Melissa Drabble is a well known sustainability and upcycling expert, entertaining speaker, media contributor and a expert dealer on BBC1’s The Bidding Room.
She is also an internet and social media influencer, hosting and presenting her own TikTok channel alongside her husband Mark Drabble which is all about recycling and saving things from landfill.
With Melissa known Reclaim Queen and Mark known as the Scrap King, they are affectionately referred to as Recycling Royalty. She often describes the two of them as real life Wombles and they have transformed their business and indeed their lives into a venture which promotes genuine sustainability.
Their TikTok channel provides a window of how they do this, showcasing how discarded items can be recycled or reclaimed to avoid unnecessary waste.
By demonstrating practical examples of how to repurpose materials, Melissa inspires others by demonstrating that living a sustainable lifestyle can not only be rewarding and fun, but can also help save money and make money too.
Melissa Drabble has always been passionate about history, antiques and collectibles. And she found a perfect partner in Mark, whom she met in 1999. Sharing similar interests, the pair decided to start a business venture in 2011 that began in the modest setting of Mark’s garden shed!
They began purchasing scrap metal from the public, and their reputation for an honest trade quickly gained momentum, necessitating a move to a larger facility. This was merely the first of several relocations, as their venture continued to grow.
What sets Melissa and Mark apart from the rest in their field is their keen eye for the potential in discarded objects. With the realisation that many items, from antiques and collectibles to generic household fixtures and decor, were being discarded prematurely, they broadened their scope.
“One mans junk, is another man’s treasure”
They started salvaging these objects, some of which only needed minor restoration before they could be loved and treasured again. This led to the creation of what Mark referred to as ‘The sentimental corner’ – his pile of hoarded bits and bobs.
However, within a year, it completely took over the building and in 2014 it evolved into the Junk Yard. A business dedicated exclusively to reinvigorating discarded items. And providing the most sustainable way not only to recycle, but to shop for second hand treasures.
Melissa’s dedication to reducing waste and reusing items runs contrary to the practices of many other recycling facilities. Many of them smelt and recycle items without considering their potential for reuse. She started her niche TikTok channel to showcase the treasures they discovered amongst the discarded items, catching the attention of global audiences and the media.
The items she saves varies enormously in value, from a few pounds to hundreds, all finding a new life thanks to her keen eye and expertise. As an antiques collector with a penchant for the Victorian era and mid-century to modern collectibles, Melissa has mastered the art of distinguishing the treasures from the trash.
Marrying in 2021, they made headlines with how much money they saved creating their dream wedding by finding and salvaging everything out of the rubbish at the scrap yard.
From furniture and decorations to her engagement ring, most things came from their Junk Yard. And when they couldn’t find something, they scoured the charity shops, car boot sales and social media market places for second hand and vintage items. In total they salvaged items to the tune of £24000
The best part was, that everything Melissa up-cycled actually increased the value of the item, so once it was used for the wedding, they sold the items on for a profit. Items such as an Edwardian roundabout purchased for £300. Restoration cost £1000, and because of the rarity and age, it’s worth rose to £5000!
Melissa and Mark’s home is an interesting treasure trove created from their dedication to salvaging and their fussy hoarding obsession. Everything being saved from the rubbish and repurposed.
Their best example is the grand fireplace which was made from a huge terracotta frieze that once stood at the top of a pub doorway near Birmingham!
Throughout Melissa and Mark’s career, they have been regulars on many TV shows. Melissa had been a regular face on BB1’s The Bidding Room for the last 5 series as an expert dealer. In 2023 she also filmed a new spin off show in the south of France for the BBC called the Vintage French Farmhouse.
They also feature on Discovery Plus’ and Quest’s reality, fly-on-the-wall docu-series Scrap Kings in season 3 and 4.
Dedicated to inspiring people about finding second hand alternatives, showing people how they can save money and still buy better quality items Melissa breaks the mould of a stereotypical sustainability and upcycling mould.
Providing a a fresh, alternative look, Melissa really is a fun, humorous and relatable. She is also extremely popular with the younger generation because as well as being an antiques dealer she really is a modern day recycling womble.
Media, Radio and TV
Dave: Storage Hunters
BBC1: Vintage French Farmhouse
Discovery: Scrap Kings
BBC Radio Derby
BBC1: The Bidding Room
Channel 4: Stephs Packed Lunch
BBC1: Flipping Profit