What is Recess ?
Recess is a sustainable office furniture start-up meeting the needs of a new workplace landscape by offering upcycled, high-functioning furniture for homes and offices alike – and a furniture rental scheme for organisations who want to delegate the heavy lifting.
The Current Landscape
The office furniture landscape favours function over form – with office furniture
traditionally lacking style, and often lacking environmental credibility too. With
lockdowns moving offices to within the home, the consumer demand for more
aesthetically pleasing, environmentally responsible office furniture has grown
exponentially, with Recess leading the field within the Australian market. As the Recess team explain: “The office furniture market in Australia hasn't kept pace with technology advancements of the 21st century and so for the last 6 months, so at Recess we’ve been working with a number of overseas factories to design and procure office furniture with 3 things in mind: ergonomics, beauty and sustainability. They have launched Recess with a simple offering for businesses and consumers to start with, however, the team have some exciting announcements to come in the next few months around simplifying the purchasing and management processes of these assets through a platform, with flexibility a driving force behind the build.”
Company Birth Story
Recess was originally founded as Nook back in 2019, as Scott and Will started out with designing and selling their beloved soundproof booth. Nook was born out of a hiking trip to Tasmania - as both their fiancés went to med school together and formed a friendship, which saw the four of them going away on trips from time to time. Scott had been working as a consultant at Deloitte and had seen an overseas soundproof booth in a company's office that he was consulting on - he instantly fell in love with the idea, as he had seen the need for such a product in the Deloitte offices. He approached his manager about the product and was instantly knocked back, as the product cost over $15K. Shortly after, Scott came to Will on their hiking trip to Tasmania, and asked if he wanted to start up a company together, where they would design and sell direct to businesses a soundproof booth, that was both beautiful and affordable for companies of all sizes.
After spending 12 months designing and prototyping their booth, Scott and Will
launched Nook at the beginning of 2020, only to be hit by the global pandemic.
However, that didn't stop them - they brought their manufacturing from overseas and started making their booths out of local correctional centres that had rehabilitation programs running for inmates who wanted to upskill themselves before their release. For the better part of 18 months, Scott and Will sold their limited supply of Nook's into high growth startup offices, such as Eucalyptus, Prezzee, Unyoked, Qwilr and Dovetail, who all needed more private spaces for their employees making and taking video conferencing calls. Scott and Will hand delivered and installed the booth themselves (they have some interesting stories navigating Covid lockdowns!), and in doing so, they had a number of conversations with their customers and heard a common complaint among their customers - purchasing office furniture sucked.
Hence, the birth of Recess - office furniture that helps companies and their employees build a beautiful hybrid office that doesn't cost the earth.
Why Recess? If you ask Recess co-founder Will Chambers, he says that Recess for him brings back nostalgic memories of his childhood school days, where a couple of hours of hard work was followed by the much loved Recess school bell. As such, the team at Recess are making products (and soon services) for the modern office that facilitate employees getting their work done, so there is more time for Recess and play.
The Team Culture
The core team at Recess reflects the Recess guiding attitude - made up of its two
co-founders Scott Ellice-Flint and Will Chambers and two employees Nathan Moss and Johann Grunberger, you won't find anyone in a suit and tie - rather, birkenstocks and the classic startup tee are the order of the day. Recess works out of a small co-working space in Manly half the week, whereby morning stand-up meetings regularly take place on the waves of Manly beach. Each team member is given a standup desk and ergonomic chair for their home office setup, and the guys are looking to expand the team, with a focus on bringing some diversity into the team. Scott and Will have also committed Recess to the Kin Fertility led campaign of providing any future female employees a minimum of 10 days miscarriage leave - a further reflection of the culture they are trying to cultivate.
Check it out: https://recess.com.au/
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