A Beginner’s Guide to Selling Upcycled Goods
Have you ever remodelled a used can into a flower pot or a boring rug into a pretty bright rug? You’re already a step ahead in selling upcycled goods.
Upcycling is simply converting an old good (in our example, the used can or old rug) into a more valuable item (the flower pot or bright rug). Upcycling helps reduce junk in your home, but here is some good news:
You can also make money from your upcycled goods.
Do you already feel like selling upcycled is the thing for you but have no background in arts and crafts or an idea of how to place your goods in the market? You’re in the right place.
In this starter guide to selling upcycled goods, you’ll learn how you can turn your upcycled products into money, and even better, make it a thriving business
What are Upcycled Goods?
Upcycled goods are items made by repurposing old or used goods to look different and sometimes serve a different purpose.
Upcycled goods can be anything from repainted and restained furniture to completely repurposed fittings.
Upcycling reduces the amount of items going into landfills, so the process impacts the environment positively.
What Items can be Upcycled?
You can remodel absolutely anything, but you must consider the item’s final value if you’re doing it as a business.
About the upcycling process itself, it can be easy or complex, depending on the item you’re dealing with.
It’s, for example, a breeze to turn a used can to a flower pot, but time and material consuming to repurpose a crate into a coffee table.
How Do You Sell Upcycled Goods?
Upcycled goods are just like any other craft items that selling calls for following a strategic plan.
Here are the steps you should follow when selling your upcycled goods:
1. Pick what you’ll sell
As mentioned above, anything can be recycled, BUT, not every upcycled item will sell.
A good starting point is checking what items are currently selling to know what you should upcycle.
Etsy is a good marketplace to get ideas of what items are selling at the moment- just hit the search bar with the word “upcycle” and you’ll have tons of ideas readily available for you.
Of course, this should not limit your creativity, so take the ideas as inspiration and create your own products.
Want some ideas right away? Try out furniture, clothes, jewellery, and décor items.
Please note that the deal-breaker when choosing the items to upcycle is your skills and accessibility of supplies to make the items.
2. Get the proper supplies
Before you get rolling with an upcycling project, you must list all the items you’ll need in the entire process.
Different upcycling projects call for different materials, but you’ll at least have to acquire the base material (the item you want to repurpose) and the tools you need to tune it into a more valuable item.
The materials you need will be, in most cases, readily available in your home. Otherwise, you can get them at a low price from a garage sale.
3. Price your goods.
If you are making upcycled goods to make money, then you must price them appropriately.
Firstly, you want to set a price that will match the real value of the finished goods.
Secondly, the price should be sensible for the kind of work, time and effort you put into making the items.
Lastly, the price should cover the cost of the material and what you incur to process the sale.
Here are two simple formulas you can use to calculate the minimum base price and retail price for your item:
Minimum Base Price = Cost of Supplies + Labour costs + Overhead costs
Retail Price = Minimum Base Price × 4
Seasoned upcyclers use this formula to determine the best selling price for their goods.
4. Determine labour costs
To determine your labour costs, you must first set your labour rate.
You have the freedom to set whatever labour rate you want.
Many sellers prefer £10-£15/hr. Your labour costs will be this rate multiplied by the time you’ll take to make the upcycled good.
If you’ll take two hours to make the item and your rate is £15 per hour, your labour cost will be £15/hr. × 2hrs = £30.
5. Overhead cost/fees
Just like in any other business, selling upcycled goods comes with unexpected costs that if you want to succeed, you must be aware of.
Examples of overhead costs in this venture are office space and supplies, tools, and packaging costs.
One point to note here is that overhead costs depend on where you’re selling your items. With an online marketplace like Etsy, you’ll have to pay listing fees and incur transaction charges.
Since the overhead cost can take a significant amount from your profits, you should speculate and consider it when setting your base price. Many upcycled goods sellers take 10-20% of the material cost plus labour cost as the standard overhead cost.
6. Pick a platform to sell your repurposed goods
At this point, you have all your items nice and ready to sell, and you can now start thinking about the platform you’ll use to sell them.
Here, there are two main options: Selling the goods at a crafts show all by yourself or going the online marketplace way. For the latter, eBay, Facebook marketplace, and Etsy are great options- it’s relatively easy to find buyers on these platforms.
Points to consider:
-When selling in person- Have some money for travel and booth costs.
-When using an online marketplace- Choose whether to include the shipping fee in the cost of the products or charge it separately.
Is An Upcycling Business A Good Idea?
If you’re looking for a unique and fun way to make extra money, there’s no better way than starting an upcycling business. This side hustle requires no or very little starting costs, so there’s no excuse why you shouldn’t get into it.
Since you now know how to sell upcycled goods, don’t let old items in your home slide while there’s money to make from them.