What It's About
Sit down for the story about reupholstered chairs that bring in over 6-figures.
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.”
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 1737In 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.
- Engineer Stumbles Into Custom Cartography Business: After encountering resistance with previous attempts at e-commerce, an engineer finds success in a laser engraving hustle.
- When the Rubber Hits the Road, This Mom of Three Earns $5,000/Month: After making a simple change to the color of her custom-image rubber ink stamps, this interior designer and mother-of-three from Texas began earning $5,000 a month..
- ESL Teacher Resells Furniture for Big Profits: When a Missouri ESL teacher sells a couple of barstools on a whim, she begins a furniture flipping journey that leads to a full-time income.
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