Are you an avid thrifter looking to flip your finds for some extra cash but aren’t sure how to get started? I spoke with TikTok famous Clinton Avery Tharp, who went viral for giving his secondhand finds a simple facelift and selling them for a profit. Let’s take a look at how this musician transitioned from performing gigs live to sharing hilariously educational videos of bringing forgotten vintage furniture back to life.
Oklahoma native, Clinton Tharp, was a full-time musician before COVID-19 shut everything down. He found himself in need of a new creative outlet and a way to supplement his income. Flipping furniture on the side was always a hobby of his, but he was curious to see if anyone cared to learn how he transformed pieces online. Clinton created a few TikToks doing his thing, and they didn’t take off. Feeling a bit insecure, he took the videos down and tried again. He eventually caught the attention of the TikTok world with a video where he shared how he merely removed the skirt off an old sofa to reveal its legs, transforming the piece entirely.
Clinton doesn’t exactly “flip” all of his furniture but rather enhances their beauty and restores them to their original glory. That is my kind of flipping. What you’ll love most about Clinton is how he teaches you how to transform your own pieces and sell them in your area. He walks you through staging the item, listing and selling the item, and how to be a good buyer. Here are some of the best tips he shared with me:
1. Start with what you know
“Start with three pieces,” Clinton suggests. Think about the look you want to cultivate in your own home. He recommends finding a style you’re already interested in and know about. You’re more likely to finish a project for a piece you love than a style or piece you’re not really excited about. If you find yourself invested in the process and enjoying your work, keep it going.
This is perfect advice for someone like me who likes to think they're an upcycler but, more often than not, leaves projects incomplete—only to sell the unfinished piece on Facebook Marketplace for the same price I paid for it.
2. Use Google Lens
Google Lens is an incredible tool Clinton uses to help determine if he’s paying a fair amount for an item. It uses image recognition technology to return search results of similar objects. Those search results are great nuggets of information that will help you decide how much to pay for a find.
If you don’t have the Google app on your phone, download it now. Depending on your device, you’ll find the camera icon in or near the search bar. Tap that, take your picture, and wait for the search results to appear. I took a picture of a vintage Pyrex Butterfly Gold gravy boat and found the exact item in the first results, which told me how much it's currently listed for on eBay.
3. Be a good buyer
No, I’m not here to tell you to be a nice person, although that’s never bad advice. Clinton shared some sound advice when buying online. He suggests to message the seller right away, and in your initial message, be sure to say you’re ready to pay now. Offer to Venmo or PayPal before you meet them in hopes that they will accept your offer and secure your find. Tell them you’re ready to take it off their hands that day. The market is competitive in his area and this tip alone has helped him score several items at a great price.
4. Shop estate sales
You know I can’t write this without mentioning the obvious, right? Clinton is in the business of turning a profit, so he’s always looking for deals. He browses the Facebook Marketplace constantly, frequents thrift stores, and shops estate sales often.
He prefers to shop estate sales on the last day in hopes of finding the deepest discounts. In most cases, the home must be cleared by the end of the last sale day, so many companies are ready to bargain and have great markdowns on all or most of the items.
5. Staging is everything
If you’ve watched a few of Clinton’s TikToks, you know that staging can either make or break a seller. He once bought an IKEA console listed for $25 on the Facebook Marketplace, cleaned it up, staged it, and sold it for $150!
Placing plants around the item is a great place to start, and lighting is key. Free your background of clutter and make the item look as beautiful as possible. Pull things from around your house to help stage the photo and show buyers how the item could look in their home. Provide contrast and a pop of color to make the photo more interesting. This will lead to a faster sale with a higher profit every single time.
6. Be descriptive
Cut down the number of questions from potential buyers by providing a detailed description of your flipped item. Provide measurements, color, quality, notes about imperfections, and pictures from several different angles. This creates “visual trust” with buyers, says Clinton, and leads to a faster sale.
As for flipping the actual items, Clinton's TikTok and Instagram are filled with inspiration, tips, and tricks. Find him at @clintonaverytharp on each platform to learn more about how you can enhance furniture's natural beauty and flip it for a profit, and to be thoroughly entertained.
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