JJ Stranan is the owner of Recycled Mats which trades officially as Global Kids Oz. Based in the beautiful Tweed Shire, Nth NSW, they design and import a delightful range of recycled mats and rugs. There are 3 main ranges:
- Their range of recycled plastic mats which are made from recycled plastic bags and PET bottles. These are reversible and for indoor/outdoor use, with over 50 design options to choose from, including an Australian first of round recycled plastic mats on the market since Jan 1, 2016.
- They also do a range of rubber mats made from recycled car tyres, many of these mats are their own designs, which focus on cultural designs and motifs.
- The third and newest range are the very popular recycled Chindi rugs from India – these are made from natural jute fibres and recycled cotton to being some bright and fun textures to the range and we have them in our store!
JJ also runs their main warehouse on 100% solar power, all water for the business and home comes from tank rainwater and they compost and recycle whatever they can. JJ says they are “fabulous upcyclers” as well and endeavour to re-use whatever they can around the property.
“Many moons ago I was living a corporate life and feeling more and more disengaged by the year. After losing my Dad suddenly in a motorbike accident I took stock of one of our last conversations together where I had expressed this to him and asked for his advice… Dad’s words were, “J you need to do your own thing, you are a good worker, strong willed and passionate about people, find yourself a little business that you can sink your teeth into, make decisions and take action and give it a shot” So I did!!”
She says she has been lucky enough to do a lot of travel and with both of her parents coming from overseas, the idea of different cultures and countries intrigued her. “I am an Aquarian too so deep down have always wanted to save the world!”.
“Back 9 or so years ago there was a lot of air time about many incidents where Indian kids were getting picked on and beaten up down in Melbourne in what seemed to be motivated by racism. I guess I just didn’t get why. I have always enjoyed other’s differences from my own, and been eager to learn, sample food, travel to far lands and generally experience life on the other side, so it really made no sense to me. I thought long and hard about why people felt that way and how I could attempt to make a difference”.
This led to JJ starting Global Kids Oz, where she would source and supply schools and kindies with books, music, dolls…pretty much anything that she could find from around the world that would help educators discuss other cultures in the classroom. “My idea was that if we ensured that our kids enjoyed learning about other cultures then the chances of them growing up and being mean to others purely based on difference could possibly stop”. Being a kiwi herself she decided to start there. She went to New Zealand and sourced lots of NZ & Pacific Island themed stories, myths, dolls and games, and brought them around local kindies to get feedback…. Well they loved it. So the rest is history really, the range kept growing including more and more countries and cultures, as did the product line, to include mats, artwork, dress up clothing – all with a cultural significance.
In time the mats became more and more popular and people were unable to find the mats on her website with thousands of books, music etc on Global Kids Oz, so she launched the Recycled Mats website and social pages and continued to grow the range as she met more and more artists. This now includes Torres Strait Island artists, Melanesian artists and a range of contemporary designs and caravan mats too!
Who and what inspired me? – my dad…My thoughts on sustainability are simple, do what we can, now. Don’t wait. Action needs to be taken and every small step is better than no step at all. After all the saying is the every journey starts with a single step!
JJ’s tips for creating a sustainable home
- Take a little time to think about the product that you buy, what’s the story behind it?
- Can I make a better and more informed green decision?
- Is it a mass chain that doesn’t care about its employees, factories or the environment or does it have a sustainable philosophy that it lives by?
- Are you buying local, package-less items ( I hate excess use of plastic, it is so unnecessary, like pre-packaged corn or even worse bananas!!).
- Are you buying from a family or small business where every $ counts and are more likely to be thinking about how they re-use?
- Do they use recycled products in their own business?
My favourite piece of work…That’s a hard one I have many, it depends on the day and what mood I am in.. I do love the Helen Price “Turtle Journey” mat and Angela Marr-Grogan’s “Reconciliation” mat but I am also quite partial to the “Come in for a Yarn” door mat that Helen Price also designed… It just brings a smile to my face every time I walk over our one at our front door!
You can now purchase a range of their rugs on our store here