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