Where it all began..
Okay, so it’s fall of 2019 and i’m just beginning my final year of university in a degree that I knew I didn’t want to pursue. I was nervous for the future because I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. It’s safe to say that I was feeling a little lost and discouraged, when suddenly I scored a cool job as a Student brand representative for Bumble (yes, the dating app). It was a great gig with a great company and the best team of girls. I was in this role for the remainder of the 2019/2020 school year but I knew that I still needed a plan for the future as the position I was in was only available to students. So a few weeks before my graduated I hopelessly applied for a new position with the company and I was lucky enough to score a promotion to become Manitoba’s event coordinator for Bumble. This meant I was in charge of collaborating with locals to expand brand awareness, choosing sponsorships we want to support, and creating our own events throughout the city to promote the Bumble app. I was SO excited, and this opportunity came weeks after the announcement of the world-wide pandemic, which meant I was laid off of my part-time bartending job. It felt like everything was falling into place. I was so excited and thankful for the opportunity to have a position with a great company that would lead to more opportunities, and what I thought would turn into my career.
Unfortunately I was only in this position for 1 month until they announced that they were doing a large rebranding, which meant that they were removing all Canadian jobs for the company. Safe to say I was quite upset by the news…
Fast forward a few more weeks, and my serious 3 year relationship also came to an end. Although it was for the better, it’s safe to say that my life was a complete whirlwind during the month of May/June 2020. A global pandemic, university graduation, a job promotion, 2 job terminations, and a break-up. WOOOOW what a time.
But this is when I’m going to remind you all that everything happens for a reason. When you lose everything it clears a place for a fresh start.
Ok so believe me when I say that I had a lot of time on my hands at this point. After being attached at the hip with my roommate for weeks and weeks, I decided it’s time to start a project. With absolutely no experience or knowledge, I decided it would be fun to paint the dresser that had been sitting in my garage for years. With a little bit of Pinterest inspiration, and a few google searches later, I hit up Canadian Tire for an orbital power sander, paint brushes, some chalk paint, and wood tinter. I blindly started painting the dresser (I forgot to add that I have absolutely no artistic ability so my expectations were quite low for how it was going to turn out). But to my pleasant surprise, it turned out great, and I couldn’t get over how satisfying the feeling was to look at the piece of furniture and be proud of what I created (image below)
After this piece I became obsessed with searching marketplace for the next piece of furniture I could flip. My 1 car garage, filled with junk from 4 different roommates became my new hangout spot. I spent all day long in there creating new pieces (lots I’m proud of, but also many I’m not). But the best feeling is when you make something kick-ass and finally sell your masterpiece, justifying all of your hard work. And the cash is addicting! It’s a constant game of “can I make this next one even BETTER?!” and “can I sell this one for even MORE money?!”.
This is when it finally clicked to me that I had finally found the thing i’m passionate about. From that point on I was constantly doing research on how I could make a living doing what I do, and I realized it’s totally possible. But I also knew that it wasn’t going to come easy.
After spending my entire summer in my non-insulated garage, I knew that fall was coming and that I needed to find a new place to do my work. So I started searching for shops and garages to rent across the city, only to find that it cost even more to rent a shop than the amount I pay to rent my 3 story duplex, ugh.
Thankfully all 3 of my roommates and their significant others (yes it’s a busy house) allowed me to take over the living room space and do my projects there for the past 7 months. The house was an absolute disaster during all hours of the day and my main floor was a revolving door of different furniture. Luckily my roommates never once complained about it and I am forever grateful for them and their support ♥
Fast forward 1 year later and here I am, doing work for large companies and helping clients design and update their kitchens with my help. But even though i’ve come a long way in a short amount of time, I still have a lot more to go.
For instance, this is my garage at the moment. Tomorrow i’ve cleared my schedule and am planning to clean out and organize this mess for the warmer season. Hoping that a hard working summer can lead to a fully functional shop for next year 😉
Basic tips and tricks for beginners…
If I could go back a year and give myself a few basic pointers in order to create the best looking final pieces, here’s what I would tell myself:
- Buy quality pieces that are made of real wood
- leave Latex paint alone and Invest in the quality furniture paint (it makes ALL the difference)
- Invest in tack cloth and make sure to wipe your surface between every paint/stain coat. Tack cloth removes all of the fuzz and dust that attaches to the wet surface while drying.
- Stripping is better than sanding. Here is my favourite stripper
- Neutral coloured pieces sell more quickly
- A light sanding on your paint for a distressed look can make the world of a difference. It creates texture and dynamics to your piece which makes it more appealing to the eye
- Always use top coat on stain and paint in order to seal the piece
- Always work in natural lighting in order to create the best results
- Bear in mind that every time you reach an obstacle, Youtube will have the solution 99% of the time
- and lastly, don’t discount thrift stores and garage sales to find your pieces of furniture! The less you pay for the initial piece, the higher ROI!
Remember that when you’re searching for a new piece to flip, always look for the potential of what the piece COULD be, instead of discounting what is in front of you. Keep in mind that it’s possible to make almost anything look better as long as the piece of furniture itself is of quality!