Mattias Thambert




Everyday Stories

Mattias Thambert, the creator of Refurn, rescues furniture from recycling stations in Stockholm to give them a second life. Mattias, his company and countless volunteers collect the discarded furniture, make repairs and sometimes redesigns before selling them again to a new home. His vision is to make the reuse of furniture the default for our culture and in that way halting the vicious cycle of short lived furniture made at a massive scale from virgin materials.

55 Mattias Thambert – Reuse. Reduce. Redecorate. – #isharehope

Summary: Mattias’ answer to the five questions! Listen to the full conversation on the player above; also available on iTunes and Stitcher.

Question 1: How do you define hope or what is your favorite quote about hope?

Mattias Thambert:

“You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us and the world will live as one” ~John Lennon, Imagine

“It’s amazing how a little tomorrow can make up for a whole lot of yesterday.”

“In a time of destruction, create something.”

Question 2: Who has shared the most hope with you?

Mattias Thambert:

There are so many people and even pets. There is some kind of force, like Luke Skywalker Star Trek, there is a force that picks me up when it’s really, really dark. With God, there is hope.

Question 3: How have you used hope to make it through a difficult time in your life?

Mattias Thambert:

That’s not it (cancer). I had more hardships both business-wise because this vision about changing the way we do business and changing the way we destroy nature into doing something that really works long-term…It was just me a and a few others that did this 20 years ago. They almost thought I was crazy when I was talking about these visions so many years ago and now everyone knows that we have to do something basically to survive.

Sometimes, even the past year, I seriously thought I was going to die and facing that at my age is very inhumane. At some points I almost had to lose hope in order to really find it. Even in and after death, there is hope. I think there is hope all the way. I guess the lesson for me has been to learn to see hope always and to learn not to fear anything. Fear puts me back. Back in the 90s when I lived abroad, I learned that I will never succeed without persistence. I have now realized that it takes a stupendous amount of this to succeed especially when trying not to compete in business, but to do things in a whole new way. I was even considered crazy for saying what I wanted to do before it existed.

Basically, what we do in Refurn is saving discarded furniture and items from dumps and giving them new life. We have a social vision and about half our staff has some form of handicap and some even work on a volunteer basis. Our aim is for the people of the world to start restoring old things instead of buying new. I feel like we are a David against Goliath where Goliath is the industry that makes zillions of things from virgin, natural resources. Refern competes with giants. At this point, most people has already realized that we have to do something and that there is a limit to how much we can exploit nature. Most people simply feel good getting their hands dirty with Refurn.

I don’t want to go too deep into that, but I went through some serious stuff and I came out of it. I decided that I want to help others with handicaps, physical or mental, I don’t care. I want to help other people get back on track and give people another chance. I really, really want to do this from my heart – the social part. The other part is saving things from the dump, there is no economy in doing that. It takes three hours to fix an old chair and you can sell it for 5 bucks. There’s no way to live off of this unless something is changed. The economy is one thing, but there is a genuine desire to help.

There is so much to fix. There are so many broken items that takes a long time – we could take away the unemployment, but we have to find a way to make it work financially. There is so much to do really.

Facing death, there is even hope there. There is hope all the way there. There is nothing to worry about. I paid such a hard price. I went through so many things. A lot of the price is because of this vision. There are so many times that I almost gave up. Everything is really not going my way. Because I didn’t lose hope, it finally took off. It’s working now. We’re growing fast.

Question 4: How are you sharing hope today?

Mattias Thambert:

I think we’ve made a template for how to do things and how to make things work both socially and financially. People that work with us are doing that towards each other and my feeling whenever I step into one of our shops, I really feel that people are treating each other in a very respectful way. I feel like they’re doing something more than just working in an antique store or just another up and coming franchise company. I think hope has started to be shared by self in a sense. I feel very good about having gone through the challenge of facing the old way of doing things which was necessary for what’s going on here right now to be…

Question 5: How should I (the listener) begin to grow in hope or share hope today?

Mattias Thambert:

(1) Be one of the many people who make kindness their second nature.
(2) Be respectful of everything.

Listen to the full conversation on the player above; also available on iTunes and Stitcher.