaction came from the pictures of it in her home. Her Yorkshire terrier had made a bed in one of the crates which was amazing to see. I think it is my favourite because it is one of the biggest undertakings I have done, it turned out so well. I do love a challenge!


What do you find your biggest challenge in running your own business?

Probably, I would say so far, it is time. I don’t seem to be able to find the time to be able to play around as much as I would like to. I want to get the work balance right because the whole point of working for yourself is to enjoy what you do but also to be there more for your family.

If I had one wish it would be to have a week to play and generate more ideas in my garage! Where no orders or other commitments can distract me just because I love to get stuck in and experiment.


A Purepallets orginial, upcycled staionary organiser.

What do you consider your biggest working achievement to date?

would say taking the risk to leave my job. To dare to take the plunge and to make that huge, life changing decision. But once I had officially sorted it out, I just couldn’t wait. I had been at my job for 14 years with a steady income, I would say I am proud of myself for truly going for it. Also I was pretty chuffed to head down to BBC Radio York, and be interviewed alongside Remade in Britain's founder; Donna. It was brilliant to get an opportunity to voice the importance of upcycling across Yorkshire on the Jonathan Cowap show!



Purepallets & Remade in Britain's interview, on the Jonathan Cowap show at BBC Radio York.

What are your goals for the future?

To carry on and not have to go back to work! My goal is for this to be my work, I enjoy taking unique orders and being creative every single day! It’s so exciting to be my own boss, to get hands on … and call it work too!

I would love to create a shop space, with a collective of local makers, upcyclers and designers where handmade products are available to the public! I feel it is important to support each other, sharing the pressure and ultimately providing handmade products from, local businesses available to the public! We could staff and grow it together and not have to worry about filling all the shelves by ourselves!

I would relish the challenge in keeping my products and my style up to date with the latest interior trend. I think it is exciting to wonder what I might be making in 5 years time and how it might differ from today.


The Purepallets Office!


Purepallet's upcycled interiors

Do you do anything else to supplement your business e.g. teaching, craft stalls, material selling, workshops, courses and/or events?

It’s not something I had previously thought of before but now with Grand Designs Live approaching, it is something I am definitely thinking about. I was a trainer at my previous work as a visual merchandiser; so I think it is something I would really like to do!

I would love to make upcycling accessible, and encourage people to recycle, repurpose and ultimately look for the potential in waste materials. It hadn’t previously occurred to me because I am self-taught and I think when you are, you wonder what it is you can teach!


How do you go about managing your social media? Do you have any tips? Do you have a preference?

Totally self-taught! I am not brilliant at technology but I had used Facebook for a few years for myself before setting up a business page so I think I found that the easiest transition…

John, my wonderful husband, manages our twitter as he knows how to use it more than I do, but more importantly it frees up a bit of my time to make more items. I’ve recently started on Instagram and really enjoy the visual aspect of this, I have a degree in photography! I really enjoy experimenting with various filters and ultimately meeting and greeting fellow upcyclers and enthusiasts too!

There is so many social media opportunities available and it’s a great way of getting my work out there! The upcycling community is great, it’s a really friendly, supportive and inspiring community to be involved in, social media is the best way to connect with upcyclers across the globe!

I spend lots of time making products and I believe it’s important to spend just as much time getting my hard work noticed! My next step is to start Pinterest soon as people keep saying I need to get on it … it’s a great place to find inspiration!




Tell us about the new laser cut range of products.

We found a local man who has a shop nearby and can engrave any image onto our wood for us. It’s a new and exciting project!

We’ve started with Buddha’s and Chinese symbols after visiting Thailand and Indonesia. We love the Balinese and Indonesian style that we saw over our travels ... I asked the housekeeper where she got her beautiful furniture from and she said it was upcycled from fishing boats, I found this so fascinating this has absolutely inspired me to incorporate themes from my travels into Purepallets.

I love the worn effect my work involves, it shows how my tastes have undergone such a change. I love super clean and modern styles and as time moves on I notice that I prefer the rustic style more and more!


 Above: Purepallet's laser cut range, inspired by trips to Thailand and Indonesia.


We would like to thank Dawn for having Remade in Britain round, we had an absolute ball listening to Purepallets upcycled story. You can check out Dawn’s Remade in Britain store here and bag yourself a Purepallets original!