Side Hustle Series: Meet Hemi Patel of Bloom Upcycle

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Side Hustle Series: Meet Hemi Patel of Bloom Upcycle

Today, we chat with one of the makers from our Makerspace Hustle crew. Hemi Patel is a Makerspace tenant and the founder of Ottawa-area startup Bloom Upcycle.


What was your inspiration to start Bloom Upcycle?

My inspiration honestly sparked because I was given a huge pile of otherwise garbage leather scraps that needed a new home (one that wasn’t the landfill). From there, I realized there was so much other scrap and “garbage” going to landfills for no reason. So, I figured I could help this issue by upcycling the scraps into something new and bloom a new life for it.

Why does side-hustling appeal to you?

Side hustling appeals to me because it allows me to do multiple things. I have a short attention span so it helps when I have different projects on the go to put energy towards. Also, if one thing fails, I have other income streams to count on! It allows me to grow, change and adapt which I think are overall good life skills. I used to be really risk-averse, but now I’m all hands on deck for anything that sounds challenging or interesting. 

What is your process?

Bloom starts with scrap materials collected from local businesses. We then design products that are suitable for a variety of sizes and plan for every level of waste. Bigger scraps are turned into goods like wallets, notebooks, and bookmarks, and any waste created from the bigger items is then turned into smaller goods like jewelry, altogether minimizing the overall waste that will have to be thrown out. Once the products are made, it’s time to share - we sell on our website, Etsy, at Makerspace North and occasional local markets. 

Why did you decide to be a tenant at Makerspace North?

Given that Makerspace is already full of side-hustlers, there was a lot of scrap wood and leather hanging around the warehouse already, so it seemed like a safe bet! Many tenants here have garbage that can be upcycled into new goods so I get to help local businesses and Makerspace reduce their overall garbage footprint. 


Where do you see your business in five years?

I really see Bloom being able to take off and become a leader in the Upcycle movement in the local area. There is a great opportunity for us (and other businesses) to reduce our overall impact on the planet, while still creating beautiful products to share with our community that will last. We try to avoid designing products that would usually get thrown away quickly, and instead focus on products that can withhold the test of time. We also try to only create goods from biodegradable materials that can be thrown away, or be properly recycled after use. I’d love to see Bloom take off and become a full-time hustle, but what would make me happier is there not being so much waste that needs to get upcycled in the first place, in which case I would happily close up shop! Bloom has a mission and once it’s complete, we’ll get our badge of honour from Mother Nature and we’ll be some happy campers onto the next venture. 

You can purchase Hemi’s “Make, Shape and Create” Leather Bookmark Pack in the Makerspace Shop!