Prospective clients of The Pawning Planners have no money to book event services. What they do have is a lot of stuff- some of it needs no refurbishing while most of these bartered items do. We can’t always “make a deal.”
When I can’t find any value of an item offered up front- I found a creative to find a way to fund the 8-10% of families by selling Pawning Planners Apparel. When others saw a mountain, I saw a mole hill and kept right on going!
Today we will look at the reasons that items in my storefront have different price points and why I know the value or expense necessary to make an item “marketable.”
I have never been to an Appraisal Appointment yet in three years where the client didn’t think their item was worth more than it actually was so convincing them of the fair market value is never an easy conversation.
But, After meeting these families and hearing their stories of job loss, divorce or poverty– I couldn’t walk away from families who needed our help. Blending Texas Twins Events and Texas Twins Treasures to create The Pawning Planners wasn’t an overnight decision and finding funding took planning too which is why I decided to create Pawning Planners Apparel. My clothing line features RedneckReality Quotes from my twin that are always based on truth and our journey. An example would be #Cindyism “You can’t make gravy outta water!” Still with everything going against me- I managed. It wasn’t cheap to create three businesses and websites or inventory and it isn’t cheap to reupholster furniture. What I do and how I do it takes money! I sold my dream home to start Texas Twins Events to give you a better idea of my committment. Sales of my furniture designs funded my first two years of events because I had to learn the business and I was wiling to work for free to earn my education.
I’ve had a few interesting questions recently and will answer them with examples giving you a better idea of the “Why” and the “How” I choose my inventory and make a profit.
When a client uploads a photo and description of an item and their event services needs I always meet with them to evaluate the item and price their request. Items needing extensive investment of refurbishing must be funky or different for me to “jump on a trade.” I’m specifically looking for unique or ornate wood carved items But consider anything and everything from boats to cars- you name it and I will consider it.I advised the client that this chair in it’s current condition would never fetch $300 because of the condition. If the fabric wasn’t attached to the chair, labor would be far less expensive.
I would need a minimum of two yards of fabric and the cost of an upholstery specialist to do the work for me would easily run $150-175 so (as you can see) the value of $300 is pretty far off the mark.
Reupholstered, this item might bring $300 but the value in its current condition is closer to $75.The cushions being attached to the furniture prevent me from quickly having a cushion replaced. Two yards of fabric and approximately $125 of labor later, the current value of these chairs is closer to $80 each rather than $400 for the set of 2 chairs.
Flattened cushions are a real problem because no one wants to buy a worn out item. The foam is often replaced when I undergo a transformation process too because replacing the fabric with worn out foam would be a waste of time.
Pawning Planners Clients often get emotional regarding a trade and the value but any furniture I trade for must have market value or at the very least-possibility.
My businesses work because I’m a realist and if I can’t find a tradeable item, I sometimes choose to sponsor their event through funding generated by Pawning Planners Apparel or sales from Texas Twins Treasures. I always have a Plan B because nothing in my life has ever come easy.Cindy is looking for quick flips that need no investment in order to sale. My twin sister knows what it costs to create my furniture designs because she’s watched me write the checks and buy the fabric. Flipping furniture requires an investment of time and money.
You also need a place to refurbish the item and somewhere to store the finished product along with your stain, paint or upholstery. I suggest a well ventilated area.The cylinder throw pillows bring a bit of whimsy to this beautiful bench-I rarely include throw pillows due to the expense of having them made to coordinate but this beautiful piece was an investment.
Sold in 2012 for $450 I used it in our entry hall until selling our home. I often use my designs in our home as staging pieces.
Fabric and labor aren’t and never have been cheap or inexpensive. When I started refurbishing furniture in 2009, I quickly learned that cheap fabric doesn’t last and if you are going to do something- do it right the first time by using the finest heavyweight upholstery.
Examples of quick flips involving furniture often have no upholstery.
Finding a beautiful carved piece is like winning the lottery for me at an Appraisal Appointment because it’s such a rare occurence! Most wood items are water damaged and require a lot of work but if it’s in good condition and the value close to accurate, it’s hard for me to contain my excitement!
Although we try to get trades into our suvs, occasionally we have to rent a van or box truck to transport items from a clients house to my workroom. Pulling a trailer always makes me nervous ? but trailers are always cheaper than renting a box truck. Now and then we’ve rented both to make deliveries or pick ups but I’m far more comfortable driving a box truck.
Over the years my twin sister had found a few surprises with “her ever present magnet.” Cindy never leaves home without it and gently taps any jewelry offered for trade. When we are headed to events, Cindy also brings her emergency kit for quick fixes or emergencies. My sister has “saved the day” more times than I can count over the past 6 years by “figuring it out” on location.In between our events and time in my workroom refurbishing trades or meeting clients, Cindy and I are at Planet Fitness on a weight loss journey with our mini me twins aka The Little Pawners.
A lot of our twin friends, clients and family wonder what “made us decide to lose weight together.” The truth is that Cindy and I are photographed so much at events that we sat down and agreed it was time. We never expected the GrandTwins to join us on this journey but they are always with us and found the gym to be fun.
The twins also have worked with us at hundreds of events as ring bearers, ushers and flower girls so joining us on a weight loss journey “fell into place.”
Like everything else in my life, refurbishing trades and selling them “just happened.” Finding a way to fund families with no money who wanted Dream Event we met through Texas Twins Events gave me insight into a market that was virtually “untapped.”
No one direct markets families with little or no money but the need exists so I expanded and rebranded to take trades through The Pawning Planners.
We’ve had a few Hits and Misses along with the usual amount of Barters and Blunders but that’s the “learning curve” of what we do and how it all came together to make everything work.
Rolling into our 7th year of helping hundreds of families, I found a client base of people no one else was willing to help and inadvertently changed the wedding and events industry one barter at a time from Fort Worth, Texas with my family.
From weddings to family reunions, funerals, birthday parties, baptisms and more- we gave our clients an opportunity to have an event they will never forget because we worked hard to earn their business and understand their story.
Maybe that makes us different from other vendors but we never planned on trying to be what we weren’t my vision was focused on the loophole families and while we have a few trade proposals that don’t work for us, we still help these people because we care and we know that by helping them they may one day help a stranger too…
Wendy M Wortham