Why I started reboxed

February 1, 2021

How we got here

I've been involved in a few businesses over the last decade. A few years back when I sold my last one I was in some sort of no-mans land. Whilst enjoying some newly found freedom not tied down to an office or the day to day duties of running a business I was a little bit lost. I talked about this alot on our podcast that we were running, that was filling that void.

I was however actively seeking the next big idea, the next thing to work on and as the new age advice will tell you when it comes to starting a business a great place to start is by scratching your own itch.

Like most of you, I’m a massive consumer of tech.

Just the thought of listing all my devices makes me exhausted and would mean facing the fact that my collection is worth, literally, thousands. As a result of running various businesses over the last decade, I’ve accumulated more and more pieces of tech. Fortunately, it’s for good reason (or, at least, that’s what I used to tell myself).

As a creative professional, most of my devices are necessary and justified by my work. However, there’s no denying that I live way beyond my means when it comes to technology.

I have looked my collection in the eye and still managed to convince myself that I need that upgrade.

I often wonder whether the addiction I’ve developed to having the latest gear is something that stems back to my childhood. I was never handed anything on a silver spoon, so I developed a deep bond with the things I owned as I’d worked hard to get them.

I’ve certainly recognised this trait in recent years – A link between my sense of being and the stuff I own. It’s just ‘stuff’ though, and as I explore essentialism and minimalism more, I find my purpose in the world has become apparent. I’ve worked in marketing and advertising for the last decade so I’ve seen the other side of consumerism. These days I feel disconnected by it, and as the marketing machine drones on, I look at my overabundant stuff and think, “why do I need all of this?!”

Some things are functional. My iMac Pro and iPad, for example, have certainly changed how I work. My Apple Watch upgrade… arguably not.

I think the most obvious issue (and the one most of us can relate to) is unnecessary phone upgrades. My phone is a source of noise and distraction, yet it’s also practical. Most of us sign-up for two-year contracts, which means that we get new handsets every 24 months. Is that phone still useful after 24 months? Yes. Does it perform the functions it should after 24 months? Yes. Do I need to upgrade my device for said phone to perform its functions? No.

The change

A few years back, I switched my contract to an annual upgrade plan with EE, meaning I now get a new device every 12 months. The constant upgrading and latest devices have left me feeling one thing: Begrudged.

The updates are frequent, but there are only incremental improvements. We all know that smartphones have plateaued and that these forced upgrade cycles are a way for tech companies to drive profits. The problem is that their marketing makes us feel like we should comply, and I was 100% part of this problem.

In business, our biggest clients were in the technology sector. We’d sold millions of products for them, but there’s now a bigger issue at stake: E-waste.

Six million tons of the ‘stuff’ is being dumped each year, and while mobile recommence boomed a while back, it plateaued because the countries who took our second-hand phones could eventually afford to buy them brand new.

This isn’t an article about e-waste you can read more here only my thoughts on how we need to shift our consumption habits to benefit our mental wellbeing and the health of our planet.

I’ve seen things from both ends of the spectrum, and what’s important right now is to change the global perception of second-hand tech. We need to slow down our consumption to force companies to slow down their production. We need to decelerate the upgrade cycles of tech, regardless of profits.

How? By taking a stand and proving to people that reducing and re-using our tech should be as natural as recycling our water bottles.

I’ve bought TONS of devices in my lifetime - not to mention the number of accessories, audio equipment, and other electronics I’ve owned – but it’s actually scary to see them all written down as a list. Here are just a few examples:

  • HP PC
  • Acer Laptop
  • HP Laptop
  • Canon Powershot
  • Apple PowerBook
  • Apple Mac Pro
  • MacBook Pro 2008
  • MacBook Pro 2012
  • MacBook Pro 2017
  • iMac 27
  • iMac 27
  • iMac Pro
  • Apple Watch series 1
  • Apple Watch series 2
  • Apple Watch series 4
  • iPad
  • iPad Air
  • iPad Pro
  • 5x Iphones
  • Luminous GH5

Moving on

I’ve upgraded too frequently in the past, but on the whole, I like to think that I’m a responsible consumer. I’ve always resold or recycled my tech, partially to avoid it going to landfill, but also because I kind of enjoy it. I like seeing my tech go to a new home, and I use the money to keep me in the system.

It’s like a soul-cleansing redemption from that initial purchase. What I think would be really interesting is to track what happens to your tech, like a chain of ownership or a product lifetime footprint. It’s something we’re looking into at Reboxed, but more on that another time…

So, why don’t more people buy re-used? As someone who’s always sold on their old tech, I always keep my items and packaging in excellent condition so that when it goes to another home, it feels like new. What’s stopped me buying second-hand tech myself is the quality and the experience.

This is what I wanted to challenge.

At reboxed, we’re levelling up the experience, from the store, to the website to packaging and support. If we can leverage what we do best as marketeers while spreading our message and providing people with excellent second-hand tech, Reboxed could change the world.

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