January 28, 2023

More than half (52%) of consumers are turning to thrift stores this Christmas to cut spending during the cost-of-living crisis – and for one furniture “upcycling” charity, things are going well.

A GoDaddy survey found that when consumers are backtracking on their spending, nearly two-thirds (62%) say they are more likely to “upcycle” items they already own rather than buy them brand new.

Upcycling is the process of transforming unwanted products into higher quality items and the survey found that clothing (48%), furniture (46%) and furniture (33%) are the most popular items to be refurbished.

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However, instead of always wanting to do it themselves, 46% of people prefer to hire a professional to give new life to their belongings.

Charity RECOVER – a social enterprise that specializes in educating vulnerable adults in furniture upcycling – has seen a 30% year-over-year increase in sales as customers seek out its services and visit the workshop to learn how to store their items. freshen up.

It works with materials donated or reclaimed from the environment.

When the pandemic first hit, with lost footfall in their workshop showroom, the charity seemed about to fold.

“We were initially concerned that we wouldn’t be able to weather the storm, but we soon saw an increase in online sales and customers contacting us for ideas while stuck at home and wanting to keep busy,” co-owner Holly Brunsden told Sky News.

“People might do with what they have and change it themselves,” she added.

“Certainly paint sales and the number of inquiries we receive have increased, but people also want to know they are buying quality and they want to support smaller businesses.”

For Mrs. Brunsden—who learned to sew on her grandmother’s machine and carpentry in her grandfather’s workshop—one of the most memorable upcycled items was a Victorian camelback sofa.

“I was speechless at how beautiful it was,” she said.

“It was in pink, purple and tropical, velvet and it was an absolute triumph. And everything she learned, she learned here, which gave us all a huge kick.

“And it was a beautiful thing.”

Ian Block added: “The cost of living crisis has made people more aware of not only reducing waste, but how older items are often better quality, unique pieces with their own story.

“We’ve seen nervousness buying new, so much so that September and October have been our best sales months since we started 10 years ago.”

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