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Tips for starting an upholstery business from home

It’s 8 AM on the 4th of July 2018. Kim and I are relaxing on the porch with coffee and talking about what we have done with our home upholstery business.

During our discussion, I decided to write a few tips for starting an upholstery business from home. In the last 20+ years, we have gone from doing something at home, totally for fun, to a full-time upholstery business. On top of that, we began teaching others to do what we do along the way.

I often refer to what we have as an “Accidental Business“. We didn’t start out trying to create a business at home, but this type of business is so easy to get into that it just sort of happened!

If you love the combination of working with fabrics and furniture and you are not afraid of a little hard work you can do the same.

Here are my 10 Tips For Starting An Upholstery Business At Home:

  1. You don’t need a large dedicated space to upholster in.
  2. You will want an inexpensive camera to use during the process.
  3. Choose a piece of furniture in your own home you would like to transform by upholstering.
  4. Take lots of pictures of the piece before you start.
  5. Gather some basic upholstery tools
  6. Begin removing the old fabric, stuffing, and support systems taking pictures as you go.
  7. Learn all you can about how to upholster furniture.
  8. Talk to friends and family about the upholstery you are doing. Share pictures of your progress.
  9. Share your progress on social media sites.
  10. As friends and family visit you invite them to look at your work.

Bonus: When friends and family ask if you can do pieces for them say, Yes I Can!

The 10 Tips for Starting An upholstery Business At Home that I give above are actually how we got into this business.

Kim decided to upholster a chair that we had so she did some investigating online to find out all she could about upholstery. She found a local upholstery class (now defunct) to attend once a week and began the process of upholstering her chair. In 2 years time working on many different upholstered pieces and approximately 200 hours of training Kim decided it was time to leave the class.

In this 2 years time, Kim had spoken to many friends and family members about how she enjoyed reupholstering furniture. Friends and family saw Kim’s work and began providing Kim with all the fabric and supplies she needed to do projects for them.  Do you see a pattern here? As more and more people found out what Kim and I (yes by now she had me hooked on upholstery as a business) were doing, we made the decision to see if we could do this as a business.

Turns out there was no if about it. We were in business, we just didn’t realize it. We had no formal business training and really didn’t know what we should be charging for our work. In the beginning, it was pretty scary to give someone a price for work and wait for their reaction.  Fast forward to today. We have been in business for over 22 years, the first 20 at home, now we own a commercial building where we create upholstery tutorial videos to teach others to do that which has brought us so much, Upholstery.

If you would like to learn to upholster furniture or make slipcovers and start your own home business join us in our Kim’s Upholstery membership, Where We Bring The Training To You! In our membership, you will find more than 90 video tutorials and a community of members that started just like you. We also offer private training, and hands-on upholstery and slipcover workshops. You can also follow us on Youtube and Facebook to learn more about how we do what we do.

See you on the inside,

Bill