A Chat with Joseph Holman, CEO at Upcycling Company: Green Doors

Tell us about Green Doors


Green Doors is a Luton-based upcycling company which I founded after finding a door in a skip. The business now produces revenues of close to £2m and has 30 employees.


How did you come up with the idea for the company?

I began selling aged 12 using my dad’s eBay account. I invested my birthday and pocket money into a bulk order of magnetic ‘stick and ball’ games, which I then sold on individually.

I ended up netting a profit of around £2,000 in just six weeks and, from then on, I was hooked on buying and selling anything I could.

I was diagnosed with ADHD and dyslexia at the age of seven and I struggled at school. Meanwhile, my mum and dad didn’t see selling on eBay as a career choice.

I decided to try my hand at plumbing. I was on a £700 apprenticeship wage but making £3,000 to £4,000 a month selling second-hand boiler parts from jobs on eBay.

It was while working as a plumber in 2014 that I was inspired to set up Green Doors.

While working on a job, I noticed a set of modern, white uPVC French doors in a skip. I dug them out, loaded them onto my mate’s plumbing van, cleaned them up and advertised them on eBay. They sold the next day for hundreds of pounds.

I spent days scouring skips for more doors but soon found a mountain destined for landfill outside a door and window company. The owner said I could have them, as it saved him on the skip costs, but also had two garages full of mismeasured items, so I decided to buy the lot.

With this stock secured, I packed up my plumbing career and founded the company Green Doors, with a plan to disrupt what I saw as a very wasteful industry.

My friends and family thought I was delusional and wanted me to stick with plumbing, but I knew I could make a difference.



How has the company evolved over the last couple of years?

A decade on, Green Doors has over 30 employees and operates out of a 50,000 square foot warehouse filled with thousands of spruced up doors and windows.

Last year, we rescued over 3,000 items and turned over nearly £2m. Not bad for a company that literally grew out of a skip!

Also, so far, we have not had any investment and have grown by reinvesting our profits back into the business.

What can we hope to see from Green Doors in the future?

For the long term, I am on a mission to provide every door and window with a second life, even if it means giving it away for free, and to stop uPVC going to landfill.

It’s a big issue we are fighting, with about one third of waste globally coming from the construction industry.

More than 10 billion doors are produced every year. Some don’t even make it out of the factory as they’ve been made to slightly the wrong specification. Although a small amount of these are recycled, nothing is better than reusing.