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When the clean-up and de-cluttering movement swept the suburbs of the Blue Mountains during COVID lockdowns Susanne Byrnes from Winmalee saw an opportunity.

While the rest of us spent lockdowns looking at what we could throw out to simplify our lives, Susanne took her passion for upcycling old furniture to the next level and started a sustainable micro-business.

“I have always had a passion for old furniture and DIY and over the years I have seen so many pieces of good furniture thrown out onto the footpath destined for landfill - it is such a waste,” Susanne says.

“I have always said ‘one day when I have the time’ I would like to collect these pieces and give them another lease on life.”

Susanne started selling her upcycled furniture online but soon ran out of room to store them at home so decided to offer her bespoke pieces to locals at market. “The Love Local Makers Market in August was my first and it was a great experience,” Susanne says.

“It helped to launch and promote what I do, as well as bring some focus to sustainability and saving pieces from landfill.”

Susanne says upcycling and restyling gives pieces not only a new, unique look and prolongs their use, but also serves an especially important purpose of reducing items going into landfill.

“I find working on discarded items, to repurpose them into something that is a one-off piece, very relaxing, enjoyable and rewarding,” Susanne says.

“People are inspired by what they see can be done, instead of replacing with something new,” Susanne says.

“By tailoring a much-loved piece and giving it a new look, people can have a one-off piece that fits with their décor.”

The Love Local Makers Market is a dedicated local artisan craft market in the Mountains and is held on the forecourt of the Blue Mountains Theatre and Community Hub in Springwood. You can meet Susanne and more than 20 other local artisans at the next market on 12 November from 8:30am to 1pm.