A MAN who started a side hustle to build up cash for his wedding is now reaping the rewards – after saving £10,000 for the big day.

Jamie Whittle, 37, turns trash into treasure, and makes between £300 and £700 a week upcycling furniture, the on-selling it.

The Bournemouth man started his side hustle to save money for his and fiancée Isabella's wedding this month.

And it's paid off – he's made £10,000 to date.

Jamie started his wee side business in 2019 when he started buying furniture from second-hand sites, then sprucing up the pre-loved goods.

He scoured Facebook marketplace, eBay, Gumtree and the tip for free or cheap tables, chairs, desks and wardrobes.

Once they were in his possession, he would clean, sand and give them a lick of paint before re-listing the items and selling them on for a profit.

Jamie, a sports specialist who goes into primary schools to help reach PE, said: "I am a practical person so upcycling seemed a sensible thing to do.

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"I enjoy doing it, and during the pandemic my other business wasn't operating so I carried on doing this. Now, I do this alongside with my other business.

"It does vary a lot to how many I upcycle, it is mostly down to what I can find. I can do around seven to 10 pieces a week but generally it tends to be around three to four pieces. Some weeks it can be upwards of 10, some weeks it's none.

"We have managed to save around £10,000 doing it."

Jamie has taken to TikTok to document his upcycling journey, and share his wisdom with others, teaching them how to go about it.

He said: "You can pick pieces up from everywhere, including Facebook, Gumtree, eBay and even the tip. There are certain things you look out for, you go for solid wood furniture rather than flat pack furniture. Solid wood is better quality and with flat pack furniture, you don't get much value off them second-hand."

When Jamie has bought an item, he sands it down, adds paint, varnishes it and occasionally adds a few extra bits like door handles.

On his biggest profit, Jamie said: "It was probably £400 but generally that will be down to it being a specialist item, such as old furniture brands."

Jamie said it would be do-able to make a living off upcycling alone. He said: "You could do it full time if you have the skills and the patience.

"It is a decent mark up that I have managed to make off them, there is a fair amount of time and patience you need to be driving around and collecting furniture. It does depend on how many pieces you do at a time – it can very quickly consume you."

Initially, Jamie started upcycling furniture from his house but now works out of a storage unit.

You can follow his projects on TikTok @jswoodstock.

Jamie’s top upcycling tips

  1. You have to like the furniture you're doing up otherwise you won't put a lot of effort in.
  2. Put in the preparation – in terms of the work you put into the piece, such as sanding it down and painting it.
  3. I deliver my furniture for free once I sell it which I find really helps sales.
  4. If you're trying to sell the items quickly go for light colours rather than dark ones. If you choose a niche colour people might not want it in their home.

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