Sunderland Business Improvement District
10 MINUTES WITH ANDY BUDDIN (ANDYMAN UPCYCLING)
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?
What marketing tools do you use?
We use Facebook mainly, Facebook market place, Instagram, Gumtree and #hashtags and good old fashioned customer service 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 The Craft Fair Company pop up shop in Chester le Street, and we have some Character bears in the Haunted Heaven in Coxhoe. We managed to update our website www.andymanupcycling.co.uk 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!
Which other 'insunderland' businesses do you admire?
We love "Through the looking glass" - it's one of our post lockdown goals to go as currently we have just been drooling over the food photos they post! We make lots of Alice in Wonderland/Looking glass themed upcycled projects ourselves, so their quirky interior totally appeals to us.
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.