Brussels, (Brussels Morning)- After a rain shower you will always find broken umbrellas in the city. To combat waste, Mélanie Iudica from Anderlecht launched the Marypup upcycling project. With this she recovers the materials from the found umbrellas to make rain gear. After a difficult start, the concept is finally getting off the ground.
In 2019, business manager Mélanie Iudica decided to start her own business. She had been toying with the idea for some time and gave up her old job as a sales executive in the corporate world. The many lockdowns of recent years have not made it easy. However, the concept now seems to be catching on. “I hope it’s because people understand the message behind it,” said Mélanie Iudica, founder of Marypup, to a BRUZZ reporter.
To make a raincoat you need two umbrellas and it takes about an hour. With the growing success, business manager Mélanie no longer has the time to manage everything. “I’m currently looking for someone who can take over the marketing side,” she says.
Fortunately, she is not alone. She regularly receives help from three detainees in Brussels for cutting and sewing. “The inmates are enthusiastic about the project: it is a unique kind of work and they support the idea,” Mélanie says. She can also count on sheltered workshops and local employment agencies with which she has contracts. As a result, Marypup has also grown into a social project.
Mélanie inherited the passion of recycling materials from home. Her mother made the family’s clothes with old textiles. This is how she knows that things can be done differently. “Our current industry is focused on buying cheap stuff, throwing it away and buying it again. The umbrellas are a good example of this. I hope we grow towards a different way of thinking than our current throwaway society,” she emphasises.
You can order the raincoats online, but they are also available in some stores in Brussels. If you wish to contribute, you can donate your broken umbrellas to the collection points on the Marypup website.