It’s been an interesting week.
My husband is on a cruise with one of his groomsmen from our wedding. (Yes you read that correctly.) His buddy won a free cruise so he and Marc decided to kick back “bro style” and enjoy a little weekend getaway.
My relatively even-tempered cat has become as moody as a toddler now that we introduced wet food into his diet. Marc and I are being woken up at 5:30 in the morning to meows, head butts, and pawing for food. If I don’t feed him fast enough or give him dry instead of wet, he has temper tantrums.
No joke. I get the furry backside and he won’t cuddle.
I think I’ve created a monster.
It’s also been an interesting business week. The longer I work in the furniture industry, the more exposure I have to the pressure and stress that exist on the other side of the counter.
I’m also gaining a better understanding of why people set their prices where they do. Most of us understand the concept of having to pay bills. You work your job, you get a paycheck, and there’s lots of open hands waiting for their cut of your profit. Utilities, rent, benefits, taxes, local, state, federal, childcare, car payments, etc. By the time everyone has been paid, there’s hopefully something left for you to stash away, but often times that number isn’t as high as we’d like it to be.
I think most of us would be happy if we got a raise or a higher percentage of our wares. After all, we worked hard for it, didn’t we?
Yes, we did.
So translate that to the world of furniture flipping. People like me spend time looking and curating pieces that we love. Pieces brimming with potential. Sometimes they come to us free. Other times, we have to drive, meet, schedule, bid, and negotiate to score the treasures we do. That takes time, energy, gas, and money.
Then, we pour our heart and soul into the piece. We spend time thinking about what color would look best. What color would sell quickest? What color do people want in their homes? We don’t just slap on a coat of paint and call it a day. There’s a process involved. We’re artists.
And then there’s the painting. With every stroke, we’re embedding our love for our craft into the grain. As we sand, we’re thinking about where time would have etched its mark on the piece. This edge? That corner?
As we wax, we’re making sure we have a smooth finish. We want someone to take the piece home and love it as much as we do. We want it to stand the years of love, use, and memories you’ll create with it. We wipe, wax, push, pull, and brush it into submission.
And then we stage.
…and then we wait.
That’s the hardest part, really.
Waiting for the right buyer and hoping that person will walk in the door, click on our post, or shoot us a message saying, “Yes! I MUST have this in my home!” We want you to love the piece as much as we do. We want you to appreciate what we have created. We hope you consider our sore back, bruised knees, paint-stained clothes, and sweat-lined brows.
You see, we’ve left a part of ourselves in there. It’s in the drawers when you open them up. (No, it doesn’t smell like grandma’s attic.)
It’s in the feel of the top when you run your hand along the edge.
It’s in the way we talk about it with you. It’s in the story the piece carries with it – from where we got it from, to its previous owners, to now being in your hands.
Can you feel all of that?
So in those moments when you may be tempted to question a price tag, consider the math behind the numbers. Could you get something cheaper from a factory store? Of course you could. But think of our time spent on the floor, crawling and scooting around it for hours to get just the right look. Think of our creativity that’s being expressed. Think about the bills we have to pay to be able to present our craft to you. Think about the air conditioning that’s running to keep you cool. The music that’s playing to help you feel happy while you’re browsing. The variety we’ve curated for your eyes to wander over. Think about all of the open hands we have to answer to – just like you.
There’s a lot more written on that price tag besides the monetary value of the piece. You’re getting a part of our craft. A piece of us. A chunk of a part of our life.
You see, there’s a fine line that artists dance on day after day. It’s the line between how much we feel our craft is worth, how much we think someone will pay, and how fast we need to turn over merchandise.
It’s not an easy line to identify much less stick to, but it’s a line we’ll stay on as long as we can.
It’s a line that we carry with us every day like a familiar backpack. Just heavy enough to remind us it’s there.
Some days, it weighs more on our shoulders.
Other days, it feels like it’s not even there.
But backpack or not, we will still create.
Correction – we have to create. It’s who we are. It’s what we’re made to do.
And it is our absolute pleasure to share our craft with you.
We hope you feel the love.