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Local Producer Q & A: Send On Upcycling

As a small, family-owned business, we love supporting the other small business in the Australian climbing scene. As part of this effort, we are rolling out a series of Q & As with some of the amazing local producers that we work with some extra deals at the end. In this instalment, we chat with Tegan from Send On Upcycling, the climbing mum behind upcycling climbing gear. Tegan is also a team member here at Pinnacle Sports.




Tell us about Send On and what sets it apart from similar brands?

Through Send On Upcycling, I take retired climbing gear, like ropes and harnesses, and upcycle them into useful (and damn attractive) new items such as bags, belts and coasters.  

I'm not aware of any other companies doing this locally, so it's currently a bit of a unique offering in this market. The climbers I've spoken to have been stoked to know there's somewhere to “send on” their old gear, and the end products have been loved by climbers and non-climbers alike. 

I think what really sets Send On apart is the commitment to using upcycled parts in every possible element of each design. The only virgin materials that have gone into each make is the sewing thread - though even here, I try to source as much reclaimed thread as possible from places like The Nest Haberdashery or Reverse Garbage. 

I'm also super keen to give back to our awesome local climbing community, so 5% of all sales goes to the Australian Climbing Association of Queensland. ACAQ are the peak body for recreational climbing in QLD, and do a heap of work behind the scenes to fight for our access rights. As they like to put it "We do the boring stuff that gives climbers the freedom to climb." If you're a QLD climber and aren't already a member, you should check them out.


What gave you the idea to start Send On?

I’ve worked as a climbing guide since 2017, and as an outdoor activity facilitator at school camps since 2018. In that time, I’ve seen the volume of climbing gear that gets sent to landfill at the end of its usable life. I knew there had to be a better solution. Several rope manufacturers offer a recycling solution, which is awesome; however, living in Australia (where few ropes are manufactured) cuts us off a bit from these schemes - posting a rope to the US or EU is a costly and unappealing exercise! Then I stumbled across several companies in the UK and USA making really awesome products by upcycling these materials. I couldn't find anyone doing this locally, so figured “Why not do it myself?”.


What was the development process like for Send On?

I really had to start from scratch on this. I didn't even know how to sew! But I bought myself a sewing machine, and set about teaching myself how to sew via YouTube (the same way I'd previously taught myself to knit, crochet and macrame). The great thing about working in the outdoor recreation industry was that I had ready access to retired materials to practice with. Each new product is the result of a bit of behind the scenes trial and error, and it's been a lot of fun figuring things out and seeing what I can do with different items. 

It’s still really early days, with Send On only launching in November 2023, and it's very much a case of learning as I grow. But I'm having a blast!


What do you think is the biggest challenge facing local producers of climbing products?

Trying to build brand recognition in a market filled with massive established names is a hard slog! It can also be really hard to compete on price, when people can often ship products in from overseas that are much cheaper than locally produced alternatives. 

This isn't unique to climbing products; when it comes to handmade and upcycled products, I think price can be a huge challenge. With some big brands able to churn out cheaply made new products in huge volumes, people's perception of value has been a bit warped. It's a matter of finding the right audience who respects the labour and skill that goes into turning something from a waste product into something new and awesome. 


What do you do when you’re not working on Send On?

The vast majority of my time is spent looking after my one year old twins. At present, I get to work on Send On at night and during nap times! Being a parent forces you to get pretty good at juggling things and just making it work. Outside of that, I can be found in the Pinnacle Sports retail store one day a week, and I’m really hoping to get back into working outdoors soon!


What would you like to see happen with Send On in the future?

I’d really just love to save as much climbing gear as I can from landfill! It gives me a kick to see the surprise and delight when people see what can be made with these awesome materials, and I hope it inspires them to look at “waste” differently. In an ideal world, I'd love to see a collection bin in every climbing gym, so that I (or similar companies - there's certainly room in the landscape for others to follow!) can provide an easy way for climbers to “send on” their old gear in a responsible way. 



For those looking to retire their old climbing gear, instead of putting it in the bin, bring it into Pinnacle Sports and we will have it "sent on" to Tegan. Maybe you could use your old rope as a new belt!


We hope you all enjoyed getting to know these local legends! For the month of April, use the code Pinnacle10 for 10% off on the Send On website.


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