New lease on life
The shift from optometry to refurbishing furniture destined for landfill might seem large to most, but it’s a choice that has paid off for Nadine Deans.
This month, Deans celebrates three years since beginning Reloved, a small business selling upcycled furniture and vintage wares.
“I do need to pinch myself sometimes because it’s like a dream,” she said.
“It’s turned into something I could never have imagined.
“To be able to do something that you love so much, and have it become your full-time job, is just incredible.”
The business began as a creative outlet during COVID lockdowns while Deans was on maternity leave.
It was family that first encouraged her to explore selling her efforts online.
Buoyed by some early success, Deans began collecting unwanted furniture, and with the help of YouTube and her husband, taught herself how to sand and paint.
“I never sat down with a plan…it all happened very organically and naturally,” she said.
“Each time I took the next step into making it more of a business…it just ended up being successful.”
And the venture quickly provided Deans the opportunity to stay at home with her daughter Ivy, now three.
“When I first had my daughter I suffered with post-natal depression,” she said.
“As I got treatment for that and got better and found a hobby and something that I felt really passionate about doing, I wanted to be able to spend more time at home with her and really enjoy the time that I had.
“I didn’t really want to go back to a normal 9 to 5 job where she was at day care all the time and I didn’t get to bond with her or spend as much time with her.
“This allowed me to basically do things at home and do it with her.”
An avid thrifter since childhood, Deans has always been drawn to reusing and repurposing vintage wares.
“I love the fact that when something’s old, it’s got a story. It’s come from somewhere,” she said.
“A lot of older, more vintage items have got so much beauty to them. They’re really special and unique a lot of the time.
“Sometimes, when you find something really special, you may not find it again.”
And she knows it’s a love she shares with many others.
“I think people from my era and especially younger people now are aware of things going into landfill.
“Reusing and recycling is better for the environment. I think people are a lot more conscious of that now.”
“If you’re able to take a bit of furniture that might have ended up at the tip, and you can change it into something that’s reusable, I think it sits right with a lot of people.”
As Reloved has grown, Deans has expanded from her home garage in Curlewis to permanent exhibit stalls at the Mill Markets in Daylesford and Geelong, where she has just shifted to a larger space.
For now, she continues to take things one step at a time.
“It would be nice to have a shop one day,” she said.
“That would be like the ultimate dream.”
And to those eager to replicate Deans’ success, she said “anyone can do it”.
“You don’t have to go back to your regular job. You can do basically whatever you want if you’ve got the passion and the drive for it.”
To find out more, head to instagram.com/re.loved_collection