08 Feb Introducing Sustainable Souvenirs
Introducing West Coast Woodpickers
West Coast Woodpickers is a sustainable wood manufacturing and design venture based in Surrey, B.C., Canada that reclaims wood scraps from BC landfills into sustainable souvenirs.
“Our families have worked in BC tourism for years,” says Michelle, one of the co-founders of West Coast Woodpickers. “James and I have also worked in tourism too. And we realized how much of the souvenirs people purchase can be made from materials that aren’t sustainable, or that it’s difficult to trace back their supply chains.”
Michelle credits her interest in launching West Coast Woodpickers from her summer job working at WESTCOAST Sightseeing, a Vancouver tour company, as well as her coursework at Simon Fraser University. A recent graduate, Michelle was motivated to research the circular economy and sustainable supply chains through the SFU ChangeLab program, an interdisciplinary course that combines fieldwork in sustainable innovation with business & environmental education.
“Since West Coast Woodpickers launched in June 2017… co-founders Michelle and James have diverted over 1,500 lbs of wood waste.”
“Tourism is one of the biggest industries in British Columbia, and each year Vancouver sees over 10 million visitors to the city, whether due to conferences, events, or travel,” Michelle explains. “So there are many opportunities to improve the souvenirs that people purchase on their travels here, and turn souvenirs into sustainable, impact-driven products. At West Coast Woodpickers, we’re excited to be tapping into the tourism industry and showing how our sustainable souvenirs can improve tourist experiences in a way that helps improve local economies and the environment.”
Since West Coast Woodpickers launched in June 2017 with the financial support of Radius SFU’s Student Social Innovation Seed Fund, co-founders Michelle and James have diverted over 1,500 lbs of wood waste in the form of damaged pallets and mattress boards and secured three major contracts. Their first iteration of sustainable souvenirs – coasters, magnets, and keychains – can be found stocked at SFU Bookstores at their Vancouver and Burnaby locations, or purchased online. They recently fulfilled a custom coaster order for a family-run, Whistler vacation home rental company called Blackcomb Peaks Accommodation.
“There are many opportunities to improve the souvenirs that people purchase on their travels … and turn [them] sustainable, impact-driven products.”
Asked about their future plans, Michelle states: “We’re hoping to invest in tools and equipment to improve our manufacturing, which will let us divert more waste from landfills and meet the growing demand for our products in the tourism industry.”
Woodpickers is looking forward to collaborating and offering services to non profits and charities within the social and environmental innovation industries. This means the startup is looking to lower the cost of production so any person, organization, or institution interested in getting in on their sustainable work can do so without worrying about affordability.
They’re also excited to be launching their Summer 2018 Collection, which sees a return of several popular 2017 styles and introduction of new styles and designs to choose from.
To subscribe to future product releases, announcements, and news, West Coast Woodpickers has launched a monthly e-newsletter list.
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