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This man turns trash into thousands by upcycling furniture

"I am a practical person so upcycling seemed a sensible thing to do."


Jamie Whittle poses in front of furniture he's going to upcycle. (Jamie Whittle via SWNS)

By Ben Barry via SWNS

A man who turns trash into treasure has saved £10k ($12,113) for his upcoming wedding by upcycling furniture and selling it.

Jamie Whittle, 37, started buying furniture from second-hand sites in 2019 to spruce up and sell to save money for his wedding to fiancee, Isabella, 34, a project manager.

He scoured Facebook marketplace, eBay, Gumtree and the tip for bargains or free items, before often cleaning, sanding and giving them a lick of paint - to re-list and sell for a profit.

Jamie says he makes between £300 and £700 ($363-4847) per week upcycling up to 10 pieces of furniture - including tables, chairs, desks and wardrobes - and the couple has been able to save £10,000 from the side hustle for their upcoming wedding in August.

Jamie, a sports specialist, from Bournemouth, Dorset, UK said: "I am a practical person so upcycling seemed a sensible thing to do.

"I enjoy doing it and during the pandemic, my other business wasn't operating so I carried on doing this - now I do this alongside with my other business.

"It does vary a lot to how many I upcycle, it is mostly down to what I can find.

"I can do around seven to 10 pieces a week but generally it tends to be around three to four pieces.

"Some weeks it can be upwards of 10, some weeks it's none.

"We have managed to save around £10,000 doing it, we're getting married in 12 days in Poland."

As well as upcycling, Jamie is a sports specialist going into primary schools and helping teach PE.

Jamie has taken to TikTok to document his upcycling journey and show others how to go about it.

Jamie said: "You can pick pieces up from everywhere, including Facebook, Gumtree, eBay and even the tip.

"There are certain things you look out for, you go for solid wood furniture rather than flat pack furniture

"Solid wood is better quality and with flat pack furniture, you don't get much value off them second-hand."

When Jamie has bought an item, he sands it down, adds a lick of paint, varnishes it and occasionally adds a few extra bits like door handles.

On his biggest profit, Jamie said: "It was probably £400 but generally that will be down to it being a specialist item, such as old furniture brands."

Jamie said it would be do-able to make a living off upcycling alone.

He said: "You could do it full time if you have the skills and the patience.

"It is a decent mark up that I have managed to make off them, there is a fair amount of time and patience you need to be driving around and collecting furniture.

"It does depend on how many pieces you do at a time - it can very quickly consume you."

Initially, Jamie started upcycling furniture from his house but now works out of a storage unit.

Jamie's top upcycling tips:

  1. You have to like the furniture you're doing up otherwise you won't put a lot of effort in.
  2. Put in the preparation - in terms of the work you put into the piece, such as sanding it down and painting it.
  3. I deliver my furniture for free once I sell it which really helps sales.
  4. If you're trying to sell the items quickly go for light colors rather than dark ones. If you choose a niche color people might not want it in their home.

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