Budding photographer, Skateboard P and lover of all things Africa, Galen McGee, founder and creator of Saucy Woodz, uses his love of skateboards to create unique, handmade jewellery pieces.
We chat to McGee to find out more...
Tell us a bit about yourself and Saucy Woodz, how did it all start?
My name is Galen. I was born and bred in Strandfontein, Cape Town; I am 27 years young, a lover of Africa, skateboarding and photography.
As life progressed, I started dabbling in creating and manufacturing art from recycled skateboards. It’s a funny thing, I was just relaxing one day, about a year and a half ago, chilling out close to this turnpike near home and I figured why not combine my love of skateboarding with my love of being creative.
I took a busted board, and hand-carved my very first African pendant – after that, I knew there was no turning back.
Why the name Saucy Woodz?
The name stems from the gloss finish my wooden jewellery has once the process has completed. It’s a beautiful sight to behold – almost like this saucy effect; that’s what made me give it the name Saucy Woodz.
What are some of the challenges you have faced as an entrepreneur?
The fact that everything is handcrafted is one of the major challenges – there are things I need to figure out; I mean cutting, moulding, resizing and then still having to do it by hand. It’s no easy feat, but once I am done, I feel extremely happy and super stoked.
Sometimes people approach me with these really arb ideas, that challenges me to break my own moulds and be unconventional, and I absolutely love it! I hate to disappoint, so creating these "over the top kind of orders", if I could say that, really drives me to push harder, go bigger and do better.
You handcraft your product when other creatives use machinery mostly – can you tell us why this differentiator is so important to you? How does it set you apart from the rest?
It sets me apart from the rest because I feel like power tools take a lot out of the craft, i.e. the heart of creation. I think when you use your hands to create something, your passion and time speak louder than anything else.
Not many people are upcycling skateboards in South Africa, but it is a growing market, and also a market that is undersold. It’s easy to use a machine, and create the perfect product over and over, but I think trial and error can really take one a long way. Each of my pieces is uniquely designed; that differentiator is important to me.
Why would you say upcycling old to new is good? How does this contribute to the environment, in your opinion?
To me, a tree gave his/her life to make a skateboard so I don’t think it’s right just to throw a skateboard away like that. To give that single tree life for the creation of lifelong creative pieces, whether it’s a table, a chair, glasses, watches, key rings, etc can really go the mile. I mean, we are making a difference to the planet and that for me is what’s important. I think I can say that since finding myself – even through my brand – I have become more eco-conscious and now know what I need to do to help our environment.
I support sustainable living. It’s not just about recycling or making my carbon footprint smaller, but it’s also about creating in home décor – and using wood. Wood has a certain feeling to it.
What are you hoping to achieve within the next five years – where do you see Saucy Woodz?
I’d like to grow internationally, if possible. Also, to share my skills with other creatives and teach people what I know, and how I do what I do when it comes to designing and manufacturing.
Do you have any advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?
If you’ve taken the first step in becoming an entrepreneur, whether big or small, it’s a huge step in the right direction. Ups and downs will come, but please don’t let that deter you; know that you have the strength to overcome any obstacle thrown your way.
Where can we find and/ or purchase the “sauce” that you create?
If anyone is looking for my products, they can visit my Instagram and/ or my Facebook feed.
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