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How is the Upholstery business likely to fair in the "expected" Political World

Started by baileyuph, November 05, 2018, 05:56:40 am

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Business has been fairly strong my way but have seen changes (recent years).

Are the politics (tariffs and other stuff in the news) likely to change our small business?

Locally, have noticed a lot of changes in the retailing of furniture.

Can reupholstering compete with "new" going forward? 

What are some good approaches going forward in the small shop?  Diversification and focusing
more on repairs?



My thoughts are when the economy is doing good everyone enjoys the benefits.

For instance, our favorite furniture store almost went out of business during the great recession. Now they are selling more than ever and sending work our way.

Our favorite refinisher had to let three employees go during the great recession. He didn't have enough work and couldn't afford to keep them on the books. Now he is back up to full speed and looking for help and sending work our way.

Our favorite designer simi-retired during the great recession. The work she sent us dwindled to almost nothing. She is busy again and has hired a collage student who is studying interior design.

All this means more work for us. Customers are spending like there is no tomorrow. And of course they all need it yesterday.

Upholstery shops have not been able to compete with new furniture for a long time. Any upholsterer who tries will have a hard time keeping their doors open. Instead, Rose and I try to attract customers who have furniture with sentimental value. And we try to educate them about furniture that was built before the industry moved to China. Word of mouth always has been and always will be our best advertising.

My focus for the future? Rose will start collecting SS next year. If the economy and my health stays strong we will continue working and saving until I'm 70. That is less than 10 years and I will start SS benefits then.

I pray the new congress does not put a halt to the good things that are happening. I think the worse case scenario will be grid lock and nothing will get done. Either way I think our 2 man shop will continue to stay busy enough to survive.
There cannot be a crisis next week. My schedule is already full.


I do not know the furniture end of our trade but I do believe that in today's market we all need to diversify if sales become stagnant. For some diversification is needed to maintain annual sales numbers. For others such as us diversification is done solely for market and revenue growth. We are always looking for ways to grow revenue and while we have not hit the full market penetration point we are close.

I set a goal of 20 % growth in sales per year. Thankfully we have been blessed and always hit that target and then some. But I am a realist and know that sooner or later our market penetration will hit a limit and growth will come much slower. This is where I am counting on diversified products and services to maintain our growth targets.

We could have diversified even more and expanded into new markets but I adhere to my own policy of 1.) We need to be able to handle the new product or service with current staff.  2.) the new product or service must have good margins. 3.) The training and learning curve is short. If it meets all of this criteria then away we go.

This is just the way I operate. Many of you are different and go in different directions which is fine. Some are happy with where they are while pothers want more. We all have to pave our own way with our businesses and just because I do things one way doesn't mean it will work for others. Vice Versa. Just because I do things one way sure as hell doesn't mean it is right. There are too many variables for each of our own companies to apply a fixed formula for growth. JMHO. :)



I see an upturn in business. September was a dead month but it always is. October has picked up and this week it has started to soar. I don't know if it will continue so I am leery of putting on help as of yet. I have been working on a large job that looks like a go but until I see a deposit and a PO I do nothing. I know we cannot compete with factory work. I never wanted to and never will. They are a breed of their own.
Minichillo's Upholstery