When taking trades for services- it’s imperative that the costs associated with bringing an item “back to life” are considered by me. You see, The Pawning Process when a swap, flip or trade are involved isn’t “short term” its 4-6 weeks and involves acquiring the fabric and, the labor of refurbishing the piece.
I’m well educated on antiques and know the value of a piece as well as the period on sight after spending 15 years of my life as a top salesperson in high end home furnishings also, I worked as a couture clothing model and am familiar with fine fabrics and upholstery. This knowledge serves me well when accepting a “swap” for services because occasionally, I must cover out of pocket expenses until I can sell the refurbished item so, it’s an investment for me.
While it would be lovely to attain a “quick flip” but, when you are in the business of providing “Dream Events” it’s rare for anything of trade to be in sale ready condition.
When contacted by “watchers” on Ebay seeking to purchase my fabrics, the problem is that I do not sell my fabric and even if I did, these consumers would be shocked at costs of 200.00 and up a yard. That’s right, quality upholstery fabric is expensive and average consumers have no concept of the initial investment necessary to attain luxurious hand loomed chenille or tapestry.
You see, I don’t buy these exclusive fabrics I often trade jewelry or furs in order to attain them and because of this, I don’t “give away” something that is very hard and costly to attain in the first place.
Italy produces fine wool while Japan and Thailand product top notch silks. Anything hand loomed commands a much higher cost point and hand loomed chenille and/or tapestry can range up to $1,000.00 a yard. Damask and tapestries are expensive and luxurious, many of my tapestry fabrics are from Dubai or Italy and incur custom fees on top of the original investment of the trade which often includes the exchange of money as well as the trade.
Exclusive fabrics of Texas Twins Treasures will last many years and due to the silk looming, look better and better after years of use due to the sheen and heavy upholstery weight of the fabrics.
Average retail costs to upholster an antique sofa can easily range from $600-$1400 for the labor alone, while a wingback chair can range from $400- $600 using COM (customers own material). A sofa can use up to 20 yards of fabric with a love seat using up to 14. Large accent chairs can use up to 12 yards of fabric and ottomans 2-3 yards.
Large armchairs (wingback or bergeres) take a large amount of fabric to upholster with dining room chairs pricing out at $175-$300 each. Ottomans can go as high as $500-$1,000 if they are tufted or have details like nail head trim.
While I would love to open the doors of my own shop one day and give clients the opportunity to see, feel and sit in my designs- it will take an investment that I cannot currently afford and my sales from Texas Twins Treasures often fund Dream Events through Texas Twins Events as well as The Pawning Planners.
I do not ship furniture for a very good reason- consumers do not or cannot understand the cost of packaging furniture or shipping. These costs combined are often higher than the price of the item- knowledge of shipping and packaging is a recurring issue as many consumers would love to purchase my pieces but cannot due to freight fees that combined with the cost of the item create a financial constraint to the consumer.
I have sold many of my designs to Palm Beach, New York and Los Angeles because my previous clients are aware of the quality and therefore don’t “bat an eye” regarding shipping and careful packaging by a qualified shipping company.
Furniture must be packaged and put on a pallet in order to be picked up at my location in West Fort Worth, Texas and the cost to package an item can easily run into several hundred dollars prior to the cost of the freight itself.
I’ve had several folks ask me to reupholster their existing furniture with no idea of the cost involved with the request. I’m going to explain that I DO NOT reupholster furniture for FREE I sell my designs to fund my businesses, Texas Twins Events/The Pawning Planners and the investment of time and upholstery is a very costly endeavor indeed. You see, I’ve sold my own possessions for years to fund my businesses and taking a trade to provide ceremonies, photos or video and floral designs isn’t free since I have a staff or team that accompany me to events as well.
Publishing this information to my dedicated readers is to give you a clearer understanding of the Pawning Process and I’m hoping that this better explains why I will not sell my prized fabrics or cover the cost of shipping and packaging. I realize that many consumers assume that the buyer makes the rules- this seller knows the value of what I’m selling and therefore have priced my items far lower than any other comparable designs in order to move my items while making a very small profit after my investment of upholstery, labor and the cost of the item prior to refurbishing it.
It should be noted that when I do one day open the doors to Texas Twins Treasures, my costs (like any other business) will go significantly up due to overhead expenses and consumers must understand that “if you haven’t seen it before, it’s expensive” because I do not mass produce anything. Cheap designs, fabrics and construction on home furnishings will have you replacing the item many times because you effectively made a “throw away” furniture purchase in the first place. I take great pride in my collections and they have a personality all their own.
Buying quality is more expensive but it is also an investment in a long term and resilient item such as a refrigerator or high end television. My furniture is sturdy enough to accommodate up to 400 lbs because it is reinforced and stable prior to the staining, stuffing and reupholster process.
My trademark is putting a coordinating upholstery fabric on the seat bottom in order for the buyer to quickly change the look with a flip of the cushion.
Consumers often think cheaper is better, the assumption that big box furniture is equal to well built, quality furniture could not be further from the truth. The reason the savvy consumer will spend more money is based solely on their knowledge of a fine fabric and durable design.
Wendy M Wortham
Designer Texas Twins Treasures