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How to Sell Upcycled Furniture Online 101

by Kayleigh Alexandra

It’s hard to get a job out there. But, if you follow this how-to guide courtesy of Black Boston, you can bet your bottom dollar that you’ll make a decent profit from upcycling furniture and selling it online via an ecommerce website. Not only is upcycling a green, eco-friendly thing to do but it will also make you a quick buck. Let’s get to it.

Start easy & use your existing skills

You should start easy and be careful not to bite more off than you can chew. Go to some classes to find your hussle and harness your individual talent if you need a bit of a refresher on how to sew and use a glue gun. (For example, there are regular upholstery classes at Eliot School, near Jamaica Plain – use your newfound skills to create gorgeous DIY furniture out of items in your loft, from footstools to couches).

upcycled furniture

Already good at painting? Add value to your personalized, upcycled furniture by painting unique designs on it. Make your products stand out from the generic wardrobes, coffee tables, bureaus and desks online. And remember: practise, practise, practise!

The more you can do yourself and the lower you can keep production costs – the better. Start with simple objects like small chairs and coffee tables if you’re unsure.

 Learn, do not copy

You need to be original and showcase your own style to make your upcycled furniture stand out from the crowd. That said, take inspiration from successful upcyclers such as Thomas Wold who can show you a thing or two about the kind of items and styles that people want to buy.

Upcycling furniture is all about adding a unique personality and voice to your products – here’s how to upcycle furniture for a one-of-a-kind look.

Where to get your goods

OK, we realize that not everybody has a bunch of unused furniture knocking around in their garage. Keeping your suppliers local to Boston is a brilliant way to keep down costs and maximize profit

Sourcing furniture to upcycle from locals on Craigslist is a good place to start. Ebay and Gumtree are also great options.

Start driving around and visiting wholesalers and retailers out in the suburbs who might be able to do you a good deal (having a van comes in handy here).

It’s super important to do some research so that you can grab yourself a bargain piece. How much are bureaus going for in Boston? Note roughly how much items go for online, and do not pay above average. Gumtree is great for posting ‘Stuff Wanted’ ads, so go ahead post an ad for cheap second hand furniture – you might just catch someone at the right time.

Pricing your upcycled items

You need to get your pricing right to ensure that your furniture sells and that you make a decent return.  The best type of upcycled furniture is high end and has a designer/vintage feel. You want to be re-selling this stuff at quite a high markup. Not sure where to start? Speak to local furniture dealers and boutiques – what would they retail your piece at (and would they be willing to give it a try?)

Things to consider are:

  1. Did you buy the piece at a garage sale for $10? Did you pull it out of a dumpster? Or did you blow a small fortune on it? As soon as you spend more money on something, you’ll feel pressured to sell it for more.
  2. How much did you spend on your upcycling supplies? Did you buy stripper, wood putty, sandpaper, or paint? All of these things should be factored in as your overheads.
  3. How many hours did it take to fix your item up? Labor costs are important too.

It may be dull, but logging your costs and man hours will help you price your goods properly. .

Selling your DIY furniture online

So you’ve successfully upcycled all of your mom’s old furniture, made a quick buck, and now you want to set up your own shop? Setting up your own ecommerce website is the next big step and is a good alternative to flogging your stuff on sites like Ebay, who take a cut of your profits.

  • Check out ecommerce blog posts over on Hubspot for tips on how to become an online expert. Next, you need to choose your shop’s online platform. For furniture, we suggest looking at Shopify – they are easy to use and set up on your own, and have loads of upcycling friendly trendy ecommerce themes.
  • It’s best to keep your product descriptions short and clear with bulleted lists and attractive images. Photograph your furniture in great light to make it stand out.

A clear product description from

  • Another thing to mention is that you need to be honest with your listings: if your goods are not perfect (that’s OK – distressed and vintage sells!) then you must say that on the listing to avoid costly complaints and returns.
  • It definitely worth setting up a Twitter account, if you haven’t already, and communicating with the public by getting involved in hashtags and posting relevant blog posts and articles. Seen a useful blog post of upcycling ideas for 2017? Repost it on your Twitter! Twitter is a fantastic place to publicize your ecommerce site and advertise individual pieces for sale.


So, if you’re stuck for a job in Boston, or you just enjoy getting your hands dirty, then upcycling might just be the money-maker  for you.  DIY furniture sells, and the more value you add to it with your own unique skills the more you can charge for it.

Don’t forget to do your research and find a bargain piece of furniture to work on and be sure to record your costs and hours spent on each job.

Content Marketer & Startup Specialist

Kayleigh Alexandra

Passionate about writing for the startup and entrepreneurial audience, I have recently been part of setting up an exciting project at We donate all our website profits to charities that help people reach their full potential. Find out more on Twitter.



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Teacher for software game industry programming and a Boston Massachusetts tech meetup group.

Let’s get right to how to do it. Here is where you go to for Computer Game Programming Instruction in Massachussetts .

I like them. I’ve talked to the director of the institute, I highly recommend the …..
The Massachusetts Digital Games Institute (MassDiGI) at Becker College is the state-wide center,

designated by the Commonwealth, for entrepreneurship, academic cooperation and economic development across the Massachusetts digital and video games ecosystem.
Established in 2011 and based in Worcester, MassDiGI is the result of creative collaboration among academia, industry and government, aimed at fostering the growth of the game industry and innovation economy.

Another Tech Meetup Group find

That would be the New England Association for Information Science and Technology.

Go to Link:

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Bringing African American digital culture up to date in 2016.

mural in boston

CFP The 30th Annual Symposium on African American Culture & Philosophy

published by Venetria Patton on Friday, March 11, 2016
Call for Papers

The 30th Annual Symposium on African American Culture & Philosophy

Exploring the “Humanity” in the Digital Humanities: Africana/Black Studies’ Perspectives on the Digital Humanities


Keynote Speaker: Abdul Alkalimat, University of Illinois-Urbana Champagne

Plenary Speakers: Marisa Parham, UMass-Amherst & Kenton Rambsy, University of Texas-Arlington


African American Studies and Research Center
Purdue University
West Lafayette, Indiana
December 1-3, 2016

The African American Studies and Research Center invites scholars, practitioners, and graduate students to submit proposals for papers, panels and digital presentations for  “Exploring the “Humanity” in the Digital Humanities: Africana/Black Studies’ Perspectives on the Digital Humanities,” its 30th Annual Symposium on African American Culture & Philosophy to consider the relationship between the digital humanities and Africana/Black epistemological frameworks that ask, “What Does It Mean to Be Human?”

Work that is closely associated with the theme will be given preference during the review process.  We seek papers and panels from across the disciplines on such sample topics as:

  • Africana/Black Studies & Digital Recovery
  • Africana/Black Digital Genealogies
  • Africana/Black Studies & Spatial Humanities
  • Africana/Black Studies & the Digital Arts
  • Data Visualization in Africana/Black Studies
  • Text & Data Mining in Africana/Black Studies
  • Africana/Black Studies & Digital Scholarly Communication
  • Africana/Black Studies & Digital Humanities Pedagogy
  • Creation and Curation of Africana/Black Studies Digital Resources
  • Africana/Black Studies & Software Design and Modeling
  • Africana/Black Studies & New/Social Media
  • Game Studies, Digital Humanities & Africana/Black Studies
  • Africana Studies: Intersections of the Humanities and Social Sciences

The deadline for individual and panel abstract submission is June 6, 2016.  Abstract submissions of up to 250 words should be sent to:

Ronald J. Stephens, Director, African American Studies and Research Center

Purdue University
College of Liberal Arts, School of Interdisciplinary Studies
29th Symposium on Philosophy & Culture
Steven Beering Hall, Room 6176
100 North University Street
West Lafayette, IN 47907-2098

Or email: with abstract in the subject line

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Black businesses in Boston for NSBE engineers meetup

NSBE is coming to town

Black businesses in Boston get excited when they hear about national conferences and meetings that bring thousands of organizational members to the city.  In Massachusetts, most black and minority owned firms are located in Boston Proper.

There’s a few important things Black visitors to Boston  care about when they come to conference. Most have well paying jobs so money is not an object.  They want to know where the parties are and this black Boston  events web site has night club reviews and lists of soul food spots and jazz clubs.

They may want a different perspective on what they’ve heard about Black Boston and the web site provides that perspective.

On Boston’s is a list of 100 black women-owned enterprises with the ability to scale. It is a subset of a list containing hundreds more black and minority owned firms in Massachusetts that may be interested in what NSBEBoston and NSBE National has to offer.

NSBE is the National Society of Black Engineers, a non-profit volunteer membership organization offering career and professional development training for its members.  Members also work with local schools mentoring kids in STEM ( science, technology, engineering and math) activities and contests.

The National Society of Black Engineers will be hosting its 42nd Annual Convention at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center (BCEC) in 2016.

more info:


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Training in Game Development with UNITY

There is an online course titled Learn To Code by Making Games – The Complete Unity Developer being offered by uDEMY.

The course byline is Game development & design made fun. Learn C# using Unity 4.6 & Unity 5. Your first 7 2D & 3D games for web & mobile.

Skate board black clip art

There are 295 lectures and 51 hours of video contained in the course for a fee of $197.00 You can preview the course material here before you invest in doing it.


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2016 Stem update for teens

NSBE – the National Society of Black Engineers offers STEM training for youth.

BDPA –  or the Black Data Processing Association offers STEM training for youth.

CODE2040 connects Black and Latino/a engineering talent to opportunities to ensure their leadership in the innovation economy.

You can look into STEM programs for students in grades 7-12 on published by a company of the same name in  Brookline Ma that is targeting middle and upper income suburban parents by offering expensive school programs.

The MIT k-12 outreach directory is a comprehensive resource provided by Mit University.





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Good time of the year for raw Black entertainment.

Its December and that time of the year when we think back for a minute at the year just past and look ahead for the next one coming.

Ophrah’s The Color Purple stage play and Jennifer Hudson are performing live on the Broadway stage in New York City.

Last week there was The Wiz Super Soul Musical on prime time network television and it had people talking about Queen Latifa, Mary J Blidge, Neeyo, and the young singer actress in the Dorothy lead role. What a splash!

In small towns across America to the urban metropolis arena, people are cruising into December’s classic Christmas stories and Kwanzaa festivities with remarkable familiarity.  It’s a great time to be a jazz musician too for the clubs will see good ticket sales and jazz fans are good to the house.

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The first black computer symposium in America.

Hi, I’m a digitalPlumbing history buff and member of the African American Museums Association and Boston’s Museum of African American History.  Topics here may reflect what that means. I’ve been fortunate to be on the scene when blacks were first getting mounted on the Information Superhighway which is what the symposium of 1994 was about. But before that, blacks were making strides inventing software – BlackSoftware.  I filed a full report about the evolution of Blacksoftware and our work on growing onto the internet in a piece titled Black inventions along the internet.

I feel the story that follows predicted a Black Twitter and a Black Internet population would emerge. Hip Hop went mainstream before then.  It has been 21 years since  the first African American Computer Symposium was held.  And now the Black Internet is the measuring stick driving Empire and Scandal like TV show ratings through the roof.  Watch how the Black Internet of 2015 will deal with social justice, the inequalities and a boycott planned against spending for Santa Claus and Black Friday.  Its going to be interesting!


An Interactive Niagara Movement 

When the president (Clinton) emphasized in his State of the Union address that the “information highway” was paved with good intentions, he neglected to note the potential detours and dead-ends that could lead the have-nots of today to become the know-nots of tomorrow.

To forestall such a result, American Visions called for a national African-American Computer Culture Symposium (“Want Ad for a Revolution,” October/November 1993 magazine article ). Those readers who accepted our invitation and that of the Congressional interactive niagara movementBlack Caucus Foundation to brainstorm on how we should participate in the multimedia computer age included university presidents and administrators, executives responsible for major African-American collections and archives, religious leaders, entrepreneurs, technicians, activist, elected official, librarians, system operators, schoolteachers, independent film producers and foundation executives.

We braved ice, snow and the lowest temperatures record for Washington, D. C., in 100 years to attend the January 1994 Symposium.  And what an electrifying session it proved to be, resulting in a multifaceted commitment to participate in the coming multimedia computer age by any means necessary.

Keeping a steady place from the morning to night, participants reviewed emergent technologies, corporate players and government policies, as well as the demographic reality of our marginal cybernetic presence to date.  All of the Symposium’s speakers shared one trait: a depth of expertise and a burning commitment to change the way information science can be linked to problems’ solutions.  Written background materials included the detailed policy concerns American Visions magazine and the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, as well as descriptions of a broad range of interactive innovations for business, political organizing, distance teaching, entertainment, networking, travel and shopping.

The revelations of the Symposium were that just because something is complex, it need not be confusing, and that enlightened self-interest requires that we choose proactive planning over after-the-fact complaints.

It was agreed to establish a Symposium working committees to plan three days of workshops and industry demonstrations for a major national expo on computer culture. The following subject areas were proposed for sessions at the expo: (1) new technologies, (2) education, (3) labor market effects and opportunities, (4) business options and necessities, (5) cultural institutions, (6) entertainment and sports, (7) networks and bulletin boards, and (8) telecommunications governance, regulations and democracy. I welcome additional volunteers to identify speakers, panelists, demonstrations and handouts, as well as proposed goals and timetables for community action.

We who were the victims of the technology revolution in agriculture and who were ignored by the Industrial Revolution can not afford to be bypassed by the multimedia communication revolution inherent in the emerging information super highway. We must mobilize not just our personal energies, but those of any and all organizations and institutions in which we participate, to avoid our continuing characterization, lamented by W.E.B. Du Bois, as an “after though of modernity.”

We  must seize the time between now ( 1994 ) and the 21st century to prepare our children and ourselves not only to survive, but to prevail in the information age just as the Niagara Movement resolved to ensure the fuller social participation early in the 20th century.  The issues of access and inclusion are the same only now they’re dressed in new technological clothing.”

(c) 1994, American Visions magazine

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