Green heroes - Julia Wheatley, Absolute Mintage
PUBLISHED: 10:32 01 April 2020
Sustainable business owner Julia Wheatley lives in Bracknell with her husband, Jay, 19-year-old son, Billy, a bengal cat, Harley, and two springer spaniels, Darcy and Elsa.
“We moved here over 10 years ago because Jay’s business is near Windsor,” she explains.
“It is also close to the motorway so that we can easily travel to visit our families in the New Forest and Devon.
“Berkshire has been an amazing place to raise a child as there are so many opportunities to keep children entertained. Also, it has been an excellent base for us because we are surrounded by beautiful open spaces, forests and Windsor Park, so it is just perfect for our dogs.”
It has also been the ideal place for Julia to set up her upcycling business, Absolute Mintage. “I was running out of space in our home and I wanted to see how my love for recycling and unloved furniture could be turned into a sustainable business,” she says.
It all started in 2014 when Julia was painting and renovating the family home. “As with many builds, we went over budget and therefore had virtually nothing left to spend on furnishing the house,” she says. “We moved out of a new-build and our furniture looked out of place in our 1960s house. So, we scoured the internet for second-hand furniture and this is when I fell in love with painting. I went on numerous workshops to learn and improve my skills and from here the business evolved.”
Before Absolute Mintage, Julia had been working with Jay, supporting him with his business, Lakeside Garage in Wraysbury. She has also had jobs in the probation service, children’s social care and as an air stewardess with British Airways for nine years. “I also lived in Italy for five years!” she says.
Absolute Mintage started as a shop in Holme Grange Craft Village, but Julia now runs the upcycling business from her garage as a personalised studio.
“I am extremely busy carrying out commissions for people, running workshops for all levels, painting the odd piece to sell and sourcing furniture when required,” she explains.
Julia believes there are so many products you can bring back to life again. “I would encourage everyone to consider recycling furniture so that we can keep these many beautiful pieces going and avoid waste.”
Julia has also discovered upcycling is not just good for the environment but your health too. “Painting is just one activity that can really help one’s wellbeing,” she says. “I have had so many comments during workshops from clients that they have been able to completely immerse themselves into well-deserved ‘me time’.” u