You are currently viewing Upcycling in Senegal: How Selly Wane transforms trash into furniture with SWANE-Design

Upcycling in Senegal: How Selly Wane transforms trash into furniture with SWANE-Design

In this episode, meet Selly Wane, the founder of SWANE-Design, an upcycling business transforming trash into furniture and creating an ecological and social impact in the process.

As a child Selly had always been fascinated by people who were transforming trash into something useful. And being interested in sustainability but also design, it comes as no surprise that her interests eventually led her to start a business that would combine these two passions.

In the interview Selly shares:

  • How she kicked off her upcycling business in a time when the term wasn’t even known to people.
  • How she overcame her fear of failure and dealt with the pressure after she had taken out a loan to ship her first container full of upcycled products
  • How she worked with distributors to clear her stock and why she eventually set up her own cafe and show room

and what her advise for young people in Senegal is. She also shares why in crucial moments she didn’t take ‘no’ for an answer and the reasoning behind yet another venture of hers: An incubator for civil society initiatives. Today Selly spends a lot of time between Germany and Senegal building bridges and connecting creators, entrepreneurs and artists.

There is so much gold in this interview and I hope you enjoy hearing from Selly as much as I did.

And now, without further ado, enter Selly Wane.


Thomas is initiator of, co-founder of ecological sanitation company EcoToiletten, digital automation agency Strandschicht and the non-profit tackling youth empowerment YES Founders Foundation. He co-authored a book on Youth-led Changemaking and coaches entrepreneurs on resilience and mental well-being.