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Made in Hampshire: Judy Griffiths on her up-cycling business

PUBLISHED: 11:01 21 May 2014 | UPDATED: 11:01 21 May 2014


With a passion for recycling and an abundance of old sails, Judy Griffiths was able to start up her own up-cycling business from home

Despite being a Primary School teacher by trade, Judy had a very Swallow and Amazon’s style upbringing and has always loved to sail – now with her own family. Rummaging around in the garage for a beach bag to take on a family trip one summer morning, Judy tripped over a pile of old sails and had a sudden flash of inspiration. She decided to put the fabric to good use and create her own bag from the stack of sailcloth; and before she knew it OARSUM was born. She says: “I have always been a keen recycler and have a passion for creating new and useful items from old. The options seemed endless with sailcloth; with its strength and durability (it is thought to take a thousand years to break down) I thought why not use it for practical goods such as bags, deck chairs and beanbags.”

After several evenings and a few glasses of wine with one of her friends, Judy decided to set up a workshop at home. With three children, she needed her work to fit around school holidays and their lifestyle so it was the perfect option.

Sourcing her materials from the sailing community and local chandleries, Judy spends her time thinking of new and imaginative items to create. From personalised travel backgammon sets to dog beds and wind breaks, OARSUM now carries a large collection of products for all ages, male and female.

With the recent Royal celebrations still in her mind, most of the products Judy makes come with a Union Jack to show that it is designed and made in Great Britain. Looking to the future, Judy would love to use her products to represent Britain on an international scale and has dreams of promoting Oarsum to the Chinese. Currently you can find her at most craft fairs and shows and her website, acts as an online store.

Judy is also a fan of working with her local community and sends any unwanted sail cloth, which doesn’t make the cut, to Chiltern Tutorial School to be made in to dens and camps. She says: “If anyone has any old sails lingering, please contact the OARSUM team, who will collect the sails and make you a bag of your choice to say thank you for recycling!”


Length of time in business: 20 months

Number of employees: 3 piece workers

Ethos: Creating products out of recycled old sail cloth using local Hampshire trades people.

Location: Nether Wallop

Contact: Judy Griffiths 01264 781665,


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