As a nation, we’re becoming increasingly aware of the toll our lifestyles are taking on the environment, particularly now the threat of climate change has become a grave concern. From eating less meat to ditching single-use plastic, many Brits are making a conscious effort to reduce their carbon footprint.
One sustainability trend that has grown in recent years is upcycling, the concept of taking an old, worn-out item and refreshing it to make it attractive and functional again. Upcycling not only saves huge amounts of unnecessary waste going into our landfills, but it can help you earn some extra money too.
Here, we investigate the growing phenomenon and explore how much money can be made by upcycling.
How does upcycling differ from refurbishing?
The concept of upcycling sounds very similar to refurbishing. You take something that’s seen better days and give it a makeover, so it gets a new lease of life. While the two sound pretty much the same, there’s a small difference between them.
Refurbishing involves repairing a broken item so that it works again in the way it was originally designed to while upcycling takes an old product and makes it into something new. For example, turning an old dress into a cushion cover.
The importance of market research
As with any business, the key to success is to research your market before you begin creating products to sell. This is essential, as you may find during your research the product you planned to make is not needed or wanted by enough people, and if you don’t have sufficient demand your business will quickly fail.
Market research will also enable you to identify a niche for your business. A niche is a gap in the market your business could fill, meaning your products will be in-demand because you can offer something others cannot.
Setting the right price in your niche
The amount of money you can make from an upcycling business will depend on your chosen niche. Some niches will bring in more income than others. For example, you could charge more for a dress made from vintage tablecloths than one made from ten-year-old curtains.
Aim to start by buying items of low value to upcycle, and as you gain experience there is potential to splash out a bit more on your materials.
Not every upcycling project starts off cheap, though. Authentic vintage fabrics and designer ballgowns can cost a pretty penny, so take some time to weigh up the cost of investing against the potential profits before making any big investments.