Introducing reboxed, one of our Members here at Pop Brixton. The sustainability-focused refurbished and pre-owned tech brand was founded by Phil and Matt, friends from South London, who have worked together for over 10 years building brands that positively impact both people and the planet.
It was there, working with a consumer electronics brand, that they saw the dark side of the industry – the mountains of waste and the constant churn of new products whatever the human or environmental cost.
We sat down with Phil and Matt to find out what prompted them to start up reboxed and how they’re planning to use their new space at Pop Brixton…
How did the reboxed journey begin?
We, like many others, have experienced the pitfalls of buying and selling tech. The dodgy dealers, the cheap parts, the long wait, the ridiculous prices and most of all, the waste. It made us wonder: why isn’t there a trusted platform that made buying and selling tech easier, safer and more rewarding? Why isn’t there a way to get better value for your devices? And why don’t people understand the damage that our current consumer habits are causing?
How did that lead to the launch of reboxed?
We knew that we wanted to build a brand that could help have a positive environmental impact as well as solving a real consumer problem - so we started to explore the world of used consumer electronics. The industry seemed like it needed a refresh, and with e-waste being the world's fastest growing waste stream the timings seemed right for an idea that could solve real problems, so reboxed (our business baby) was born - conceived during a world pandemic and raised by a remote team initially before moving into Pop Brixton, our new home.
How did you hear about Pop Brixton, and why did you choose it as reboxed’s home?
Phil: I moved to Brixton in 2017 and Pop Brixton was the first place I came to have food and a drink. I instantly loved the vibe and energy of the space. I said to my friend - if I start a new business I want to be based here - at Pop, at the heart of London and the local community I had just moved into.
It’s an amazing place, and we started in one smaller unit, added a second and now we’ve moved to one larger 40 foot shipping container as we’re growing every day. It’s great that Pop can accommodate us as we scale, and the team here has been amazing to work with helping to get us off the ground and supporting us wherever they can.
Tell us a little about the services that reboxed offers to its customers…
In a nutshell the business is like CEX (computer exchange) and Deliveroo had a baby! It’s a platform where you can sell, swap or shop for quality used tech all in one space.
The current lifecycle of our mobile phones is unsustainable. We buy a brand new device, use it for a year – maybe two – then ditch it and get another one, also brand new, creating environmental issues at both ends of the process. At the same time, buying and selling used tech seems to involve too much time, effort and risk, so most of us just don’t bother.
The current system for consumer electronics is linear - take, make, waste. We wanted to make this circular and transform the market by introducing a quality-assured way to replace the current linear one: rehome, rebox and repeat.
The goal? Nothing less than 100 million mobile devices rehomed by 2030. reboxed: a better way upgrade your phone – better for your pocket, better for the planet!
reboxed takes the hassle and uncertainty out of buying refurbished mobiles thanks to TechCheckⓇ, its 70-point diagnostic test that guarantees buyers that the phone is working as it should. There’s even a 15-month free warranty as back up. A reboxed device can be up to 40 percent less than the brand new list price – and comes looking and feeling better than new in eco-friendly packaging.
Buyers can sell or trade-in too, getting an instant quote and payment in minutes at the reboxed store in Brixton or through the doorstep collection service, currently being trialled in London.
The service that reboxed offers isn’t just good for the wallet though, is it?
No! reboxed doesn’t just reward people. For every device bought or sold, we plant 10 trees to help offset the carbon emissions generated over the phone’s lifetime. We’re currently awaiting certification as a B Corp and we’re signed up to 1% for the Planet, a commitment to give 1% of gross sales each year to approved environmental non-profit organisations.
What hurdles have you faced as independent business owners, and how have those helped you and your business to grow?
As a start-up founder you are always running flat out - it’s hard to have a chance to look up and see the hurdles so you usually just run straight at them, stumble a bit, then keep on going.
This is our fourth business together so you’d think maybe we would have it figured out the hurdles by now but it’s never straightforward!
The main hurdle we faced was raising money for the business via investors. It was our first time doing that, so it was a steep learning curve but it taught us the importance of building a good early team and product.
The second hurdle was that we had to build our tech platform from scratch - something that we brought in a CTO (chief technical officer) to help with, which was a great shout as it meant we could focus on other elements of the business.
There has also been the challenge of going into a whole new industry (re-commerce - selling of second hand goods). Doing all of this during a global pandemic, and most of it remotely, has been a big hurdle but one many people are facing. The business concept helps people and businesses trying to save money in a difficult time and should help create value by giving people and fairer and easier way to trade in their used tech - so we were keen to get it out and get people trialling the service so we can learn, adapt and keep creating products and services people want.
If you have one piece of advice for a budding entrepreneur, what would it be?
Fail fast, learn quickly.
People generally have a problem with the thought of failure, which is mainly down to ego. As an entrepreneur, fear of failure is the biggest thing that will hold you back as you’ll miss out on the really important lessons that are there to be learned.
Is there anything reboxed is working on that we should keep an eye out for?
Two parts of the reboxed service are currently available: the buy reboxed shop, available at www.reboxed.co, and a limited upgrade service, where customers can apply to trade in or upgrade to reboxed. This is only available in London at the moment due to TechCheckⓇ verification that has to take place on the doorstep or in store.
Coming soon is the reboxed sell your phone service, the first on-demand recommerce service in the UK. Users will get an accurate price for their phone in minutes using the reboxed TechCheckⓇ app, then can sell instantly by booking a collection from home or pick up in-store. This will be accompanied by an on-demand service swap that allows customers to upgrade from the comfort of their home.
Reboxed is born and bred in south London and it’s something we are massively proud of. For local people and Pop Brixton fans, we are happy to share an exclusive code for £15 off your first reboxed device*. Just use the code POP15 at the checkout to get your discount and for a limited time, claim your free eco phone case as well.
reboxed are currently hiring for 2021 - check out the available roles here.
*Terms & Conditions apply. Minimum spend £100.