Table of Contents
- Ashley Brandfass, 34, found a hobby that makes money and allows her to spend time with her children.
- She flips furniture, fixing up old dressers and nightstands and then reselling them on Facebook.
- Since she quit her 9-to-5 HR job, she sees flipping as a way to fund home renovation projects.
This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Ashley Brandfass, 34, about how she buys furniture on Facebook Marketplace, then refurbishes and resells the pieces for profit. She has nearly 40,000 followers on TikTok and 270,000 followers on Instagram, where she shows before-and-after photos and videos of her projects and also shares tips for others looking to do the same.
On top of the $6,000 she’s earned so far this year from flipping furniture, she makes money from brand partnerships and products she features on her social-media accounts. The following has been edited for length and clarity.
DIY has been in my life forever. In fact, my dad built our family home, which my parents still live in, by himself.
All of the artwork in my college apartment was made by me because I couldn’t afford to buy anything else, and I liked the act of me doing it. You appreciate the work a little more when you do it yourself.
When the pandemic hit, it was chaotic. My job was very demanding. My husband’s job was very demanding. I felt a very strong pull to stay at home with my two boys. My oldest was getting ready to start kindergarten.
I felt like I couldn’t spend the time I needed and wanted with my kids because we were so stressed out trying to work from home with them. I’m so thankful that I was able to take a step out of the corporate world and focus on being a stay-at-home mom.
But then I got bored. I’m a very active person, and always have to be doing something.
I was trying to find a creative outlet. I ran across a video on YouTube. It was someone flipping furniture. I was like, “Oh my gosh, that sounds like an incredible idea. Let’s try it.”
I got started flipping furniture eight years ago
When my son was born, we needed a dresser for him. My grandmother had a dresser, but it was outdated and didn’t really fit the vibe of the nursery that I was going for. So I said, I’ll just make it hit the vibe — and it’s free. That was the first time I ever refinished a piece of furniture for our own home.
My son still has that in his room now, and he’s eight years old.
I did a couple of dressers for my boys, one back in 2015 and then the other a few years later when my other son was born. Those are my two big projects and I hadn’t done anything other than that until 2020 hit.
I find the old furniture on Facebook Marketplace
I started flipping furniture. I get free furniture that I find on Facebook Marketplace. I bring it home and make it pretty again — because it’s always pretty nasty. And then I sell it.
HGTV had a huge influence on DIYers, at least it did on me, because I would see that and say, “That seems ridiculously easy.” And then you go try it, and of course, it’s not ridiculously easy.
But I think watching other people, especially women, do it really helped me get the courage to do it.
I had never picked up a power tool outside of a sander — ever. I don’t know why I didn’t, but I encourage you to do it now. It’s such a good skill to have.
I got more comfortable with power tools because I would be a little more adventurous with the things I wanted to do with them. I would go out and say, “I’m going to buy this power tool that I’ve never used before and watch a YouTube video on how to use it.” And then I would do it myself.
That led me into the bigger projects that I’m enjoying now. I’ll do feature walls with fun board and batten trim.
I use my social media page to instruct others how to flip furniture themselves
I’ve always been a very curious person. Once I’ve done something, I find myself bored, so then I want to move on to learn something new and exciting. I’m always chasing a new thing. I think that plays into why I got an engineering degree. I think it helped me — not necessarily from a technical standpoint, but from an intellectual standpoint.
I honestly don’t keep many pieces because one, we didn’t have the space for it in our house, and two, I needed the money so that I could do fun house projects.
A lot of people who are in this space utilize it for an income and an income only. I love decorating our house, but that gets very expensive. So I thought this could be a source of income to help.
Once I’ve saved up enough, I take a break from flipping furniture and do my house project.
I’ve made a little over $6,000 this year from flipping furniture.
You could definitely make more if that was your full-time gig, and you weren’t documenting every step of the process and sharing how to do it and recording everything — and then taking breaks to do other projects inside your house.
But that’s just not my business model right now. Maybe it will be, but what I’m doing right now is what I thoroughly enjoy.
I love teaching people how to do it. That’s why I got on social media and transformed my account to what it is now, because that’s how I learned.
I want to give back and do the same thing because I enjoy it and it helps people. It gives them the confidence and the inspiration to go do cool new things that they’ve never tried before.