Andy, The Man Behind 'AndyMan UpCycling

'AndyMan UpCycling's Mission Statement

To uniquely change the appearance of old furniture, turning unloved into loveable. To create individual, high end, bespoke pieces at less than designer prices. To recycle, reuse and upcycle as much as is humanly possible and to save damaged furnitue from landfill. 

In 2021 Andy was awarded "Sole Trader of the Year" c/o Portfolio and the Sunderland Echo. Sponsored by The Business Innovation Centre, 'AndyMan UpCycling was nominated by a member of the public and he was thrilled to be voted the winner in a section that was highly contested with other local businesses.

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    'AndyMan on being influenced by others

    Lynne and I had done some Upcycling for our own house in the past. Upcycling is now seen as perfectly acceptable, and if done well, even preferable to buying new. There are various mainstream television programmes that showcase Upcycling, I think '' Money For Nothing'' on the BBC has driven a makeover revolution. I am inspired by Sarah Moore's enthusiam and creative ideas, and Jay Blade's love of old furniture and bright colours, but it always the creator's own personality and skills that show through, which gives that one-off look to each individual piece. I have learnt upholstery from the master; - Anthony Devine from The Ministery of Upholstery,  and share the joy of marrying up the right wallpaper with the right piece of furniture by {the late} Emma Walker. Thanks to each one of them for their online support.

    If you are looking for inspiration for your Upcycling project, you might like to check out  "Money for Nothing", "Find it, Fix it, Flog it!", "Kirstie Allsopp's handmade", "Shed and Buried" {to name a few} or similar programmes on TV, You-Tube, Pintrest and Etsy, or similar platforms. Better still, come in to Jacky White's Market, Sunderland and ask Andy. 

    'AndyMan's own story, by Andy the man himself

    Originally from southern England, I left school with just one CSE, but I'm more of a practical learner and got a job putting the baize fabric onto snooker tables. Then 10 years in Catering, during which I relocated with my wife to make our home in the North East, before another career change in which I spent 16 years caring for Adults with Learning Difficulties. At 51, I had an opportunity for another change, I took redundancy and invested in starting my own furniture Upcycling business, 'AndyMan UpCycling. Skills learnt from my first job gave me basic upholstery and wood-working abilities, which I have improved through master classes, and adding my own take on art and adventure. I liked that I could give new life to a tired, dull or ripped chair, but then with a lick of chalk paint and some funky fabric I could turn an unloved item into a one-off piece of furniture, something that others like too, a functional work of art {that you can park your bum on} ! 

    'AndyMan by wife, Lynne

    We have shared a decade in catering and nearly two more in the care sector, careers which can leave a man craving adventure in extreme sports. So, my husband Andy has scuba dived with sharks that were bigger than himself, Skydived from 11 thousand feet, Abseiled off the Tyne Bridge, taken flights in Hot Air Balloons, Micro-lights and Gliders, driven a Rally car and Power boat, Sandboarded on Australian dunes, Climbed Sugar Loaf Mountain and Machu Pichu, trekked along the Great Wall of China and inside a South African volcano, and all just for the buzz! Andy also expressed his art through photography, taking studies of the local area, particularly land marks like Newcastle's Bridges and The Angel of The North. His liking of such landmarks I believe relate to his furniture, as they often have strong form and bold designs in their finishes.

    From 2016 Andy started to be adventurous with furniture instead, giving old stuff a personality with the help of chalk paint effects, materials and stunning wallpapers, {a process called "Decoupage"}. Returning to skills fron his very first jobs in the wood yard and baizeing snooker tables, Andy is a "100% commitment man'' taking pride in doing a top quality job. Every item is as individual as 'AndyMan himself.

    'AndyMan UpCycling developing into a company

    AndyMan UpCycling ethically sources second-hand furniture from Gumtree/Charity Shops, aiming to keep projects affordable. Each item is individual, although you can ask for something like another. You can buy finished pieces, or bring me your own furniture and commission your own bespoke dramatic 'AndyMan UpCycling makeover.

    'AndyMan started with chairs, but was often seeing sales of good quality, all purpose but dull, no personality, brown shelving which inspired a new skill and finish. I covered them in great wallpaper. I self - taught the centuries old skill called Decoupage. Having worked on flat surfaces of shelves and cabinets, I fairly quickly moved to curved surfaces, I can now cover complex shapes, such as mannequin bodies and heads. Every piece is unique, even if I had 2 identical tables I like to decorate them differently, make each special.

    Other items, 'AndyMan has turned bicycle wheels into circular clothes rails, golf clubs into coat hooks or boot stands, bottles into lamps, musical instruments into art, vinyl record into clocks......

    After doing lots of North East markets for a year and many commissions for regulars, it's time to let the quality of my work speak for itself, to a larger audience.

    Welcome to the website for;- 'AndyMan UpCycling.

    Thanks to Paul, my big brother for starting me off and Lynne's little brother, Robin, for add ons.

    Thanks to you, my customers, and to all of you for taking a look.

    Photography credits- all photos by Andy Buddin except a few of us together by our friends Mica Mota, photography student and Lee Harnett.

    Watch Below

    A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away...

    AndyMan's work is Great......

    But don't take our word for it! Here's what previous customers said;-

    "Very talented gentleman".

    "stunning work".

    "Impressed with the work".

    " Looks amazing".

    "Just bought the most amazing Sugar Skull stool"

    "Definately be buying more".

    "Fabulous Craftsmanship".

    For full reviews, customer feedback and recommendations, see below.

    Reviews 1

    • Marjie Brooks
    • 24th November 2019

    Andy, My sideboard and size table are both fantastic and are truly a work of art. Your skill is outstanding as the finish is perfect. I would recommend anyone and everyone to look to upcycle their furnture via you. your truly amazing. Thank you so much.

    Thanks Marjie

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    Reviews 2

    • Victoria Joule Scarisbrick

    • 7  January 2019

    What do you buy a 15 year old obsessed with sport and his Xbox - one of the AndyMan UpCycling heads of course! It's a fab product (at a great price) and we had ours customised with his favourite Marvel characters. When he opened up his present he said - "Now, that's cool!" - the only downside is that it's a bit more tricky to wrap than your average present but worth it as these Heads are one of a kind. The customer service and experience were brilliant too, Andy checked in with us to make sure the design was going in the right direction at a couple of stages as it was specifically made to order. If you are stuck for something a bit different for a teenager or man cave then I think you can't go wrong with one of these striking Head Stands

     Here's our "Cool" Head Stand from AndyMan UpCycling

    Reviews 3

    • Samantha Kate Corkin
    • 28 May at 22:24 

    I first met this lovely couple 2 days before my wedding when I happened to be walking out of Wilkinson’s in seaham and Alice and wonderland picture frame caught my eye. I bought the picture frame and we got talking to them be showed some awesome Alice and wonderland chairs. I had already decided I needed them even if I didn’t have a place for them in our home. I went home to my partner and showed him them his reply was we don’t need anymore chairs just leave them.

    Without his acceptance of the chairs I bought them, knowing he’d come round eventually. So after contacting the couple late on that night I paid a deposit to secure them until after the wedding. They then delivered them to my door where I paid the rest, and then my partner fell in love with them too.

    I’d highly recommend this lovely couple as their work is amazing and they’re so lovely, helpful and understanding. The quality of their work is superb too.

    Thank you again for my awesome Alice in wonderland chairs, Alice in wonderland picture frame and my lucky horseshoe for the wedding.

    Reviews 4

    • Tasha Hall
    • 7 June at 08:46 

    I saw some refurbished chairs andy had done and thought they were brilliant so I ordered a chair when collecting and seeing the finished product i could not ov been happier I absolutely love it I would rocomed Andy to anyone Andy and Lynne are not only extremely talented in what he dose but he is a beautiful soul and lovley person if I could rate it 10 star I would they also do a fantastic range of cushions pictures in frames pocket watches which I have also purchased and am extremely happy with x

    Commissions-customer feedback

    I absolutely love them! Thank you so much. And as usual, they exceeded my expectations ❤ my friends loved them too when they came over last night. Thanks again x

    They are fantastic! You're amazing what you can do. I love them ❤


    I had set of very tired, water marked tables that were destined for the skip. I came across Andy's page and two weeks later they were turned into works of art! From start to finish Andy couldn't have been more helpful, and his craftsmanship is superb! I will definitely be commissioning more pieces in the future and cannot recommend him highly enough.

    10 minutes with 'AndyMan

    10 minutes with Andy Buddin, the interview. 2020

    If you have scrolled all the way down here you deserve the lowdown.

    Owner - Andy Buddin 
    Business - Andyman Upcycling
    Description - Unique upcycled furniture and home accessories, designer decor without the designer price tag. 

    What inspired you to start your business?

    Simply, I wanted to be happy at work! I'd turned 50 and started getting creative with furniture, decorating it in wallpaper and experimenting with different paint techniques. My friends said they thought it was good enough to sell, so I took redundancy to give being self-employed a try.

    Do you still feel the same way?

    I'm definitely happier now, we work longer and harder, but when its what you want to do it doesn't feel like work. Last Christmas we decided we wouldn't work, but by lunchtime, both of us looked at one another to see if it was alright to finish a project we were working on!

    How well did you manage your initial start-up?

    We had practical help from Tedco and financial help in the form of the redundancy. But be warned it will always cost more and take longer to set up than you expect.

    What do you think is essential for success?

    Positive thinking!

    What marketing tools do you use?

    We use Facebook mainly, Facebook market place, Instagram, Gumtree and #hashtags and good old fashioned customer word of mouth of course! As customer reviews and recommendations are priceless to an independent business like ours.

    If you could do it all over again, what would you change?

    We only wish we had done this years ago.

    What's the best bit about being your own boss?

    The best bit is being able to try new things without asking, and the worse bit about being your own boss is definitely the paperwork!

    What's next for your business?

    Our leading shop is in Jacky Whites Market, but we have extended the number of outlets who stock out stuff to include Dazzled Emporium, 6 Station Terrace in East Boldon, NE36 0LJ. We managed to update our website during Lockdown, and we are now looking for a bit more room for dressing tables, benches and chest of drawers that are ready to sell. We also have a range of vintage stock which has never seen the light of day, so watch this space!

    Recently we have joined up with Events2gogo Makers & Bakers fairs in the Bridges shopping centre, Sunderland as there are still plenty of people who don't know about our unit in Jacky White's.

    What quick piece of advice would you offer to someone starting out?

    Talk to people. Ask their opinion on your products, especially if they are not selling. Many times our customers have suggested something that works better or is more useful.

    N.B. Our unit in Jacky White's Market Sunderland closed 31/12/23