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Straightcurve Garden Edging Founders Joeri & Dan Working On New Product Designs

The Straightcurve Garden Edging Story: How A Small Side Hustle Turned Into A Global Mission To Make A Meaningful Difference

Introduction

If you’ve only just discovered Straightcurve Garden Edging you might think we’re just a company that makes useful landscaping products from steel. And ten years ago (when we brought our first product to market) that would have been a fair assessment.

Back then Straightcurve was little more than two friends with a plan to make some extra side-hustle income by combining landscape industry experience with product development expertise. Our goal was to create edging products that would be “Simply Better” than anything else available, anywhere in the world.

The ever-growing popularity of our products in Australia (and globally) indicates we’ve been achieving that goal over the past decade. Along the way, however, we’ve also grown a lot, learned a great deal, and expanded our horizons and beliefs in what’s possible.

So while we’re still making and selling game-changing steel garden edging products and we still want to make things “Simply Better”, we’re also extending this guiding philosophy beyond Straightcurve garden edging.

We’re on a mission to bring a spark to life and make a meaningful difference in the world. And we want you to join us.

You can join us in making a meaningful difference by choosing our products (which will help us bring more game-changing products to market) or by working with us – more on that later.


Why Read This Article?

You should read this article if…

  • You want to understand who we are, what we’re about, where we’ve come from, and importantly, where we’re going.
  • You prefer to know what a company stands for before buying from them or if you like to deal with brands that align with your values.
  • You’re a home gardener considering our products for your DIY project or a landscape professional looking to elevate your garden design.
  • You’re a potential stockist wanting insight into the people, the thinking, and the intention behind the lengths of engineered steel we design & manufacture.
  • You want to make a meaningful difference and achieve this goal through your day job. We’re looking for good people to join the team and channel their talent & energy toward this mission. So keep reading and if it resonates feel free to get in touch and start a conversation – it can be as simple as sending an email to careers@straightcurve.com.au that says something like “Hey, I read your article – I like what you guys are doing – can we talk about opportunities to work together?”

How It All Started:

The first Straightcurve Garden Edging product was inspired by work on a completely unrelated project, in an entirely different industry. Straightcurve Founder Joeri explains:

“This goes way back to one of my earlier inventions… I was working on a system for the local Farmers Market where they wanted a produce bin with a moving floor. I ended up working with a company in China doing prototyping. I was constantly walking around amazed because it’s one of the most advanced countries I’ve ever seen.”

Joeri was so impressed with the advanced manufacturing companies he dealt with… (the way they looked after their people, offices, environment, materials, and recycling) …that he started thinking about what else they could produce.

Joeri on how Straightcurve Garden Edging started:


The Story Behind The Straightcurve Garden Edging:

Joeri realised he’d inadvertently found an impressive sheet metal manufacturing company and a brilliant production partner, now he needed a product. Joeri explains:

“I came back to Australia and I was talking to people around me saying “Do you need anything in sheet metal?” I had a friend visiting who said “Oh, I use steel garden edging.” And he showed it to me and I thought, we could definitely make that. So we started thinking “How can we make this better?” and “If you had the ideal outcome, what would it be?”

So Joeri (an engineer) and his friend Dan (a landscape designer) started sketching what a new kind of garden edging could look like. They made prototypes and through many rounds of trial & error, refinement, and iteration they developed the first Straightcurve Garden Edging product. And it really was Simply Better than the existing products on the market Dan has been using up to that point.

Joeri tells the story of Straightcurve:


Straightcurve Garden Edging Prototyping & Production:

In the early days, Joeri tried to find suppliers in Australia but found that the cost of production was too high and more importantly, the pace of prototyping was too slow:

“Prototyping is the biggest challenge in new product development. Since it takes, on average, 5-10 iterations before you have a finished product, quick turnaround time is a significant advantage.” Says Joeri.

When prototyping in Australia, the average prototype turnaround time (to design, produce, ship, and test) was 6-8 weeks, allowing only 6-9 iterations in a calendar year. By comparison, the team in our overseas factory can run up to ten iterations a day – equivalent to almost a year’s worth of prototyping over here!

Joeri Explains:

“The experience with our Shanghai-based manufacturing partners is “Everything is possible” – we have a team of six specialists at our disposal for the whole day. That’s a huge advantage in bringing new & improved products to market.”

Straightcurve Garden Edging founders Joeri and Dan discuss product prototyping


Helping Gardeners & Landscapers Save Time:

When Dan and Joeri first took on the challenge of making a better garden edging product, it was clear from the beginning that Straightcurve Garden Edging products needed to be quicker & easier to install.

And while the products were originally intended for DIY gardeners, they’ve found favour with landscape professionals who use garden edging more regularly. Joeri explains:

“We had one particular landscaper on the East Coast who used our product for the first time. He allowed two days for the installation. About 3hrs in he gives his team a call to check on how they were progressing and they said “Well, we’re done” and the guy was like “You can’t be done – you’ve only been working for half a day” and they said “Well, we’re having coffee with the owners!”. He says “You’re having coffee with the owners? That can’t be right.” So he hops in the car to go see them and yeah, the whole job’s finished!”

Whenever we talk to first-time and long-time users of Straightcurve we find variations on this theme – our products allow installers to deliver a better result in less time than any other edging product they’ve used.

Check out the video here:


How We Think About Environmental Sustainability At Straightcurve Garden Edging:

Can a company that manufactures & distributes steel products globally really claim to be considering the environment? The short answer is yes, as Joeri explains:

“So one of the things I’m really passionate about is sustainability and the environment. I believe that there are two types of people that can make a difference in this space: business owners who approve or agree to certain things. And engineers who make a conscious choice about how things are engineered.”

As a company owner and engineer at Straightcurve Garden Edging, Joeri constantly thinks about how we can make a difference in this space. Sustainability is an extremely complicated area with many unexpected outcomes, so our drive is to be deliberate and consider the environmental impact of everything we do as a business.

Joeri on Sustainability at Straightcurve Garden Edging:


How We’re Working To Make A Difference At Straightcurve Garden Edging:

Cling wrapping is useful in packaging, you’ll see it used all the time in distribution. We’ve made the business more environmentally sustainable by removing cling wrapping from all our packaging for Straightcurve Garden Edging.

We’ve also worked to minimise timber use as well. When we started shipping in containers initially everything was packed in a crate. Joeri explains how he saw an opportunity to improve things:

“The amount of timber in a crate is significant and that all goes to landfill after it’s used. So then I started thinking, ‘can we make a pallet that goes back to the factory?’, but the logistics were too complicated to make that work – especially given our international network. But then we moved to, ‘maybe we can make a pallet that is actually a purposeful object’, so we redesigned the pallet to make it reusable.”

We now ship our products on custom pallets made from six pieces of solid pine that are screwed together with big heavy-duty screws that you can pull apart in five minutes. All of these small improvements add up to make quite a difference over time.

Joeri on making a difference with Straightcurve Garden Edging:


Creating Global Change One Pallet At A Time:

When we first began making and distributing our steel garden edging products we discovered that standard practice was to ship everything in plywood crates which would then be disposed of as waste. We realised how much wood is used and lost in the process of shipping and freight, so we decided to make a change.

We already used a lot of recycled steel, limited the use of plastic, and only used recycled cardboard in production. The lifespan of our products was always in our thinking, but the packaging wasn’t. Packaging is normally the aspect of a product with the shortest lifespan – buy a takeaway coffee and the cup is useless after you’ve finished your drink. 

Pallets tend to live for a few months before they need to go. Sadly, most pallets go to landfill as they’re hard to pull apart and often full of nails. Finding a second life for them is hard. So to repurpose pallets, things had to change. 

We spent 18 months trying to design a reusable pallet. But the logistics and price made that impossible. Until one day someone suggested making the pallet into a product. So the pallet is not just a means of transport but has value after being used to get products from A to B.

How Straightcurve Garden Edging Pallets Are Different…

Traditional timber pallets are almost always a nightmare to pull apart. They’re assembled with special twisted nails and wood that often cracks if you try to re-purpose them.

So we decided to stop using nails and start using screws and high-quality timber. Every component we use in the pallet now has value and can be reused or resold. Our taller pallets also have 12 steel plates (60 x 80 x 1.5mm) with more holes than are needed to aid re-purposing.

You can use our pallets to:

  • MAKE FURNITURE – Create amazing furniture
  • MAKE MONEY – On-sell timber beams & parts
  • DONATE – To schools, TAFE, or prisons for repurposing
  • FIREWOOD – Cut into chocks or kindling to bag as firewood

Straightcurve Garden Edging uses a proprietary pallet design so timber can be reused and repurposed.


At Straightcurve Garden Edging We’re Continually Growing:

In the decade since we brought our first product to market in Australia we’ve grown in many ways.

  • We started with a singular garden edging product and now make + sell 147 separate products.
  • For many years we’ve offered our range in a Weathering + Galvanised Steel finish – and we’re working on a powder-coated range as well.
  • We launched in Australia and now sell in New Zealand, the UK, the USA, the Netherlands, and Norway – with additional European regions coming online soon.
  • We started as a two-man band and we’ve grown to a team of 20 working all over the world.
  • We’ve sold 3,012,187 lineal metres (and counting) of steel edging globally.
  • We’ve saved 570,103kg (and counting) of pine by replacing plywood crates with our specially designed, repurposable pallets.

Map of World Showing Where Straightcurve Garden Edging Is Available


And We’re Only Just Getting Started:

There’s more to come for Straightcurve and the additional companies we’re starting in the Decking & Sustainable Housing Space. If you want to hear more or have a conversation about getting involved – let’s talk!


Conclusion + Helpful Resources

I hope this short article and the linked videos have given you insight into how we roll as a company.

If you want to know more about our products, check out these links:

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