Being caught up in the seasonal bustle can be quite overwhelming as it is filled with family reunions, last-minute shopping and gift exchanges. Your friends and relatives are the one who most expect gifts from you during this season and one might not be certain about what to buy for them. You might not be too sure either wondering whether they will like the gift or whether it is really worth giving, in the first place. While it feels good to remind someone that you are thinking about them or simply just to remind them of how special they are to you, it is also worth giving something that can last for a long period of time. A gift shouldn’t be measured by monetary value but rather its quality and its thoughtfulness.
To alleviate some of the pressure this season might exert on you, you may want to consider recycling. If you are not good at art worry less because you may want to consider getting recycled gifts for your friends from one of the recycling companies. For example – there is one that does upcycle décor using recycled materials, M & O Décor.
M & O Décor recycles bottles, newspapers, cardboard boxes and plastic bags into almost anything from corporate gifts to homemade gifts such as canisters, lamps, vessels. “Basically we recycle anything into something that can be used in the house from bedroom, kitchen to the bathroom. Instead of using a kettle ordinarily to boil water we use it to make a lamp,” says Taleni Matheus, a co-owner of M & O.
According to Taleni, they also recycle shoe boxes to make gift boxes. “We collect shoe boxes and cover them up with odelela material or any material to the client’s taste which comes out as a gift box or gift basket,” she says.
M & O also collects bottles and cuts them in half, with a nice design in which they install a bulb inside and it becomes a lamp.
All of the M & O products are handmade with the help of a grant that they received from the National Commission on Research Science and Technology (NCRST) which allowed them to buy the machines that they use to cut the bottles with. “Once we have cut the bottles we also ensure that the bottles are safe enough for usage. So we cut the bottles, sanitize them to make sure that they do not cause any harm,” explains an innovative Taleni.
According to Aska Orlale, a co-owner of M & O their enterprise came to realization in 2014, when they won at the Sanlam Innovation Competition. “That’s when we registered our business and from there we worked hard and luckily landed the NCRST grant in 2015,” she explains. Subsequent to the Sanlam Innovation Competition which worked in collaboration with Namibia Business Innovation Institute (NBII) the duo moved to Fablab where they started with the prototype of the lamps. “We needed training on how to make sure that the bottles do not crack after years when there is light, how to make sure that the cutting is safe and the installation of the light.”
The artistic Aska explains that they ventured into recycling because they were into arts and putting things together.
“The thing about art is that it is a business in which you will never run out of ideas because with art I can create something, someone will look at it as a one thing and another person will see it as something completely different which helps one to be open minded,” adds Taleni. They further state that art is a challenge that demands that one thinks beyond what they realize that can think. “And it is fun we love art, it is something that we are passionate about.”
And the challenges…
With drought and the advocacy of ecofriendly businesses M & O partners think that it has become a challenge for them because everybody suddenly wants to venture into recycling business. “Even those who are not into recycling business are becoming threats now. However, I do not think that there is a business without threats but if you know your product and you know what you are passionate about and your goals you will overcome them,” says Taleni.
M & O also thinks that customer wise it’s quite a challenge because of the different perceptions that people have on recycling. “It thus becomes a challenge to us because now we need to educate people why they need to recycle. Another challenge is to get transportation for the goods, even just to collect the item. If I have to go to a restaurant, and ask for empty bottles they first have to ask why I want the bottles and a lot of explanations before they give it to you. Some people just refuse at the end of the day.”
Aska thinks that it is also a challenge to get more customers because they do not have space to sell their products. “But with the friends and family members who know what we do they order their festive season and birthday gifts from us,” adds Aska.
“In Namibia everybody wants to do what the other person is doing because somebody already tested that market and it is successful. However, we are unique,” says Taleni. She further explains that they are more into unique products, adding that the recycled lamps, for example, are unique things that one does not find with anybody. “We are identified by our unique products rather than what everybody is used to.”
Currently M & O operates from the back yard of their house due to the unaffordability of space. “We are still small; and space is one of our major challenges especially when it comes to the storage of the materials. Maybe by next year we will try to get a place.
M & O contact details :
Facebook: M & O Décor Enterprise cc
Aska Orlale 0817374640 and Taleni Matheus 0814524420