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Ellie Walters

2023 Fellow

Co-founder and CEO, ReFunk

Ellie Walters

Ellie Walters is the co-founder and CEO of ReFunk, a furniture upcycling platform based in Dublin, Ireland which connects freelance furniture upcyclers with customers. Their mission is twofold: first, to fuel the circular economy in the furniture sector and address the shocking statistic that 10 million tons of furniture are discarded in landfills annually in the EU, and Second, to help predominantly women furniture upcyclers scale their creative passion into a profitable business by creating the ultimate platform for upcycling. This platform enables customers to easily connect with upcyclers to buy a piece of pre-upcycled furniture or commission a bespoke upcycling job for a piece of furniture they already own. Ellie met her three fellow women co-founders while pursuing a master’s degree in Marketing at Trinity College Dublin in 2020. While there, the group ideated ReFunk during a hackathon with the theme of “Sustainable Cities,”, which falls under U.N. Sustainable Development Goal 11. They have since been working closely with more than 100 upcyclers in Dublin to identify the problems they face in scaling their business to create the ultimate platform for furniture upcycling. As an all-women team, they have achieved a lot in the past two years, including being named four of Ireland’s “30 Under 30” in 2021, taking part in a range of national and EU-wide circularity accelerators, and taking part in the prestigious Irish “Going for Growth” female entrepreneurship program.

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