Woman boosts income by £4,000 a month and it ‘doesn’t feel like work’
After 15 years building and renovating homes, Tammie Kennedy, 43, opted for a career change and is now making thousands of pounds doing what she “loves”, buying and selling vintage furniture.
Express.co.uk spoke exclusively to Mrs Kennedy about her passion-turned-business, which can see her make up to £4,000 a month through her website and Narchie app – with some pieces raking in £1,800 alone.
Mrs Kennedy, who is based in Crawley, West Sussex, said: “We have always bought vintage furniture for our own home and for the ones we have built. My husband and I have always had a love and appreciation for the thought that has gone into the design of such items, the quality of the materials used at the time, and ultimately the craftsmanship.
“All of this results in furniture that is not only timeless aesthetically but also built to last many generations.”
It was Mrs Kennedy’s daughter, who was “doing really well” selling vintage clothing on online marketplace apps Depop and Vinted, who gave her the idea to set up her own shop selling vintage homeware.
Her daughter’s advice was to “just go for it” and list as many items as possible, so that’s what Mrs Kennedy and her husband did and after three months, it started to snowball.
Mrs Kennedy sources items from local auctions or online, as well as near Normandy in France, where her family have a property.
She specialises in selling rare and popular items from the 20th century. Her biggest sale to date was a chair from Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation, which she came across by accident at an auction and sold for £1,800 to a collector.
Other big sellers include teak Danish and rosewood dining tables, where she can make anything between £1,100 to £1,500 per table.
Mrs Kennedy said: “There’s no golden rule or formula – sometimes if you absolutely love an item and it’s in good condition you will pay a lot for it, and be happy with a smaller profit – knowing that you’ve given it the opportunity to be rehomed and appreciated again. And that for a brief moment you had that item in your possession.
“On other occasions, you might pick an item up cheaply, but then invest a lot of time and money in having it restored. But on very rare occasions, you can find an amazing item – in amazing condition, for very little money and make a fantastic profit!”
Mrs Kennedy added: “It takes a lot of work. But when you enjoy your job this much, it doesn’t feel like work. It’s nice to be making some money and to be making a profit this early on our journey leaves us optimistic, but we want to focus on being the best we can for our customers too.
“So many people worry about ordering vintage furniture and homeware online and the delivery process, so we want to make that process as easy and stress-free as possible.”
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Sharing some key tips, Mrs Kennedy explained the importance of keeping up with trends and monitoring what’s popular. She said it can be a bit of trial and error, but it doesn’t take long to find out what sells.
According to Mrs Kennedy, the most popular items at the moment at bobbin stools, matching bedside tables, plant stands, bamboo and rattan pieces, sideboards, and any good quality mid-century dining tables.
As a new business, Mrs Kennedy has said support from the homeware marketplace app Narchie, which she uses to shift her products, has been “amazing”.
She said: “I hate it when you sign up as a seller on platforms and then can’t find any details on how to contact customer services. The Narchie team have provided so much support.
“Group chats have been set up for sellers to share experiences and ask for improvements to the app, and the team at Narchie listen and respond. The app is super easy to use as a seller and a buyer.”
They say a change is as good as a rest and for Mrs Kennedy, she said: “It’s true. My husband and I loved our previous job as designers and builders of individual bespoke homes, but the change has revitalised us.
“Our daughter, who sells vintage clothing online, has been amazing. She’s taught me how to navigate social media and how to set up Stripe Payments, etcetera. We have an autistic son who has now reached 20 and is only at college part-time. This new career has enabled me to work from home on his days off, which is obviously the most amazing bonus of all.”
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