Article provided by Lloyd Wells, a regular contributor working together with CDC Garage Doors.
Are you fed up with the daily commute and wish you could work from home? Longing to set up your own business but lacking in capital? Hoping to combine raising a family with having your own income stream? The answer to all of the above may be found in your garage.
Yours wouldn’t be the first commercial operation that started life in a humble garage. Did you know that some of the biggest multinationals including Disney, Apple, Harley-Davidson, Amazon and Google have their roots in a garage start-up?
You can see why it would work. Using your own garage saves on overheads, rent and commuting costs. Once you’ve checked that you can legally run the business you want from home, you can even offset some of the running costs against your business profits in your annual accounts. What’s more, starting a business on a shoestring budgets directly taps in to the entrepreneurial spirit that you need to make the whole thing a success. From small acorns oak trees grow, goes the saying.
So, what’s the big business idea?
If you’re flexible in your garage business thinking, we’ve got some quirky and creative ideas that might be worth a closer look. And the best bit? You don’t even need to convert your garage first – you can get stuck in now!
Fun with furniture
Do you have a soft spot for interiors? A garage is the perfect place for a furniture workshop where you can make bespoke items, then sell them on eBay or at local craft fairs.
If you have specialist woodworking skills and the necessary tools, you could create your own furniture pieces from scratch. Research the local market to see where the demand is, then fill it with your handcrafted items. From rustic garden benches to intricate classical cabinetry, from traditional dining suites to contemporary designer coffee tables, there’s a definite trend towards honest craftsmanship and away from mass produced MDF.
Of course, rather than making new pieces, you could also upcycle second hand items you’ve purchased for cheap. Sometimes, a new set of handles and a quick coat of paint is all it needs to turn a skip find into a desirable vintage item, with pricing to match. If you have an eye for design and are a bit handy with the scumble glaze, you could go far.
For out-of-the-box thinkers and makers, why not let your imagination run free and get repurposing? Take some old wooden pallets and turn them it into a groovy bedframe. How about quirky driftwood shelving or shabby chic coffee tables made from reclaimed floorboards? If you’re brave enough, indulge in a spot of skip diving and see what you can make from salvage.
If all else fails, why don’t you set yourself up as an IKEA furniture assembly expert? Seriously, there is a market for this service! If you have a van, you could even go IKEA shopping to order – many people would rather chop off their left foot than spend 5 minutes inside the store… – then assemble the bookcase, bed or desk back in your garage as per instructions and deliver the item(s) to the customer.
Cool crafty capers
Are you the artistic type, never happier than when you’re making interesting and beautiful things by hand? Artisan crafts are very much in demand at the moment, and it doesn’t take much to set yourself up.
A workbench and some decent lighting, storage and maybe a sink, plus basic equipment needed for the task – and hey presto, your garage can be a floristry studio designing fabulous wedding bouquets on commission, or a jewellery atelier producing intricate silver gemstone earrings, or a toy workshop where charming and lovable teddy bears are made by hand, or a pottery studio, or any number of handicrafts you can think of.
In the frame
For bigger picture thinkers, have you thought about offering bespoke picture framing services? Or upcycling ornate antique frames by turning them into mirrors? You could experiment with stained glass panel making or mosaics to produce stunning artworks that are architectural as well as decorative.
Finally, have you thought about sharing your crafting knowledge with others? What may be a money making venture to you could be an inspiring hobby other local people might like to learn. Set up small group workshops – either at home or other venue – or teach one a one-to-one basis or teach an adult education class and generate an extra income stream.
As always, it’s not enough to be an expert in a particular craft; if you’re going to make a successful business of your artistic talent, you need to be able to sell the results at a profit. Find out what people want to buy and cater to it. For an up-and-coming online sales platform specialising in unique, handmade, quirky or vintage items, check out Etsy.
Until Next Time… Charlotte x