How to Set Up a Furniture Upcycling Business
Upcycling furniture is a hot topic that has spread across social media, and it is a worthwhile business to look at setting up if you love restoring or upcycling any type of furniture.
I have come across a lot of beautifully upcycled pieces of furniture and everywhere you look on the web, you are sure to come across plenty of entrepreneurs who are taking this on as a business. Social media makes setting up any business easier and all you need to do is to reach your target market. But how would you go about setting up a business where you upcycle furniture? I am going to go through a few basic steps that anyone can follow to set up a, hopefully, thriving business anywhere in the world.
I follow @hannahrosedesigns and love her work. She brings a new look and style to old pieces of furniture that is so original. The finished look still lets the furniture display its pedigree, but they are pieces you would be proud to put on display in the home. I have watched her posts on instagram and facebook and it amazes me how she manages to make everything look so easy, but if you have the skills, it isn't that difficult. What you need more than anything is a creative imagination and the ability to craft your pieces to achieve this.
1. Start with an Idea or a Dream
You need to have a dream in mind or at least an idea. This is a business you have to enjoy - something you really would like to do in the future. Anyone who starts a business with a passion is already well on their way to success. Perhaps you have been giving some thought to a business that involves restoring or upcycling furniture. And by restoring, I am not talking about vintage pieces or antiques but rather old or dated pieces of furniture that just need some TLC to have them looking good again.
Browse social media and 'follow' anyone whose designs and ideas you like. There is nothing wrong with collecting as many ideas as you can, and it will only help you with your design processes when you finally start upcycling for clients.
You can learn a lot by browsing social media for 'before' and 'after' furniture makeovers and it will be valuable information that you can incorporate with your own ideas. You will also get an idea on what designs are popular and what colours do people prefer.
2. Undertake Some Market Research
As with any business endeavour, there must be a demand for it - a gap in the market that you could fill. But having said this, you never know if your particular talents would be something entirely new to the market. Investigate the number of similar businesses close to you or online in your vicinity. While online, you also need to check where you will be sourcing the furniture to work on. Will you buy second-hand furniture or visit auctions to find the furniture you need, or will clients send their furniture to you for upcycling? Even if the latter, you are still going to need some furniture to be able to have a selection of 'before' and 'after' projects for clients to see.
While putting together ideas for your new business, looking at local supplies that you can purchase at Builders, or your local hardware store, will help you to incorporate these into your business plan.
3. Draw Up a Business Plan
If you are starting your business with absolutely nothing, it may be necessary to secure financing to purchase stock, materials, and supplies. Having done this once in my life, I must be honest and admit that it is not something I would do again unless absolutely necessary. It is far better to start a business without any debt hanging over your head. Alternative solutions would be to ask around family and friends for anyone who has a piece of furniture (or two) that they would allow you to work on. You could start with the bare minimum tools and open an account with Builders to buy any materials and supplies that you need. That way, profit from sales would go to cover expenses on a per project basis and you would not have that debt glooming around.
If all else fails, speak to a customer service representative at your bank about your planned business venture and ask for their advice. After all, they are there to assist you and you may just find their advice eye-opening.
Hannah Rose puts a new spin on her designs by using commonly available materials, such as pine dowels, to bring a unique look to most of her projects. This is something you should try and incorporate for your own business - something that makes your designs unique.
4. Put Your Plan into Action
When everything ready to go, the next step is to start putting your plan into action. Get your workspace ready, have all your tools, materials and supplies and start your first piece. Know what you are going to do with the furniture? You will already have an idea or will have spoken to the client and now is your chance to show your talents. Upcycling or restoring furniture is a self-satisfying task. Watching an ugly or dated piece of furniture come to life under your hands is a hard feeling to beat. Take plenty of photos for posting on social media or have a videographer record the process for you. Now you want to get the word out to everyone and the best way to do this is via social media, whether you use facebook, TikTok, Instagram or other media platform.
Research the best techniques for upcycling furniture, including the best paints to use for your projects. Paint colours might be determined by what is currently trendy or what colours the client prefers but it helps to know the different paints that can be used for your projects and the properties / results of these.