Abingdon Co. Image displaying Crew member top banner Marij Medina

MAKING IT HER WAY

Choosing to see things for what they can be, not what they are
Abingdon Co. Image displaying Crew member top banner Marij Medina

By Amy Laboda

Oct 20, 2022

March 2, 2022

Los Angeles, California

“My name is Marji Medina and I own the furniture manufacturing and design company It's Not Trash. We create furniture with the least amount of waste,” she explains. “The products in the big box furniture stores are designed to fail over time.” Consumers are forced to become repeat clients and Marji sees the waste that causes as a key problem that's ruining our planet.

“So the short answer is: I take people's trash and I sell it right back to them in a form that will never break again. I do it for the same price they paid for their trash in the first place,” she says.
A typical day in the "office," Marji is ready to take on the day in her workshop in K-Town (aka Korea Town), a suburb of Los Angeles.
A typical day in the "office," Marji is ready to take on the day in her workshop in K-Town (aka Korea Town), a suburb of Los Angeles.
A typical day in the "office," Marji is ready to take on the day in her workshop in K-Town (aka Korea Town), a suburb of Los Angeles.
A typical day in the "office," Marji is ready to take on the day in her workshop in K-Town (aka Korea Town), a suburb of Los Angeles.

The "WHY?"

Marji designed her company to be a recycling juggernaut. “Demolition remains, wood knobs from broken dressers on the side of the road—this is what I use for materials, and then, when the furniture is complete, it's all priced at a similar price as particle board from, you know, mass production places that market to those with average income, individuals or families that make under $150,000 dollars a year,” she says. “I feel like they are fiscally enslaved by their products, and I want to change that.”

Almost all of the materials Marji collects to make her artistic furniture come from the streets of Los Angeles, from people who leave their trash on the curbs and alleyways.
Almost all of the materials Marji collects to make her artistic furniture come from the streets of Los Angeles, from people who leave their trash on the curbs and alleyways.
Almost all of the materials Marji collects to make her artistic furniture come from the streets of Los Angeles, from people who leave their trash on the curbs and alleyways.
Almost all of the materials Marji collects to make her artistic furniture come from the streets of Los Angeles, from people who leave their trash on the curbs and alleyways.

Conscientious Capitalist

She recently expanded the company from southern to northern California, and sees herself and the employees who help her (two of whom include her parents) as conscientious capitalists. “I wanted to make a company that paid the staff a living wage. I could buy my Subaru with cash and I'm not paying interest on a depreciating asset with recurring liabilities; I can go on vacations with my wife and take time off. And we can do all the things that we want to do, because we make enough money to be fiscally free,” she explains. 

“I love fixing things and making them better,” she says. “We feel like the luckiest family ever, we get to do our part in saving the planet by making furniture out of trash and make a great living too.”

A Businesswoman And An Artist

It wasn’t always shop clothes and sawdust for Marji, though. At one point in her life she was at the VP level in corporate sales, donning a suit, funding her 401k and helping her client companies vertically market and source new revenue from their products. The experience gave her a unique insight into the cost of client acquisition, understanding product marketing, cost of production, and more. 

She understands how to develop a good business plan from the ground up. She also knows how it feels to be a woman in a domain (carpentry and furniture construction) where few women are working in the shop. “All the tool belts and bibs are too big for me. None of the tools are built for someone five feet tall,” she laments. “I just built everything on the floor in the beginning, then custom built sawhorses to the right height for me.”
Abingdon Co. Image Displays Marji is all smiles as she builds a business being an artist
Abingdon Co. Image Displays Marji is all smiles as she builds a business being an artist
Abingdon Co. Image Displays Marji is all smiles as she builds a business being an artist
Abingdon Co. Image Displays Marji is all smiles as she builds a business being an artist

The Right Fit

When she ran into Abingdon Mullin at a party and learned about her idea for a pilot watch for women, well, she got it. It’s just nice when tools fit the user. “The watch is a functional watch with features that are useful and you can wear to work and then you can also wear it out to dinner with a nice pair of jeans and a top,” she says, explaining how she bought her first Amelia, as one of Abingdon Co’s first customers. “And yeah, that was a pilot’s watch because that’s what Abingdon had at the time. I mean, I think I helped her make that very first sale at that party. There was this woman, a pilot, who I was talking to, and she was talking about her issues, and I connected her with Abingdon.”

“In the last few years the company has really branched out with watches with all kinds of other functionality. It’s cool, because the pilot world is small and if that is all you are focusing on, well, you’ll die as a company, you know?” Marji smiles. “But really what I love about Abingdon is she expanded and created a lifestyle company based around women who get shit done.”
What she says about her Abingdon watch

“But really what I love about Abingdon is she expanded and created a lifestyle company based around women who get shit done. Her customers are women who are passionate about their lives and they are going out there and becoming game changers. These women are choosing to ignore obstacles and going and getting what they want. Abingdon Co. is creating products for those people. I love that.”

What she wears:
Amelia Watch
Swiss GMT Movement, Calculator, 330 ft. Water Resistance