April 9

011: Refinishing & Flipping Furniture with A Young Pro (Interview with Carolynn Wicks)

By AJ Hakimi (The Flipping Ninja)

011: Refinishing & Flipping Furniture with A Young Pro (Interview with Carolynn Wicks)


Furniture refinishing & flipping is HOT. It’s PROFITABLE. It’s FUN. And it’s LUCRATIVE.

Have you ever wanted to get into furniture refinishing and reselling?

Are you someone who is handy and loves to refinish, sand, paint, and turn trash into treasure?

In this podcast I interview Carolynn Wicks, who has a talent for refinishing furniture, plus some valuable insight for you to take in.


“I’m not really good at refinishing furniture, I’ve only done it a few times. But the very few times I’ve done it — OH MY GOD it’s RIDICULOUS how much money you can make as a buyer and reseller… as a flipper who refinishes furniture.”

“I bought a little side table once for… I think it was $10 or $15 once at a thrift store. All I did — I literally just took it home — and I didn’t even “refinish” it — all I did was I put it in my garage, I cleaned it with a wet rag, let it dry, and all I did was literally just spray paint it black. I bought some spray paint bottles for a few bucks and spray painted it black. Then I took some pictures and posted it up for sale. That little table sold for $150. I was like oh my god! This is such an awesome, lucrative and profitable niche!”

Want me to answer your questions about flipping, side hustles, marketing, entrepreneurship, personal development, motivation, mindset, lifestyle — or anything else?

Have your question featured on a future show!

Send your questions in to AJ[at]TheFlippingNinja.com

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Full Transcript: 


Introduction:              00:01              Do you want more control over your life– more freedom, more Confidence? Do you want to set your own rules and steer your own ship? Are you sick and tired of the nine to five grind that’s eating away at you and robbing you of all your time barely getting by? How about a new way? A new side hustle, a side income you can use now to do things like pay off debt, buy a new car, and wipe away credit card bills and student loans. Remodel your home, take exotic vacations, fancier dates, and buy your friends a round of drinks. Send a nice gift to your family. How about an emergency fund or even a down payment for a house and so much more? Welcome to the ‘Flipping Ninja podcast’ where we teach you how to take charge of your life and make your own money flipping things on your spare time. Sound complicated, we’ll cover it all from what to buy, where to look, marketing and selling tactics that create demand and bring you top dollar research, pricing, creating ads that sell like crazy and even powerful principles on the inner game of success. So if the idea of being your own boss is exciting, you’re in the right place. Now here’s your host, the world’s leading authority on flipping AJ from the flipping ninja.com unplugged and unleashed.

AJ:                              01:12              Hey guys, welcome to today’s show. This is AJ the ‘Flipping Ninja.’ Just wanted to give you a quick intro on what today’s show is going to be about. So this is, this is an interview I’m interviewing one of my friends, Carolyn, she actually has experience in refinishing furniture and selling it for a profit. So it’s going to be a very informative podcasts for you. So if you’re someone who has been thinking about refinishing furniture and selling it or you know, just want to know about it. I know I’ve done it a couple of times myself and it’s been super profitable. I mean, I’m not a huge fan of refinishing furniture. I’m not like really skilled or anything either. I’m actually really bad at it. So a lot of times if I am refinishing, like a little table or a dresser or something, I’m just constantly there in my garage just googling every little thing and watching YouTube videos. So I’m not really good at refinishing furniture I have done it and the very few times I have done it, oh my God. It’s ridiculous how much money you can make a as a buyer and re-seller and as a flipper who refinishes furniture. I mean, you know, a lot of times, I mean, there was this one, uh, a long side table I bought once, right? It was just like a console table so it was like a long, narrow little table that I bought I think it was like 10 or $15 at a thrift store.

AJ:                              02:42              All I did, I literally just took it home and I didn’t even refinish it. I mean, it was a solid wood table. I didn’t even refinish it. All I did was I put it in my garage. I just cleaned it with a wet rag, you know, let it dry and I just spray painted it. I literally just spray painted this, table that I bought, I spray painted it black, the whole thing. I just bought some spray paint bottles, which it’s super fun to do. I mean, I’m not a huge fan of refinishing furniture but love spray painting stuff, right and super fun just a spray painting furniture and it’s easy and it’s like makes a huge difference right away; it’s not like a ton of work. So all I did was I literally just spray painted this table black and then I posted it up for sale. You know, I took pictures; I posted up for sale, that little table sold for $150. I was shocked I was like, oh my God. So, you know, refinishing furniture can be an extremely profitable and lucrative niche if that’s something you’re into or if that’s something you want to get into. So this interview, I’m interviewing Carolyn, that’s what she does. So she was nice enough to come on and give us some of her insights on some of the things that she does. So the beginning of the audio was kind of weird. We thought it was recording, but it wasn’t. But yeah, like I said, it’s going to start and you know, take notes if you have to. Leave a comment; let me know what you think. Leave a question and yeah, so here it goes.

AJ:                              04:12              Okay. I think it’s recording our call. So

Carolyn:                     04:17              I’ll be talking about refinishing furniture, So hunting for furniture on craigslist and deciding if it’s worth purchasing and then if you get it, if you want to improve it, what you do.

AJ:                              04:29              Okay, have you refinish…what kinds of things have you like refinished in the pass? Or like bought, fixed up and resold. Have you like resold anything?

Carolyn:                     04:41              Yeah, absolutely. So I actually got a table for free and it was an Ikea table just one of their classic like wood ones. It had white table legs, a one pull out drawer and then it had a wood top made of pine. But they put this like wax substance on it and it was kind of damaged from water. It just didn’t look good, which is why they’re giving it away. But I completely flipped the table by sanding the entire thing down to the woodgrain again. I stained it, this beautiful color. I painted the legs and I got new handles (the drawer pulls) and I ended up selling it I think I sold it for $175.

AJ:                              05:25              And you got, you got it for free, you said?

Carolyn:                     05:28              Yeah, I got it for free.

AJ:                              05:30              Okay, yeah see that’s the thing I don’t like, I’m not a huge fan of refinishing , re-sanding, repainting all that stuff just cause I don’t really know how to do it, but not just that cause I feel like it takes forever. Is that right? Like how long did it take you to do that?

Carolyn:                     05:44              Well, that’s the thing it can take a long time. So you have to be willing to invest in it and actually the reason that I got the table is because originally I wanted it for myself. So I was willing to put in the time. So if someone’s going to go out and like look in furniture to try and refinish and flip, they’re really putting an investment into a piece of furniture and they have to have the right materials. Because for instance, I have a power sander and I have the right tools to like strip the wood and strip the wax and everything costs money. So if you think you’re going to take over this table with a little bit of sandpaper in your hand, you’re going to give up. It’s not going to work, so when you decide to flip a piece of furniture, really do your research and make sure that you’re like prepared to work on it by having the right tools and time.

AJ:                              06:38              Okay, well my, like the thing is my time is like really valuable to me. So I’m very watchful. And the thing is when you’re the thrifting business, like when you were in the flipping business, buying things from reselling them. You have to actually treat it like a business and not just like a side hobby. So when you’re treating this thing as a business, you’re tracking everything, profits, losses, expenses, and even your time. So do you feel like the time investment for buying furniture pieces and like refinishing is worth the profits? Like how big are the profit margins versus like the time you put into it. Do you know what I mean? Give me a sense of like, like give me an example. Like give me just some examples straight forward.

Carolyn:                     07:19              Yeah, sure. So okay, I actually first of all I agree with you. I think from the flipper standpoint, you shouldn’t refinish your furniture. Really look for items that are just like ready to get out the door, have minimal damage to them so that they can be an easy sell. I think the only reason that you should actually refinish a piece of furniture is if A, you want it for yourself. B, you work in the refinishing business, or C, you bought a piece of furniture thinking that it was good to go and then you realize that you can’t sell it because, okay, something is wrong with that.

AJ:                              07:51              Oh, so you’re… put in a situation where you’re kind of forced to refinish it in order for it to sell.

Carolyn:                     07:59              Absolutely, yup and yeah, so that’s what I’m thinking. Cause like for instance, I just recently got this vanity and again, it was an item that I wanted for myself and once I got it I was like, hey, turns out I don’t want it. So I’d pick up the vanity for $50 and it looked good but with the stool itself was made of like carbon board and it wasn’t very secure. So if larger person sat on the stool they probably would have broken it. So, I reinforced it, by just like a couple of two by four pieces and then some screws and my power drill. And when I did that, it made it way sturdier and then also helps the sell because when the family came to pick it up and I flipped it for $75 so I only meet a caucus profit $25 on that sale. Not a ton, but I didn’t have a lot invested in it, the family did pick up the stool and look to see if it was reinforced. So that’s just an incentive like where… when it counts to just make a …what I consider a quick fix paid off in the long run.

AJ:                              09:05              Okay. Well you recommend like something like refinishing? See I feel like something like buying furniture, refinishing it and reselling it is like might be a favorable thing to do for like, I don’t know like stay at home moms. There’s even stay at home dads, I mean shit, if they know how to do it and they have a lot of time on their hands, I think it, it might be and their time is not really a huge issue because you know, like if they’re home all day anyway, it might be a decent thing to look at. Would you agree with that?

Carolyn:                     09:43              Absolutely, because honestly it’s fun and it’s kind of a creative outlet where you can see this piece of furniture and you’re like, I can turn that into something way better than what it currently is.

AJ:                              09:54              Yeah, i think it would be cool for like the creative mind who is passionate about that to just like do it and if somebody is like super content and happy refinishing furniture and completely like expressing their like design side through that, I mean that’s, that’s fricking awesome, you know?

Carolyn:                     10:13              Yeah, absolutely. I hundred percent agree it’s not going to be for everyone and it does take a lot of time but for those people who have always wanted to try, start small, that’s all I can say is start small because then you get a realistic idea of what it takes and don’t make a huge investment on your first refinishing project because if you don’t follow it through you’re just going to be stuck with a half-finished piece of furniture. So, yes start small, be realistic and give it a try if you have the time and the passion, try it.

AJ:                              10:46              Yeah, and I think if you do have the, the knowledge, expertise, skills and the time to do it, it can be a, you can, there is potential in it to turn it into a full time gig because if we break it down time wise and profits wise let’s say you buy a, I don’t know, give me an example of a piece of furniture that’d be great for refinishing

Carolyn:                     11:11              A dresser.

AJ:                              11:12              Okay, let’s say you buy a beat up dresser, I mean this thing is beat up. But you do see potential in it, you see a lot of potential. So let’s say you have your typical nine to five type job you have an eight hour day. Let’s say you make a $150 net that you take home at the end of your eight hours. Okay, let’s say you go the refinishing furniture route and flipping it. So you buy that dresser and you have it and then eight hours you can completely turn that into that vision that you had or completely have it refinished, ready to go, ready to just sell. It did take you eight hours, though to re-sand it, add hardware or whatever, whatever it is. It took you about eight hours and you sold it and you made 200 bucks on it. At that point I think it, it’s a pretty good… It sounds like a pretty good setup for someone who loves doing it, right?

Carolyn:                     12:17              Oh yeah, absolutely because you can make a big profit. Like for instance, on the table that I did that sold for, I got it for free and I made like $100 off of that. And then I have this dresser that I completely redid, I was obsessed with it. I worked so hard on it I think I sanded for I think like six hours straight and I’m not even joking but that thing turned out so good. I got it for $50 and I could probably flip it for 300.

AJ:                              12:48              You know what? And I just, that just reminded me… so here’s the thing, a lot of people think that it takes money to make money. And that’s not true at all because you can invest other things besides money to make money. For example, your time and energy, you’ve got unlimited energy. You don’t have, you may not have unlimited money, but you have unlimited energy and you can invest your energy and time. So let’s say you don’t have much money to invest starting out when you want to get into flipping things, but you’ve got a lot of energy. You can still invest your energy and monetize it. Going back to the refinishing things, if you brought home, if you go on the free section of Craig’s list and get like a dresser, a bookshelf, and like a wooden chair, just all for free, you invested $0 into that, but now you’re going to be investing energy and time into refinishing it. Well, you might be investing you know, a couple of bucks for materials, but the process… at that point, you’re investing your energy and time and making …you’re monetizing it. So it’s not always true that it takes money to make money. It takes energy, it takes time. Those are two things you can also invest in order to make money.

Carolyn:                     14:16              And that’s so beautiful like literally just in my ear is because starting out like I am a really creative person and I, I don’t feel like I have a ton of money to pour in to some of the larger Craig’s list purchases. So that was the way that I could get free stuff and do something that I liked and then flip it for actually a substantial profit. And when you do that, sometimes you never even know like what’s going to come out of the woodwork. Because my table that I sold, I posted the picture and someone actually contacted me and said, did you refinish that yourself? And I said, I did and then he asked me email and said, I will pay you to refinish my furniture.

AJ:                              14:56              Oh Wow. Yeah. That’s, see, that’s awesome and that’s the cool part about, you know, putting yourself out there or buying and selling things or you know, flipping things you opportunities just come to you that way. I mean, that’s crazy. I never even knew. I don’t think you told me that. Did you?

Carolyn:                     15:13              I don’t know. That was a while ago, I thought I did. And we had a guy like literally he was like come and refinish my furniture; I’ll pay you like good money. But I was working like eight plus hours a day I was super busy and I decided I just didn’t have the time to donate for like the amount of money that he wanted to pay. But I was like that’s cool because someone likes what I did and it just goes to show that business opportunities can come from that.

AJ:                              15:40              They pay off. Yeah and the crazy part is, so that guy sounds like somebody who doesn’t have time but does have money. You sound like someone who has time and maybe not all the money you want towards the investing in flipping things. But that’s awesome because at that point you can, you know, like I’m all about, I’m all about like finding creative ways of monetizing things. Just overall creative, like creativity so if you want it to, let’s say, let’s say I was the guy who didn’t know how to refinish things like and I don’t cause like I suck at that stuff. I don’t know anything about it. It takes forever I don’t have the design eye, I don’t have the creative eye at all, nor do I want to spend the time one learning and to actually doing it. So in a case like that, I would have the money to spend and invest in it.

AJ:                              16:44              If I wanted to start a refinishing business, I would find someone like you who has the time and energy, [crosstalk 00:16:54] I would pay, I would pay you for it. Let’s say I got a free piece of furniture. Let’s say I got like some awesome like quality, like a solid bookshelf that’s made of wood that has potential let’s say I got it for 10 bucks and let’s say I paid you 100 bucks to refinish it and you’re like, totally okay with that. Yeah. You’re like, yeah, I love doing this. I would totally do that I’ll only take me four hours to do this. So my total investment at that point is $110 a hundred dollars to pay you to refinish it and $10 to buy it and let’s say once, let’s say the finished product is this bad ass bookshelf that’s like completely out of this world and unique, I can potentially post that for $200 to $300 and it would sell and you got paid I got paid, I got a profit and the customer is happy with this bad ass bookshelf that they got. So everyone walks home happy.

Carolyn:                     18:02              Yeah.

AJ:                              18:03              And, yeah, so I mean my mind just automatically goes to creative like situations like that.

Carolyn:                     18:11              Yeah, and I love it cause that’s how it should be. Like if you know someone, like you’re good at getting free stuff but you really don’t know what you’re doing and you’re like, oh crap, I need to fix this up. You can, you can totally collab with somebody and like start with your budget and say, I’ll pay you $20 if you can like just make this like stay together And they’ll be like, okay and they just grabbed their nails and a hammer and get to it. And the next thing you know, you’re flipping it for 70 and you both made profit

AJ:                              18:37              The, it all comes down to how much you value, how much of your time is worth and that’s what you have to figure it out for yourself, you know?

Carolyn:                     18:45              Yeah, absolutely. Truer words have never been spoken.

AJ:                              18:52              Well, yeah refinishing stuff. What else is there? I can’t really think of anything else–anything else important? I mean…

Carolyn:                     18:58              Well there’s a time that like when it comes down to what you’re looking at, so like let’s say you’re looking at a chair and you want to reupholster it. I would say unless you’re great at sewing stay away from any reupholster projects because they are incredibly expensive. If you want

AJ:                              19:16              For fabric and stuff?

Carolyn:                     19:16              For the fabric Oh yeah. Like if you, if you get this, like you’re like the chair looks awesome and you’re like, oh, but the, it’s like got this ratty old fabric on it and I’m going to rip that off and like fix it and you think, oh, I’m just going to take it to a reupholsterer they charge like 400 to $600

AJ:                              19:35              Well here, here’s the thing about that. I totally agree with you until so do you remember that Nathan Anthony Couch? I got,

Carolyn:                     19:44              Yeah,

AJ:                              19:44              So there’s, there’s a couch that I got, it’s a designer brand really high end luxury couch by Nathan Anthony. They make like $4,000+ couches and then they’re used couches are at the $1,500 range. So I picked up this Nathan Anthony Couch for $45 at a thrift store. Obviously it wasn’t in perfect condition. It could have used like a cleaning, it could use … I think one part of the little pillows on the seams was torn

Carolyn:                     20:17              Yeah the seam was torn

AJ:                              20:20              But you could easily sew that parts point is, and there’s a, couple like scuffs on the back of the leather, but that wasn’t a giant deal. It was a good enough deal, it was in good enough condition where like if you bought it you would be guaranteed to make a profit either way, whether it’s like medium or big. But anyway, so I think for example, like on a couch like that, like a high end, you know, $4,000 quality couch, it might be worth it to, you know, get it re, did because for example, the buyer actually sold for $225, but the buyer, the woman was looking for… that was exactly the kind of couch she was looking for, but she was even thinking of like getting new, covers made for it and all that stuff.

Carolyn:                     21:17              Yeah.

AJ:                              21:17              Basically [crosstalk 00:21:18] And I think that wouldn’t be a bad idea. That would be a good investment because you still have the same couch or you just invested some money into making it like fresh and new again.

Carolyn:                     21:32              Yeah and that’s what counts is like, it just needs a spruce up, so like I guess, so with fabric just be thoughtful because you’re totally right about that couch. I mean, you’re so right like that’s such a good investment. But like getting a single chair that you got for like $20 and then you’re going to spend like $200 to reupholster it, that’s not a good investment.

AJ:                              21:58              Right, right. And also back to the… as far as refinishing items go, if you, if you buy something that’s in okay shape, that could definitely increase the value by refinishing it. You don’t have to refinish it. If you bought it at a lower price, you can sell it at a price minus the cost of refinishing it. Like for example, you know what I mean? Like if I bought a bookshelf for 20 bucks, let’s go back to that bookshelf was it a bookshelf?

Carolyn:                     22:30              Yeah.

AJ:                              22:31              So that bookshelf for 10 bucks, I paid you a hundred to refinish it, it is now worth 300 let’s say I didn’t pay you that 100 to refinish it and I sold it as is. I could probably sell it for 60 bucks as it is, depending on the condition, you know, the range between $10 the difference between $10 and $60 is not big enough to like make a huge difference to someone. So like you could sell or I could sell it as is just because I wouldn’t want to deal with refinishing it for 60 bucks and you still made a $50 profit just from acquiring the item and flipping it.

Carolyn:                     23:16              Yeah, same thing for instance, do you remember outside of your house when I pulled up and I was like, we need that and they’re was like this dresser that they were throwing out and so you went like a hulk, lifted that into my jeep for me. So I took it home and I was like, I’m going to make this the dopiest dresser ever. I was like, this is going to be a kitchen island. I was going to like attach [casters to the bottom of it and it was perfect, but as it sat in the garage I was just like, okay, no, I’m just going to sell it because I’m not, I don’t have the time to invest in this. And I literally posted on craigslist and I said, I was planning on refinishing this and I said it was either going to be a dresser or a kitchen island and I got like three text messages right away and this woman was like, I want this, I’m going to actually refinish it. It’s going to turn into this like popcorn stand in our basement. So, just the fact that you like suggested that it doesn’t have to be just what you think it is and people were crawling all over to buy that and I got it for free and I think I sold it for like 65

AJ:                              24:22              Wow, and yeah back to the, you know, if we’re talking an hourly rate or how much you’re making for your time, you basically put in probably 45 seconds of having your car parked while I put it in the back of the truck. And then just, you know, spending maybe like 10 minutes taking pics on your phone and then just posting it up for sale and then boom. How much, how much did it sell for again?

Carolyn:                     24:47              I think they sell it for 70 yeah,

AJ:                              24:49              I mean 70 bucks just like that. So the deals are everywhere I mean, whatever it is, especially like furniture pieces. And that’s a good reminder I completely… cause in the book, I keep talking about investing in a truck, but for, I don’t know why I completely forgot about the possibility of having a fricking like SUV, you know what I mean? I’m like, if you have a SUV there’s still a lot of potential. Yeah, like a ton more- I totally forgot about that. I’ll have to add that in there, but yeah, you know that… so that baby changing table that I got, yeah. Um, I bought it for, do you remember how much I got it for?

Carolyn:                     25:38              No, I don’t.

AJ:                              25:40              Ah, I think, oh, okay. It was, it was $45, so, so I got, that was the day I got the two red living room chairs and the baby changing table. The table was 45 bucks and the two living rooms chairs where a 70. So I posted the baby changing table,well, first of all, I thought it was fricking dresser. So this whole time

Carolyn:                     26:04              i know

AJ:                              26:06              Look at this cool white dresser and I guess it can be like a…, it can be whatever you want it.

Carolyn:                     26:11              Yeah, it kind of was

AJ:                              26:11              If I wanted that to be my closet, I can make it my closet. But yeah, so it was, it was fricking like three things. It was a white dresser slash TV stand slash baby changing table. But the fact that it was a baby changing table is super important because at that point you’re opening up a complete new market out there. You’ve got all these moms and like pregnant people like having babies left and right and they’re constantly looking for these things, you know? And today people don’t want to spend… I actually googled it and those goals, those for some reason like baby changing tables are super expensive. Like I think I saw some for like 600 bucks. But anyway, so this, this girl texted me when she emails me and she’s like, I want to take, you know, I to, I posted it for 190 and she offered one 150 and I said, yeah, I would sell it to you for 150 and she, she couldn’t make it.

AJ:                              27:23              She wanted it so bad. She actually sent her parents, she called her parents and her parents, like her old parents came and take it up and they were telling me, they were like, yeah, she’s been there. Like, yeah, this goal like hotcakes. There like there’s another one they’re interested in for I think 200 and it sold right away because she was having a baby soon and she was looking for a table. But, yeah so at that point it’s important to recognize what the product actually is too, like if I never knew it was a baby changing table and put that, those keywords in the ad, they would have, that market would probably never come across it because they’re probably searching on craigslist baby changing table and they’re looking for like good deals and stuff. But like, yeah, it’s, it’s crazy and those two red living room chairs actually like you’re mentioning about the other chick who was like super excited about your drive, your dresser thing, what was the thing we picked up was that it was at a dresser. It was like a little island.

Carolyn:                     28:30              It kind of was, it looked like a dress… I had three drawers and then it had this like side piece that was like shelves.

AJ:                              28:37              Oh, okay. Got you

Carolyn:                     28:39              I still don’t know what it was

AJ:                              28:40              Yeah, so the thing is this lady who sold the two chairs I got well first of all like I’m glad I took pictures of them at the thrift store so that I could have them included. But I also like took awesome pictures of them, like staged in my living room and then they had to, I had you write that killer description that was like out of this world, which we’re going to have a sec. There’s a section on that too, but I think we should maybe have another call on descriptions and writing cause you’re really good at coming up with descriptions with as far as like the furniture side and like different wood and stuff like that. But

Carolyn:                     29:27              No, you’re right though because you’re so good when it comes down to your technical elements, but you know what you’re talking about and you do so good at describing like what something is and like what it … I have this like soft spot for furniture and wood. So no,

AJ:                              29:44              Well was just like, I think it has to do with the fact that like your vocabulary and your communication skills and your writing, like the way you described some of these pieces, like Holy Shit, you can turn like a regular red wooden table into this like masterpiece table. It’s like a story, like something that you just like, it immediately gets people emotionally involved. And that’s a huge part of writing your ads as, make them emotionally driven. Use descriptive words that really make the item sell, you know, sell the item.

Carolyn:                     30:19              Make yourself want to buy it.

AJ:                              30:23              Yeah, so the, the red chairs, what happened was does this woman and every now and then you get people who contact you, who they don’t even mention price. They just come and pay you full price right on the spot. Those are always cool because they don’t try to negotiate. They just, they want the item. They don’t like haggling or anything. But anyway, so the two chairs, she, she’s like, she really wanted to check them out because you wanted them for her living room and she actually brought one of the pillows from her living room because she wanted to make sure it matched. But as soon as she walked her inside, she oh my God, she was so excited about these chairs. She just kept going on and on. She was like, oh my God, they’re perfect. They’re going to match my couch and they’re going to there per… Like she wouldn’t stop talking about them .It’s weird because she took the chairs, she was super happy about them, but like I posted it for $220 and she gave me a $220 and then she’s like, hold on, let me go in my car she gave me an extra $5, so I’m like, okay.

Carolyn:                     31:31              Oh my God

AJ:                              31:32              Yeah, she was like in love with these chairs and yeah, I think, I think it’s an awesome thing. There’s nothing wrong with buying low at thrift stores or on Craig’s list and reselling basically being a middle man and reselling to people because look how happy she was. She wouldn’t care, she wouldn’t like, and she wouldn’t care if she knew that I got them for 70 bucks. She wanted the chairs; she’s going to pay the price any way. She, so it’s like you’re kind of connecting people with, and who knows, maybe she’s never been into a thrift store and her whole life, but here you just completely hooked her up with these awesome chairs in her living room now that she’s like super happy with,

Carolyn:                     32:14              Yeah, I love that story because it’s just like, it’s so it’s all right. Well, first of all, I didn’t know that she like kicked you an extra five. That’s amazing. But like, yeah, she could have cared less. Like when people, when someone comes in they like so excited, it’s huge because like that’s what happened with the family that came to pick up my vanity. It was a teen girl who was buying it and she’s like, it’s perfect. Like she was so stoked and her grandpa was, were there and he’s like, are you sure? And she’s like, absolutely. Okay.

AJ:                              32:46              I have a question for you. Go ahead. You can finish that then I have like a huge question.

Carolyn:                     32:49              Well no, I was just going to say that they paid full price and she was like so happy and she was just like, it just is a good feeling to sell to someone like that.

AJ:                              32:59              Yeah. And it’s, it’s more than just making profits on, but it feels good, you know, helping people. You know I sold the couch to a girl who got her first apartment and she was super happy with it. You know, first apartment, that’s like … you’re always going to remember your first apartment.

Carolyn:                     33:19              Yeah, it’s a big deal, it’s big Deal.

AJ:                              33:22              The fact that you were there to help, you know you were a part of that you like helped him up or whatever it is. But I was going to ask you, so like I feel like because of you I have, I have the, I like the eye of the tiger when it comes to furniture. So like before if I walked into like a thrift store and saw like just some random old piece of furniture, I wouldn’t even, I probably wouldn’t even look at it first of all. And second of all I’d be like, okay, nobody’s going to buy it that. But now after like seeing how you look at furniture pieces and chairs and couches and all these like random, like I swear it, whenever you see something that I think is completely ugly and retarded and you’d be like, that’s the best thing ever. I’m like then you get it. And I’m like, okay, whatever. You take it home and it’s it, it’s like the best thing in the world. It looks so awesome. So how do you like, I feel like over time I’ve finally developed that ability, like honestly I would say because of you that like you’re responsible for that white baby changing table and those red living room chairs, I got the confidence to like buy those on the spot because of like your insight and knowledge in the furniture world and all that. So like what kind of tips would you give people to develop that, that ability to see whether something is hot or not? I guess like the whole creative side or like the designer side. Is that something you just have or don’t have or can you develop it?

Carolyn:                     35:05              Well, I think you can develop it because for instance look at you like I know that you texted me when you were going to buy those things and I was like, yes, get those. So like you develop it on your own, but it is something that you’re like, you just have it or you can cultivate it, so like look at something, do you like it, how it’s built? Like do you like it’s lines, like is it something that maybe you would buy for your own house and, and when you start there, like that’s a good base. To just be like, do I like that or do I think it’s ugly as sin?

AJ:                              35:43              You know one thing I have noticed was, I feel like when you’re in a, if you’re in a giant thrift store with like a bunch of random furniture, old like old random furniture, I feel like if you live in a regular, like normal, regular, modern apartment or place, if you take one ugly or old piece of furniture, well I call it ugly cause I think they’re ugly. I’m sure they’re like not ugly to people. But I feel like I’ve learned through you if you take one of those pieces and just randomly placed them somewhere in your place, I think because it’s surrounded by everything else, it immediately stands out in a good way.

Carolyn:                     36:25              Oh yeah, absolutely. You can mix and match cause like so you’re okay… for instance, like my home is decorated, really comfortable and I have like this deep leather couch and then I have this like white television stand. Then off to the side I have this like older oak table and the oak cable isn’t really, it’s not like the most eye catching thing you’ve ever seen, but because it’s an older piece amongst all of these like more modern neutral comfortable pieces, it just kind of like fits in and you don’t get overwhelmed one way or another with one style. Because some people will like get a whole bunch of one kind of item. Like for instance, mid-century modern furniture, you can walk into someone’s house and you’ll be like, whoa, did I just like go back in time to the 50s

AJ:                              37:15              Okay first can you stop for a sec. What is mid set? What is it? Mid,

Carolyn:                     37:19              Mid-century modern.

AJ:                              37:20              Modern century modern. What is that? Because I’ve used those exact terms and one of my ads for a shelf I have, I really don’t know what that means. So what does that mean?

Carolyn:                     37:32              Mid Century modern is a type of furniture, It’s not as a type of furniture it’s this style of furniture that was popular in the forties to 50? Probably the forties and fifties. What it is the very clean lines and a lot of the table legs like we’re skinny pegs. Obviously if you want to learn more about it, all you have to do is literally type in mid-century modern in Google and it’ll bring up all this furniture, [cross-talk 00:38:05] so kind of think about like…

AJ:                              38:07              Okay, do you know that that a TV stand I have in my living room? That is, I have that posted up for sale right now and it says mid-century modern TV stand. Now do you, do you remember the legs on that thing?

Carolyn:                     38:21              Okay, the one in your living room? The dark one?

AJ:                              38:25              Yeah, the black one. The legs are like [inaudible 00:38:27] and just pointy like pieces of like steel

Carolyn:                     38:32              That’s mid-century modern.

AJ:                              38:33              Okay and then do you remember that leather l shaped couch I had with the same legs? Would that be considered that too?

Carolyn:                     38:41              I, think that would be considered more modern furniture. Cause the legs weren’t like little pegs. They were kind of more like square and solid.

AJ:                              38:49              Got you. Okay, so back to what you were saying.

Carolyn:                     38:53              Well I’m just going to say so like if you walk into someone’s house and it’s all one style of furniture, sometimes they can get a little bit overwhelming. But I’m like you can, yeah you can mix that pieces. And so like I guess we’ll get into this when we get more towards like description of items, but when you get something sometimes like a furniture piece, it’s good to research. Like see if you can find who made it. Like that’s stamped onto it somewhere in research like what they specialize in. Cause you can actually use that in your favor and put that in your description.

AJ:                              39:27              Right, for sure. Yeah. We go over that in the book basically about getting the specifics immediately finding out the brand, the make model if there is a model, stuff like that. Also, even when you’re out and about, if you find something before you buy it, then you want to see maybe how much the value is. You want to find like the name brand and just do a Google search on it or you don’t like what I did was I found that Nathan Anthony couch, I saw, I just googled Nathan Anthony couch and I saw a ton of them for thousands of dollars. And then what I did was I typed in Nathan Anthony Couch craigslist because at that point you can get an idea of what maybe other people all over the, uh, the nation is selling it for on craigslist. And it was really hot and still it was still really high. So that way you know right away that this is a high end piece that you can make a profit on and buy it and resell it.

Carolyn:                     40:24              Yeah, absolutely. And I like, I kind of feel like I could talk about this stuff all day. Like that’s how much I like it.

AJ:                              40:31              Yeah and, I was going to say one more thing and that is a, yeah, I think, I think, the fact that I got like a lot of insight and experience from you about the furniture side of things has first of all made me a ton more money overall because back, so like the whole filling your pipeline thing. If you’re just in one specific niche, like Yamaha keyboards for example, if you don’t expand and just exploit other markets, you’re limiting your… You’re putting a ceiling on the money you could make. So it feels good to get familiar with other categories of items, you know, furniture, couches, electronics, instrument, musical instruments, whatever it is. Because now I feel like specifically with furniture and stuff, like I could walk in to thrift stores and I, I almost never walk out of a thrift store without making money. Like without finding a deal on a furniture piece because every, almost every furniture piece you develop this ability to see, you have a vision for like, well thrift stores in general or wherever you go. Like, whether you’re browsing on a craigslist, whenever, you see something, you don’t just see the item, you see a little dollar amount over the item and right away you can decide. You’re like, okay, that’s how much I can probably make on that piece and then you can, you know.

Carolyn:                     41:51              Yeah, well and it’s so important you could like, if you think about my history with Craig’s list, like you encouraged me like you’re the person who got me started because I got to watch you do what you do and it you’re so good at it. Like you seriously, it has the secret to it. But like you get this gigantic area rug. And so that was my first sale and I made tons of money on that, which was amazing. And then after that I did like the GPS or I did the garment, which again you told me to buy it cause right. I wanted to stay in my little niche, which is furniture. You were like get it. It’s like $6. I was scared to spend $6 on a garment.

AJ:                              42:30              Yeah, you’ve got to have some balls. So you got to, you got to bloody take risks to make money.

Carolyn:                     42:37              Well I here’s the thing like, I guess that’s the thing. It totally paid off because even though it scared me, like I now feel like I can sell anything that I can, doesn’t have to be furniture

AJ:                              42:48              Don’t spend the $600 on something and try it. You know like you said like $6 isn’t going to kill you. I mean even if you lose $6. So what?

Carolyn:                     42:56              Yeah it was $6 and I ended up selling the thing for what? Like %0 this, granted the guy was a little crazy cause sometimes you meet crazy on Craigslist but like he got it and he was so excited and the reason he bought it is because the Garmin, will show you how fast you’re going when you’re driving and he’s like, oh good. My speedometer just broke so this is what I’m going to use.

AJ:                              43:20              Wow. Yeah, that’s, that’s insane. I don’t even remember. I don’t even know that part of it. And that’s the crazy part. You don’t ever underestimate something like trying to post something up for sale because you might, a normal person might think gps, oh these are, and people don’t even use these anymore. Like you know, but then I mean think about that. You would’ve never thought that somebody was going to buy that to use the speedometer.

Carolyn:                     43:46              No, exactly cause that’s the thing I got it and I was like [inaudible 00:43:49], yeah, but here is this guy that was like, this is exactly what I need. Like he was so excited about it, so I was like, oh my God, I can sell anything. And so yeah, you just get a sense of faith in yourself that it’s something you can really do and that it’s worth your time because it ultimately is cash money in your pocket.

AJ:                              44:10              Yeah and it’s perfectly ethical. You know, it’s not unethical either. So

Carolyn:                     44:15              Yeah, it’s business this is what people do to you every day. Like those things that you pick up in the store. They’re not as expensive as what you’re paying for them. That’s store is a middleman from the manufacturer. So they buy it in front of manufacturer and then they up the price and then it comes to you where you pay a larger sum. You’re basically doing the same thing, but you are getting the cash for you.

AJ:                              44:37              Right? Yeah, for sure

Carolyn:                     44:39              Yeah. But I don’t know, I assume I can talk about it all day. So if you have anything you ever want me to talk about, I will chat with you.

AJ:                              44:48              Oh my God, that’s so crazy. So like, you know, so I’m driving right now. I just made it too, but like you know how well he’s talking about like developing the eye where you, once you, once you develop, it’s like a muscle. Once you develop the eye, you almost become like a money magnet and you constantly see deals everywhere and opportunity. So as I’m driving, I’m kind of in the city now and I see all these lights and buildings and there’s a mall over there. There’s only one thing that immediately popped out at me and it’s a Salvation Army thrift store, tiny sign from super far. And I’m like, oh, right away. I was like, I want to check that place out.

Carolyn:                     45:28              I’m not surprised, you would ,you have like a beacon I feel like you’re a soul calls out to the thrift stores and they’re like, come to me

AJ:                              45:37              And here’s the thing when I started, I didn’t have that beacon. But here’s the thing, once you develop and, and get that beacon, you go from making $200 maybe flipping something in a year to making over $20,000 in sales. So it’s a real thing and it’s no joke. I mean it’s a real treat it like a real business and really invest in yourself and go out there and get as many deals as you can. It’s all about volume and quality, I think starting out and just, going through the motions is as much as possible. But

Carolyn:                     46:07              Yeah, it can be like , oh right go ahead.

AJ:                              46:10              Oh, go ahead.

Carolyn:                     46:12              Oh, I was going to say it can be really fun too because weirdly enough to like some of my favorite nicer like times that we’ve hung out at have been literally just going to pick up like different craigslist things. So like you, you can totally do it on your own, like you don’t need a partner. But sometimes it’s fun to have someone come along a for safety, but B, because it ends up just being like a bonding experience and kind of learn from each other and like you just kind of get into it and it’s super cool and really fun.

AJ:                              46:40              Yeah, for sure. I think when, when, when our minds like come together for sure it is super powerful as far as finding deals, finding, you know, it’s funny

Carolyn:                     46:52              I said it’s electric.

AJ:                              46:54              Yeah. You know, you’re, you’re freaking furniture and vision insights that I, I don’t have and you know, stuff like that. So

Carolyn:                     47:03              You have things that I don’t have that I’m like, I literally would get you in a while. Like, I’m so glad you’re writing this book because it’s the stuff that you’ve taught me and that’s why I keep like trying to sneak peek and I’m like send me your audio file.

AJ:                              47:17              Yeah, no it’s going to be done soon. So I’m looking forward to it. But anything else you want to add about furniture, refinishing things, that whole,

Carolyn:                     47:29              Yeah, yeah

AJ:                              47:30              Before we wrap it up.

Carolyn:                     47:31              Yeah. So just, I guess my key of the day I’ll give you that is um, when you are looking at wood furniture and it has drawers there, there are some that, I don’t know how to explain it, but you open up the drawer and if you look at the side of it where the drawer face and the drawer comes together, there should be joints. They should be because they’re called dovetail joints and when a furniture has dovetail joints, it means it’s high quality furniture. So look up and dovetail joints on Google.

AJ:                              48:06              Dovetail joints okay.

Carolyn:                     48:07              Yes on Google and then it’ll show you a picture of what that looks like. And that is a good indication for you as someone who’s looking at furniture. When you open up a dresser to decide if that dresser was well made or if it’s just a POS. That’s my tip.

AJ:                              48:22              Best for dressers and like, like cabinets or desks anything with drawers.

Carolyn:                     48:27              Anything with drawers, so if it was like handmade, or made by good furniture maker, the drawers we’ll be dove tailed because that means that they’ve created a stronger joint because they want that furniture to last. So for instance, if you go to Ikea and you look in an Ikea Dresser that sucker is not going to be dovetail. That was like on a factory line, they are mass producing it they don’t really care all that much about the integrity or like quality of that, furniture piece. Oh yeah. So that’s just a quality thing to know about furniture is that when you see dovetail joints, you’re looking at any well-made piece of furniture.

AJ:                              49:07              Awesome, see. I didn’t even know that. You know, and it’s like certain like weird insights like that where I’m like, okay, I didn’t even know of that world. It’s a whole new world, you know?

Carolyn:                     49:18              Yeah, yeah. I can give you another one is that when you’re looking at a piece of furniture, literally go up to it and don’t just like look at it like get handsy like get real physical with it. Like open the drawers see if they close properly, see if they open well and then we kind of shake it like too to see if it is level cause you don’t want to have to get this piece of furniture and then it doesn’t even sit level because people don’t like that. They want their furniture to be, you know, ready to go. So don’t just do a visual like be like, I’m going to get to know you and then get in there and start touching it and opening things and see if you like how it functions as a, you know, as if it was yours and then that helps a lot too.

AJ:                              50:02              Okay. Yeah, that’s a killer tip.

Carolyn:                     50:04              Yes. I guess I gave you two tips. Now you to have

AJ:                              50:07              Now you need to like write your own book on this. Just on that alone, that whole side of things. There’s so much, like I don’t know. I wonder if they even have a book on like refinishing, like to that detail.

Carolyn:                     50:20              No probably not. I’m sure there’s like a Martha Stewart book on like sand and bake some cookies and then sand again, but like, yeah,

AJ:                              50:31              Well yeah, that’s, that’s it. That’s it. That’s it.

Carolyn:                     50:35              That’s the way to end it right there.

                                    50:42              This has been the flipping Ninja podcast from the crew@ theflippingninja.com we believe that all Americans should be able to make their own money without having to rely on a job. If you are ready to ditch the nine to five, visit the flipping ninja.com and join our flipping Ninja free masterclass where you’ll discover how to earn a little liable side income of 1000 to $5,000 a month flipping things in just five to 10 hours a week. See, we’re on a mission to help 100,000 people or $1,000 a month on the side flipping things, working professionals, students, parents, men, women, artists, techies, entrepreneurs, introverts, totally newbies you name it. Be a part of the revolution and blast out of living pay check to pay check one and for all @ www.theflippingninja.com until next time, remember, you’re just one flip away from freedom. We want to make a difference. If you enjoyed today’s show, please pay it forward and head over to iTunes. Give us a rating and leave a review so others just like you can benefit and take charge of their financial future.



AJ Hakimi (The Flipping Ninja)

Hey there, I'm AJ, also known as 'The Flipping Ninja'. My flipping journey has been transformative, allowing me to buy sleek cars, indulge in exotic vacations, and even purchase my first house at 24, which I turned into a passive income source. With over 3,000+ items flipped and sales surpassing $300k, it's not just about the numbers. It's about the freedom and empowerment flipping brings.

After years of experience, my mission is to share this life-changing skill. I believe flipping is a powerful side hustle for anyone, from college students to working professionals. Ready to transform your life with flipping? Let's embark on this journey together.

Interested in my full journey? Read More about how I became 'The Flipping Ninja'.

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