As part of our #IOwnMyOwn series, here is our third instalment of the week where we talk to Amanda Owen who owns ‘The Parlour Interiors’, a locally run furniture up-cycling business.
Please introduce yourself and tell us a bit about your business?
Hi, I am Amanda Owen and I own a small local business reconditioning and up-cycling new and old pieces of furniture. I used to live in France and during this time my business was called ‘Charente Vintage’, this has recently been rebranded to ‘The Parlour Interiors’. Although my business has always been primarily local, I have also completed pieces for customers in France during my time living there! I have a business website and Facebook page, both of which advertise my services and provide examples and images of previous pieces that I have been commissioned to recondition. I am currently looking to find premises where prospective customers can visit me see what I have on offer.
How did you get into this line of work, and how and when did you start your own business?
When I lived in France I often visited car boot sales and vintage fairs and soon found myself buying bits and bobs for my house. I then decided to start upcycling the pieces, lovingly re-conditioning them and selling them on eBay. To begin with this was something I could fit in with and around my young children but as I expanded and moved away from eBay and set up my own website, business started to pick up and I discovered my real passion. Now I couldn’t think of doing anything else! I have always been more creative than academic and have the vision to imagine how a piece of furniture could look, and that is what drives me. I love my job and apart from being a mum it’s the best!
What are the downsides to your trade?
The main downside to my trade is that it is very seasonal. The spring and summer months are very busy as it’s the time when people tend to renovate their properties and update their interiors.
What three things couldn’t you live without in order to do your job and own your own?
- The space to work- I think that it’s important to have a separate creative space to work in, and for me it’s my beautiful shed. When I first started reconditioning furniture, I did all of my jobs in the kitchen and although this worked, I found that I didn’t have a balance between being at home and being at work. Whilst working I would put the washing on and whilst relaxing in the evening watching a film, I would go and pick up a paint brush. Having a separate work and home space allows me to have a better home/life balance.
- A van for deliveries- without my van I wouldn’t be able to deliver the furniture! I deliver everything from chests of drawers to wardrobes to dining room tables, they are all large items and require a large space!
- Paint and paint samples- this really is the bread and butter of my job, if I didn’t have paint, I would have no job!
If you were to give one piece of advice to someone wanting to start their own business what would it be?
Time management! Whilst you are still learning your trade, be prepared to spend double the amount of time on a project that you had planned for, perfection takes time! If you want to produce the highest of quality items, items that you can be proud to put your name to, you need to put in the time to make sure they are right.
Check back with us tomorrow for the final instalment of the week. We will be interviewing Chinzi Esposito who owns a family-run roofing business. If you have any top tips for anyone wanting to start up their own business, please let us know by visiting our Facebook page and commenting on our post with the #IOwnMyOwn.