Tony Wilks of Clarks Rustic Furniture on upcycling

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Love furniture with a story? Family business Clarks Rustic Furniture upcycles interesting pieces that add character to your space 

Clarks Rustic Furniture started trading at Greenwich Market on a Thursday 10 years ago selling vintage furniture. 

“We were very busy and were lucky enough to be given a weekend,” director Tony Wilks tells us.

“We sold upcycled furniture for around two years and then decided to branch out into handmade furniture from reclaimed materials.”

He tells us that they enjoy trading at Greenwich Market because “there is a diverse community who enjoy art and crafts and bespoke furniture, and are always supportive of local businesses”. 

Having been trading at a shop in Bromley for the last two years, as well as the market, they have now opened a bigger shop in Petts Wood in Orpington.

Run by a small family team, including Tony’s wife who sources and upcycles the vintage furniture. He says: “She has been running the shop for the last two years and will continue to run the shop in Petts Wood. She is responsible for our advertising across many platforms like Facebook and Instagram, too.”

Tony began his adult life as a printer, and eight years ago found a niche in the market for pieces of furniture that customers “couldn’t find elsewhere” – but that Clarks Rustic Furniture was able to make for them. 

He enjoys creating unique pieces of furniture using reclaimed materials and finds his inspiration from trying different things.

“We always strongly point out to our customers that we don’t use scaffold boards, which don’t have the quality to them, but roof joists,” Tony explains. “These are often 100-year-old joists recovered from demolished London buildings or London houses that are being completely refurbished.” 

When it comes to process, firstly they source the materials then they begin preparing it for refurbishment by de-nailing the wood and putting it through different processes so that they are able to use it for the finished piece. 

Recycling and reusing items is ever more important for individuals and businesses, and Tony and Clarks Rustic Furniture play their role in being green. 

Tony says reusing “is important because we all need to make changes and we can do this by using materials already available rather than buying mass-produced materials”. 

They create many quirky, upcycled items, but Tony’s favourite Item is the London Brick coffee tables “as it’s our own design and we have had so many positive comments from these pieces”.

He tells us: “Customers always love their bespoke pieces. We have many returning customers and many referrals, even as far as America.”

You can find Clarks Rustic Furniture at Greenwich Market, or in Petts Wood.  

Greenwich Market, SE10 9HZ

115 Queensway, Petts Wood, Orpington, BR5 1DG


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