Made in Vancouver is a collaboration between Vancity and Daily Hive. Together, we’re turning the spotlight onto local businesses, organizations, and individuals who are helping to create a healthy local economy.
Mill+Commons LTD produces timeless furniture pieces which are milled, designed and manufactured entirely within Canada.
It was born out of a love for modern, meticulously crafted furniture that is as beautiful as it is ethical and sustainable — all workers and suppliers are paid fairly, and materials are always eco-friendly and of the highest quality.
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Vancity has been supporting people in our communities since 1946, like local entrepreneurs. As part of our Made in Vancouver series spotlighting local businesses, we talked to Andrew McKillop, owner of Mill+Commons LTD, about his design strategy and sustainable furniture. Learn more about what Vancity is doing in your community at vancity.com.
Andrew McKillop wants people to know that it takes time to create something different.
“I’m a normal person. I don’t come from money. I worked 40 hours a week as a project manager in a digital agency and when it came to making environmentally positive purchases I felt priced out,” he told Daily Hive.
McKillop didn’t always know that he wanted to work in the furniture industry. In fact, he has a degree in Finance and originally started off his career at a couple of big-name banks. It was only when he moved to Vancouver that he pivoted to design.
“I briefly worked in some interior design companies and quickly learned that most large companies buy from a handful of manufacturing facilities overseas. After furniture companies are given a catalogue of designs to choose from, they make minor alterations so [that their pieces] are ‘unique.’ Everything is then sent to production,” he explained.
“It’s why some furniture can almost look like exact copies even though they’re sold in different stores.”
He also disclosed that these pieces are manufactured quickly with cheap parts, and their life spans are just long enough to make you feel like you’re getting your money’s worth.
This vicious cycle made it clear to McKillop that there was a gap in the market for beautiful and sustainable furniture that was worth its price tag and didn’t harm our environment.
He knew that he needed to found a furniture company with a social conscience. Hence, Mill+Commons was born.
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Mill+Commons didn’t come easy for McKillop. It took almost two years for him to understand how to create a scalable manufacturing process that allowed him to mill in Canada and manufacture in Vancouver.
It took time to find organic and bio-degradable finishes in order to create a truly circular economy product. It also took time to find box manufacturers in Alberta that would create 100% recyclable plastic-free boxes.
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The Mill+Commons furniture range is currently only a few pieces but is set to expand over the next year to include a range of styling accessories and new pieces.
Each piece of furniture is fully made in Canada, with design and manufacturing happening in East Vancouver, sustainable FSC certified wood milling and vegan assembly happening in Ontario, furniture manufacturing in North Vancouver, customer support in Vancouver, and boxes manufactured in Calgary.
Because these activities happen right here in Canada, Mill+Commons can personally ensure that everything happening along the chain is ethical and everyone working along the chain is paid fairly and treated equally.
“We want to be the next big furniture company in Canada, we want to be a catalyst for change, and show ethical furniture doesn’t need to cost thousands of dollars.”
Shop now at Mill+Commons here.