14 July 2010

Building a Biz: Treasure Hunting

I can't lie.  Part of what I love about Lather Creations is the treasure hunting. 

Shopping has always been my little getaway time to wipe away all thoughts of deadlines, laundry, and other things on my mind.  Now that I'm doing it as part of the business, I find it even more fun.  Because the key to finding secondhand furniture that's worth upcycling -  is doing it often!  Because you really only find something good every so often...

I've been asked where I go to find things and what I look for, so I thought I would share that with you.

Value Village - This secondhand mecca has always been my go-to place for cheap furniture.  Plus I buy all my paperbacks here, which means I'm a frequent visitor.  They've stopped carrying furniture at the Ellice location, so I don't go to that one much anymore.  Like everywhere on this list, it's always hit or miss, but I've found many gems and all for under $20.

The Salvation Army - I used to think Value Village was a good deal until I started frequenting the Sally Ann - or as Rosemary of Ro Ro Ro Your Blog calls it 'the S&A Boutique'.  Darn that place is cheap!  I love it and some of the bigger SA's have really big furniture sections.

Goodwill - Is it back that I think the Goodwill is expensive?  I was a little sticker-shocked when I visited after SA.  But the cool thing is, the Goodwill marks down the date they put out the item, with reduced prices for the weeks it stays on the floor.  So if you're patient, you can take a risk and keep your eye on something you like, waiting for the price to drop.  But of course, it could get sold under your nose!  The Goodwill on Princess has a MASSIVE upstairs dedicated to furniture.  I wasn't in the market, but last time I saw the most amazing solid wood, mid-century modern dining set for $130.  Not bad.

Kijiji and UsedWinnipeg.com - These are free online classifieds where the average Joe can list their furniture for sale (amongst many other things).  What I love about these sites is inspecting the photos and going through lots of inventory to see what I like.  What I don't love is that items go really quickly, so if you're not on the ball - they're gone!  Plus, you have to take the time to go look at something and maybe find it's wobbly or poorly made.  On the upside, I've scored some of my most amazing finds on these sites. 

Garage Sales - Personally, I'm not a huge fan of garage-saling, unless it's a big community sale or a multi-family sale.  I find it very time consuming to wander from sale to sale and I find furniture is a really tough item to hit gold on.  But...I'm sure there are many others who would argue with me!

Estate Sales - I haven't ventured into this territory yet, although I'm sure that if you hit on the right place - you could have your socks blown off!  I've heard sometimes the prices can be quite high for what's being sold, so do your research if they offer any pre-sale info like lists of the items, condition and any prices.

Hopefully you're inspired to seek out some great finds of your own.  Do you love to treasure hunt?  If so, what are your favourite places to go?  Anywhere I've missed?


  1. I agree. Our Goodwill down here in the States can be pricey for furniture. Home goods are a bit more affordable. St. Vincent de Paul's is my first choice for thrift stores.

    For inexpensive used furniture to refurbish, I have always had the best luck with either garage sales or Craigslist, another free online classified ads.

  2. I think that finding the pieces would be my favorite part of the business :)

  3. I agree, the hunt for new treasures is my favorite part too. Our goodwill is way too $$!

  4. Hmmm, I find the opposite. Goodwill is cheap here and the VV is crazy expensive. But the Sally Ann is cheapest of them all.


Thanks so much for stopping by, I love reading all your comments! If you have a specific question, please email me at lhume1@mts.net. XO Lenore