In 2023 I appealed via a Crowdfunder for people to help me get the Offcut Project – what you now know as Trash Panda – off the ground. Here’s how it started…

The what now?

The Offcut Project is a new product line from Southsea’s The Mildred Trouble Shop – offering statement jewellery and accessories from waste plastic, industrial offcuts, pre-loved textiles and recycled precious metals.

I want to create some really special and unique pieces that people can treasure. I’m inspired constantly by this amazing creative community in Southsea but really concerned about the amount of waste that we create as a society.

In short; I’ve got the skills and the materials, and now I need the workspace.

Who are you, anyway?

I’m Lou and I’ve been making jewellery for over 3 years. I taught myself at my dining table with a starter kit of pliers and jewellery findings. My business has one of those classic lockdown origin stories; when my job became less creative because of the pandemic, I needed another outlet for my ideas.

Fast forward to today where I’ve had the pleasure of 350+ Etsy orders, sold to hundreds of people face-to-face at local markets and my creations are stocked in 3 outlets in Portsmouth. And I work full time doing a job that I also love.

What do you I need?

Until now I’ve been using a mix of new charms and pre-loved beads to make my own creations. I use recyclable card displays and plastic free padded envelopes. My long term goal is to use no virgin materials and I have a huge collection of material scraps, old jewellery and plastic offcuts, just waiting to be transformed.

However… I’m running out of room and it’s not fair on my family (human and furry) to be sawing plastic in the lounge and storing offcuts on the dinner table.

To get this off the ground without displacing those that live here, I need a workspace. I’m raising money for a garden workshop with two jeweller workbenches which will allow me to welcome other budding makers into a safe space to practice and create when they need it.

I’m also funding for a new website which will allow me to sell direct to customers online, rather than going through Etsy, and some display equipment to enhance my current (rather basic) craft stall.

Why help?

I am passionate about protecting our planet and wanted to find a way of reusing waste that I see on our beaches and discarded by people every day. Through this project I’ll be able to make the unwanted into something unique. Including the tricky materials that can’t be traditionally recycled. I want to educate people on sustainability along the way, encouraging less waste. And I’ll have the opportunity to share my craft with others and welcome new makers to the space for free.

What they say: some of my 5* reviewers

“Absolutely gorgeous, hand-crafted product from Mildred Trouble yet again! Such lovely quality earrings – make lovely gifts if you can bear not to keep them for yourself! Excellent communication from Louise, very prompt delivery and responsive, courteous customer service.”

“Lovely necklace, it would be good if there was matching earrings too as would definitely be interested in buying them, quick delivery and nicely packaged too.”

“I absolutely LOVE these earrings! I was so happy with them, they’re great quality too. Thank you!”
“Gorgeous dainty earrings. Very nice quality. These are timeless for any tea lover.”

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