A few months ago I was compelled to create a market inspired children’s pop-up-shop for my niece Avery’s 5th birthday.
Avery is on of the best “dreamers” I know. I’m always encouraged by her imagination. When I had my shop on Regents she loved coming in and “helping the customers”, as she called it. She would move the decorations from shelf to shelf, passing out sample cookies, and in some cases even collect the change from a sale (with help of course). I’m sure was pretty thrilling for her, not very many five year olds get to use live people as props in their imaginary games. But I suppose for her it all seemed very real and she took her roll very seriously.
She would ask, “Auntie Jill, are you going to build me a shop of my very own?”
So, I did.
Here’s a photo of the original, taken off of my Instagram.
The first Market was built before blog, so I did not document much of the process. Fortunately a few months later I was asked to repeat the project.
Here is a gorgeous shot of the project underway in my garage.
- 4 Milk Crates (body)
- 1 12″ Board (top)
- 2 2″by 2″s (sides)
- 1 6″ Board (sign)
- Wood glue
- 2 Hooks (open sign & apron)
- Paper & Striped String
- Glue crates together and let dry.
- Cut the top to the desired length and Glue.
- Secure with screws (8 on top).
- Cut side posts to desired height. Attach in the center of the crates (4 screw on each side). *this will also function in securing the crates together.
- Cut sign to desired length. Attach to side posts with screws (2 screws on each side).
- Paint & Sand.
- Add the hooks.
- Add the banner.
- Apply Hand-lettering.
The result is an adorable hybrid version of an old school “Lemonade Stand”.
There you have it. Cute as pie.
In the last year vintage dressers, like this one, have been added to the endangered species list.
There was a time when flipping furniture was a breeze. Thrift stores were jam packed with treasures, ripe for the picking. Solid wood coffee tables, dressers, and complete dining sets could be purchased for less than $20. I loving refer to this as the “Shake & Spray Era” (in reference to a can of spray paint being the jobs only requirement).
Not. Any. More.
Thanks to Pinterest, Hgtv, & Etsy the furniture flipping business is booming. Everyone wants a piece of the action. The competition is tough, and the pickings are slim. Forget about driving down to Goodwill to snag a deal, their aisles are bare. What is in stock is either marked as sold, ridiculously overpriced, or made out of poor quality laminate (or all the above). Honestly, you have got a better chance of finding a live unicorn than you have of finding a $30 mid-century side table at a thrift store in 2016.
What’s my point? My point is that the game has changed. Here are a couple tips to successfully redesign & sell furniture:
- Shop outside the box: Estate sales, garage sales, Craigslist, and apps like Offer Up. It requires a bit more strategic thinking and planning ahead, but it’s worth it.
- Use appropriate products: Buy high quality paints & use finishing wax to seal the project. If you use spray paint, show you care by correctly sanding to remove existing finishes and blemishes before you spray. Remember: if it scrapes off with your fingernail, your doing it wrong.
- Update the Style: Add new/reclaimed wood to the top or sides, install decorative trim, or change out hardware for a fresh “crisp” look.
- Less is more: Keep it clean, uniform & sophisticated. Don’t over-design. If you have a lot of ideas that’s great, but hold off. Use them on the next couple projects.
- Finish your work: Paint all the way around the piece (including the bottom & back side), make sure all paint lines are straight on any seems.
- Go the extra mile: Line the inside of the drawers with vintage maps or cute paper.
- Take quality listing photos: Set an idealistic scene to entice shoppers online. Be aware of backgrounds & remove any excess clutter from the shot.
- Keep it secret, keep it safe: It’s great to show off “before & afters” to friends (and in this case fellow bloggers), but it is not always a good idea to share with potential clients. It can sometimes distract & devalue the piece. In addition, it is best not to directly share your shopping source (unless it came over on the Mayflower, or was previously owned by Taylor Swift…). It’s okay to leave some details to the clients imagination. I know it sounds weird, but your integrity is in your craftsmenship. If you have worked hard and truly created a quality piece, then be proud of your work. Focus on selling the product as it is “now”.
- Price Competitively: This is a tough one, especially after you have put your heart into redesigning your piece. I cope with the pricing struggle by determining my listing price before I even purchase the furniture. I keep that total in mind throughout the entire flip, which helps me not to go over budget on supplies. When the piece is finished and ready for listing, I always do one last cross check online of similar listed items. Then… it’s go time.