The inspiration for my upcycling business began last winter when I decided to leave my 15 year sales career to channel my creative energy. My first project comprised of an old pine chest of drawers, passed down through the generations of my family. It didn’t fit with my current interior, so I set about stripping and painting until it was totally transformed into a vintage quirky piece of furniture, which was admired by my friends and family. The before and after photos are below.
That’s when I began my obsession for hunting down quality, unusual pieces of furniture that people had donated to local charity and antique shops. Every tired old piece I came across, I immediately knew how it could be transformed.
After successfully entering competitions in national interior magazines such as Your Home, my confidence led me to look for local retailers who might want to showcase my work. Local hair salon KM Hair Art in Alva were first to accept my work and the response was extremely positive amongst their many customers. I sold a number of pieces to people who had only come in to have their hair or nails done!
The next outlet to accept my work was Made in Stirling, a fantastic retail project funded byCreative Stirling supporting local artists. This was highly successful and I found a real demand for my work. Creative Stirling and everyone at Made in Stirling have been so supportive of me – as they are with all the artists they showcase – and retailing my work in Stirling City Centre has been a real bonus for my business so early on in its life.
Following my success in Alva and Stirling I decided to contact The Makers Gallery in Alloa and ICE Retail in The St James’ Centre, Edinburgh. Both of these very different outlets agreed to present my furniture giving me a total of four venues selling my work. I’ve also set up stalls at a number of craft fairs locally and recently been chosen to be a part of 3D2D Craft Fairs at venues including the Royal Highland Show in Edinburgh this summer.
My own personal financial investment in the business has been minimal. All I required to get going was painting materials and of course the time to find the right pieces to upcycle. One of my next targets is to set up an online shop, but my ultimate dream would be to open my own retail outlet. However, at the moment I’m happy to let the business grow organically.
One of the most pleasing spin-offs from the business so far is the personal commissions I have taken from people who have seen my work in the retail outlets. I’ve upcycled and re-invented often precious sentimental family pieces of furniture that once hid in an attic, to centre stage in my customer’s living room. An example is shown in the photos below.
One of the most rewarding aspects of my business is that it supports local charities and also helps in the recycling chain. I’ve recently discussed a potential community project with a local businesses where I could hold workshops that would teach local people how to upcycle their own furniture, rather than buying new.
When I am not painting, I love spending time with my supportive family and our new addition, ten week old Harry the kitten, who we rescued from the roadside outside our house last month. After a traumatic time, he is now thriving in his new home and he is loved by us all. He has even taken an active interest in the business!
Why not have a look what other projects Angie has been busy with over on theFurniture with Attitude Facebook page?