BEING savvy with your furniture can help you make hundreds of pounds, but knowing what and how to do it can be the difficult part.
New research by 118 118 Money has revealed that Brits prepared to tackle a bit of DIY could bag themselves as much as £1,200 cash per upcycled item.
There are two million Google searches mentioning ‘upcycling’ in the UK each year and searches for upcycled furniture have risen by 60% in the last 12 months.
Anna Coleborn, 29, a part-time nurse and mum-of-two from Birmingham, learnt just the trick to help upcycle some of her used furniture and now she’s making hundreds of pounds from upcycling in her spare time.
She started upcycling in 2020 whilst on maternity leave after the birth of her second daughter.
Anna transforms used furniture, giving it a new lease of life, selling them on to make up to £500 per item.
She started upcycling furniture in the evenings, alongside her job as a nurse.
She started her upcycling business, Anna’s Art House, in October 2020, and uses chalk paint to give pieces a unique design.
Anna said: “When I first started, I was only spending £10-15 on pieces and listing them for around £135 but as my knowledge and business grew, I found that spending more on higher quality pieces and restoring them was more profitable.
“Now, most pieces of furniture I buy are between £20-50 which I then can sell for £200 – £500, depending on the piece.”
“I’m really lucky, as we have a local charity shop near us where people donate their unwanted furniture that would otherwise go to landfill, this is where I get the majority of my pieces.
“If I’m struggling to find what I need, I do occasionally use Facebook marketplace to find items but it can be a bit hit and miss as you don’t know exactly what you’re getting until it’s in your car!
“As I work from home I have limited overheads, but I spend about £25 per piece on materials, and due to designing, preparing, and painting, each piece takes two weeks to complete.
“I use Etsy to sell most of my pieces as I get more exposure from the site, but due to the fees you usually lose 15% of your profit and so having my own website has helped keep more of my profits when I do sell through there.”
If you want to get into upcycling but aren’t sure how to get going, Anna shares her advice.
She said: “If someone was looking to start upcycling furniture, I say just go for it!
“It’s much cheaper and better for the environment than buying new, and you can personalise it to your home.
“I’d also say, try not to worry about making it look too perfect, when I first started my business, I’d spend hours trying to perfect it but I think old pieces look their best when they’re a bit rugged and full of charm!”
Anna’s top tips for upcycling furniture
Check out your local charity shops, or if you’re struggling, use sites like Facebook marketplace to find items.
Invest in high quality, well-made pieces for your work.
Use well-known sites to boost your exposure and reach bigger audiences but be aware of any fees you could be charged.
Also set up your own website to have more control on your profit margins.
Don’t worry about the piece being too perfect – you can always change it if you don’t like it!
Popular upcycling projects that could earn you extra cash
Research by 118 118 Money focused on five popular items that can be found around the home.
Using eBay data, they determined just how much profit could be made based on a mean figure which was calculated on both the total value of the highest priced listings and sold items on the popular reselling platform, and estimated upcycling supply costs.
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The most popular upcycling projects that could earn you extra cash include cupboards (potential profits of £347), tables (potential profits of £268) and bags (potential profits of £248).
But that’s not all, upcycled lights can also make potential profits of £234 and upcycled chairs can make potential profits of £173.
Tips for selling items online
For some people, the biggest obstacle to selling upcycled items can be a lack of knowledge on how to use sites like eBay.
If that sounds like you, here are a few tips that could help along the way.
Make sure you check eBay’s regulations to know how many free listings you get per month once you start selling. If you go over your allowance, there is an additional cost of 35p per item.
Be aware of any additional fees you will have to pay after making a sale. This is usually 10% of the final sale price (capped at £250).
If you process the sale payment through PayPal, there may also be a fee for this.
Make sure to visit PayPal's Help Centre for information on their service fees.
If your item has a unique selling point, for example if it is a first edition, or is rare in any way, this should be front and centre in the description on your eBay post.
Search for similar items on eBay to see what a reasonable price might be -you don’t want to price your item too high to be bought, but also don’t want a price so low that you are missing out on extra income.
Make sure you include good quality photography of your item(s).
Be open and honest about the condition of the item(s) you’re selling and include a written description and pictures of any flaws, so buyers are aware.
Meanwhile, a thrifty woman transforms £4 charity shop table instead of forking out £200 for pricey alternative & people are impressed.
Also, a savvy mum shares hack that transformed her daughter’s bed and saves her splashing hundreds on a new one.
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