FREMANTLE local Sebastian Loader spent five months on a rattling Indonesian bus crisscrossing Java looking for old timber to recycle into funky furniture.
A keen surfer with a business dream, there was a bit of recreation along the way, as he combined catching waves and an innate sense of adventure.
“I wanted to create a good business that makes the world a better place,” he says.
The last bus ride was a 17-hour stint, and anyone who’s ever taken a long public bus ride through Java will know how gruelling that can be.
But luck was finally with him.
“I had five months wondering when it was going to happen and then it happened,” Mr Loader says.
“I found the right factory and the right-minded person.”
Wanting to make a positive change the pair focused on reclaimed teak from uninhabited and dilapidated houses, most originating from the Dutch colonial period.
“The next few months involved refining my designs and checking on their progress during frequent visits to the factory, ending in helping to load the container with our staff and proudly watching it leave for Australia,” Mr Loader says.
Although he has mountains of aged teak, he already has his eye on sustainably farmed teak from forests planted decades ago.
Before deciding on going into business Mr Loader crammed in quite a bit of “globetrotting”, and a bachelor of commerce.
He then worked for a local furniture company, which led to a love of timber.
When the company wasn’t interested in his idea of sourcing aged teak for its range, Mr Loader decided to go it alone.
“I started to consider how I could mix what I treasured about the furniture business with my dreams for a brighter future for our planet … which led me to much reading about sustainability and how this notion could be translated into the running of a business.”
The Indonesian factory produces tables, chairs, vanities and shelving, kitchens and beds, designed by Mr Loader and shipped to his O’Connor warehouse.
“Not Bali, more European in design,” he says.
“Giving people what they want in a sustainable option.”
Each piece is branded discretely with the company’s cute beluga whale logo.
Check out sustainablef.com.au.
by JENNY D’ANGER