Along the way ‘feeling the feels’ starts to evolve into ‘doing the deals’…

Along the way ‘feeling the feels’ starts to evolve into ‘doing the deals’…

, by Admin Account, 7 min reading time

Did you happen to see The Australian Financial Review recently?

In case you missed it - there was a brilliant article published celebrating sustainability leaders, including Officeworks and Ryan Swenson.

The article starts with: "Though there's still no (printable) word for the heartbreak of having to dump broken or damaged goods, there's a snappy new noun for the thing that might rescue them." The noun?


Circonomy™️ is a company and brand name I created all the way back in 2018, literally 9 months (practically to the day) of quitting my job to start WBGS as a company. But, there was this sense, (feeling the feels) and it was clear to me that World's Biggest Garage Sale just wouldn't be 'big enough'!!

Those who know me best are well aware of the love I have in creating and using mashed together words daily in life, so Circonomy™️ was a natural evolution at the time, especially when I was on stage pitching Circular Economy long before it was a familiar term.

But - 2018 was far too early to be pitching Circonomy™️ especially when Circular Economy still had people scratching their heads.

Along the way, I was constantly coached, mentored and guided (and occasionally misled) to vigorously validate and vivaciously verify the vision. When I was questioned, and let’s be honest, a startup called the World’s Biggest Garage Sale evokes a reaction that’s both inquisitive and intensely questionable, I remained committed to the Circonomy™️ vision, knowing that any energy I spent trying to convince people of the value, would fall on deaf ears.

Throw in Covid - and it’s yet another hurdle of hurt. It’s not uncommon for founders to hit the walls and come up wounded. There’s also a commonality amongst us that’s invisible, bound to qualities such as grit, resilience, resourcefulness, humility, passion, empathy, confidence and decisiveness. We tend to innovate intensely on this pain train.

I often reminded myself silently of the depth and breadth of the bigger vision, which was ultimately Circonomy™️. The absence of a tagline, a logo, corporate colours and even a refined and defined vision, mission & values never mattered, what Circonomy™️ represented did matter, it was the future……a future we were already trading on and in with customers adopting our offering early.

When I was a little girl, I was always encouraged without limitation, that I could be and do anything I believed. I thank my family for instilling these core values, because they kept me grounded and focused on Circonomy™️ and I knew the timing was now in our favour.


In 2019, when Officeworks and WBGS began to explore innovative ways to divert imperfect products from the linear systems of the past, this is when Circonomy™️ really began to come to life. WBGS began to design and execute on innovative products and service offerings that surpassed the lofty goals of World’s Biggest Garage Sale.

I’m unapologetic that moments matter more to me than metrics, but reality is, metrics matter for the most part. When we get the numbers right, we can produce profit to sustain the ongoing moments, so it’s a constant counter balance and a business reality to ensure that we can continue to redesign the system to right-fit a more triple bottom line design for scaling our social enterprise.

Some of the metrics that mattered, bringing the Circonomy™️ vision to life were:

  • 98% of products otherwise idle or under-utilised, were being diverted from Officeworks waste streams
  • Commercially, the waste cost reductions at Officeworks delivered positive results, helping validate the business case
  • WBGS were making money and achieving significant growth through the sale of refurbished, repaired and resource recovered goods, creating employment opportunities for an expanding all-abilities team
  • B2B (business to business) market growth evolved rapidly, with the supply of quality, affordable and sustainable office furniture being sought by businesses and households via WBGS, especially during an evolving workforce remobilisation period #covid
  • Sustainability, ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) and CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) and the SDGs (The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals) were front of mind and no longer a ‘tick box’ category in leadership teams across the country (and the world).

They say that being a founder is all about timing. I like to say “startup timing is a blend of being too early to make sense and too focused (& stubborn) to make it any other way”.

It was around late 2020, that I could sense and feel we had outgrown the company name. Perception is reality and it was time to begin navigating strategies on the next phase of the business lifecycle.

Whilst WBGS was still our front-facing brand, logo, storefront and all the showreel storytelling that became a core part of our successful selling, we began acting like we were Circonomy™️. We used the word, sometimes placing a sneaky little #hashtag out in the ether. We had owned all the social channels since creating the brand in 2018, but it was still too early to launch.

The time had come to consider the strategy to scale nationally with Officeworks. With 160+ stores nationally, there was some subtle nudging from the Officeworks team for our services and products interstate, so it was well and truly time to raise capital.

From feeling the feels to doing the deals

Whilst it’s a whole other blog post, and unconditionally supported by believers and achievers, I went into my own self imposed capital raise cave lockdown, committing to raise $3M in 3 weeks, to bring the vision to life. In the end, we raised $4M in 4 weeks!!!

Congratulations to Sarah Hunter & the Officeworks team for the leadership and vision very early in the circular economy and for your unwavering commitment through the investment in WBGS to scale Circonomy™️.

The article celebrates the work we have done and plants the Circonomy™️ brand firmly as the front-facing evolved version of the heart and soul of our innovations.  

As we move to the next phase of the lifecycle of the business, I’m immensely proud of the collision of the vision and look forward to the evolution of my own role and the roles of our team and leaders (emerging and future), who ultimately are the custodians of the innovative company born out of a garage almost 10 years ago.

I'm incredibly grateful and deeply appreciative to everyone that's contributed since the very first World's Biggest Garage Sale in 2013.

I also want to sincerely thank the unwavering posse of people... Those most wholesome humans who without question, believed in me as a founder, not only when we’ve been ‘killing it’, but also (& most importantly) when it’s near on been ‘killing me’ (figuratively speaking).

Today, I’m immensely proud, honoured and humbled to see the evolution of the essence of our award winning social enterprise, all without loss or compromise of the heart and soul of why we started in the first place. Two hearts are now beating as one.

Blog posts

  • Embracing Circularity to Ease the Rise of Cost-of-Living

    , by Circonomy Embracing Circularity to Ease the Rise of Cost-of-Living

    Read more 

  • Top 5 Sustainable Money-Saving Strategies for Back-to-School and Work Essentials

    , by Circonomy Top 5 Sustainable Money-Saving Strategies for Back-to-School and Work Essentials

    Read more 

  • The Gift of Community: How Circonomy Started

    , by Circonomy The Gift of Community: How Circonomy Started

    Read more 

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