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.
As we talked, 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, in to a full-time upholstery business. On top of that, we began teaching others to how to upholster too.
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 too can do the same.
10 Tips For Starting An Upholstery Business At Home:
- You don’t need a large dedicated space to upholster in. (Kim started in the dining room)
- Build a pair of workhorses to save your back.
- Choose a chair from your own home you would like to transform with upholstering.
- Take lots of pictures of the piece before you start.
- Gather some basic upholstery tools
- Begin removing the old fabric, stuffing, and support systems taking pictures as you go.
- Learn all you can about how to upholster furniture.
- Talk to friends and family about the upholstery you are doing. Share pictures of your progress.
- Share your progress on social media sites.
- 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 but not for free!
The 10 Tips for Starting An upholstery Business At Home that I give above are actually how we got into this business.
Kim wanted to upholster a sofa that we had. She did some investigating online to find out all she could about upholstery. Finding a local upholstery class (now defunct) to attend once a week, she began the process of upholstering a chair. (sofas aren’t a good first project) After 2 years of working on many different upholstered pieces and approximately 200 hours of training, Kim decided it was time to leave the class. Now she was ready to tackle the sofa, which was her original goal.
Kim had shared with many friends and family members about how she enjoyed reupholstering furniture. After seeing Kim’s work they began providing her 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 turn this into a business.
Turns out there was no if about it, we were in business, we just didn’t realize it.
Neither of us had any formal business training and we really didn’t know what we should be charging for our work. We did some market research to see what other upholsterers were charging. In the beginning, it was pretty scary to give someone a price for work and wait for their reaction.
Fast forward to today. (2018)
We have been in business for over 22 years, the first 20 at home, now we own a commercial building where we also create video tutorials and teach others how to upholster furniture through our online classes membership.
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 titles 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,
Upholstery workshop in our garage
Tufting leather cushions in our garage workshop
At the sewing machine in our basement workshop
Tearing down a sofa in our basement workshop
Teaching a workshop in Kim’s Upholstery new building
This is the living room where I did my first upholstery project