1737
7 min 24 sec

Crafter Fashions Upcycled Chairs Into Six-Figure Shop

A Texas crafter turns castoffs into whimsical works of art, earning a full-time income and building a sustainable business.
Art Chairs furniture Reselling

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What It's About

Sit down for the story about reupholstered chairs that bring in over 6-figures.

Business Model
Arts of Crafts
Skills Required
Crafting and Marketing
Complexity
Low
Profit Potential
High

Words of Wisdom

Wendy shares some excellent pricing advice. “Come up with a good pricing system. When we price our things really low people question what's wrong with it and decide it must not be that valuable. But when you go ahead and you price it high … you believe that this is worth that amount because of the time and energy that you have to put into it.”

Fun Fact

Fifteen years ago, Wendy taught a Detective 101 online course for elementary school kids. She sent them a box of clues to use for each weeks’ assignments.

Notes from Chris

Episode 1737
In 2012, Wendy Conklin was working as an educational consultant when she took a couple of upholstery classes. She’d already tried doing it using instructions from a book but wanted hands-on guidance from a pro.

In the first class, she learned how to fix up vintage and antique chairs and reupholster them with new fabric. Toward the end of the second class, she decided to open an Etsy shop to see if the chairs she’d worked on would sell.

Starting up didn’t cost a lot of money. Wendy sourced her chairs from Craigslist and was conscious of choosing affordable yet beautiful fabric. Within two weeks of opening ChairWhimsy, she got her first order.

During year one, she made about $500 a month in her Etsy shop. Not a bad start, but how about now? Well, I hope you’re sitting down… on a chair. Her average monthly profits now are between $10,000-15,000 depending on the season.

Interestingly, some Etsy sellers with high sales volume choose to shut down their Etsy shop and focus on selling through their own website to avoid Etsy fees and own their sales channel. Not Wendy. She has her own website for ChairWhimsy, but sees the value in keeping both going. A lot of customers find her on Etsy and end up buying from her website or vice-versa.

The best part of the process has been the journey of proving to herself that she can figure things out, whether it’s shipping, pricing, or something else. And as a side note, she was fifty years old when she started her side hustle, so she says you’re never too old to learn something new.

ChairWhimsy’s creations have been featured in Better Homes & Gardens, Woman’s World, and BuzzFeed. In addition to selling chairs, Wendy has begun offering online courses. These include upholstery for beginners, how to find swoonworthy fabrics, and what she calls the Business of Chairs.

 
  MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

  • Check out Wendy's beautiful creations at her website, ChairWhimsy.
SEE ALSO:

Inspiration is good; inspiration combined with action is better. Now get back to work! Yours in the revolution, cg-sig-newsletter


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Quote of the Day
"Come up with a good pricing system. When we price our things really low people question what's wrong with it and decide it must not be that valuable. But when you go ahead and you price it high … you believe that this is worth that amount because of the time and energy that you have to put into it."
—Wendy Conklin #SideHustleSchool

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