What is LullCo?

HUMANS WILL NEED, USE, AND BUY FURNITURE UNTIL THE END OF TIME…

The Upholstery market is projected to reach
$21.25 Billion by 2028. (1)

Resale Home Furnishings at $16.9 billion in 2021(2) are expected to grow 29% and reach $22B by 2027. (3)

(1) Vantage Market Research, 2021 | (2) Fast Company, 2021 | (3) Cherish Home Resale Report, 2022

What is LullCo?

HUMANS WILL NEED, USE, AND BUY FURNITURE UNTIL THE END OF TIME…

The Upholstery market is projected to reach
$21.25 Billion by 2028. (1)

Resale Home Furnishings at $16.9 billion in 2021(2) are expected to grow 29% and reach $22B by 2027. (3)

(1) Vantage Market Research, 2021 | (2) Fast Company, 2021 | (3) Cherish Home Resale Report, 2022

What is LullCo?

HUMANS WILL NEED, USE, AND BUY FURNITURE UNTIL THE END OF TIME…

The Upholstery market is projected
to reach $21.25 Billion by 2028. (1)

Resale Home Furnishings at $16.9 billion in 2021(2) are expected to grow 29% and reach $22B by 2027. (3)

(1) Vantage Market Research, 2021 | (2) Fast Company, 2021 | (3) Cherish Home Resale Report, 2022

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THE PROBLEM

HIGH DEMAND FOR UPHOLSTERY SERVICES

The upholstery industry is caught in a paradox: there’s a surge in demand for high-quality, personalized upholstery services but we’re facing a significant shortage of skilled tradespeople to fulfill this need. The result? Overworked artisans and frustrated customers, and a burnt out upholstery industry.

LONG LEAD TIMES ARE KILLING SMALL BUSINESS

Long lead times are pushing small upholstery businesses to the brink. Demand is high but scaling up is not feasible for many due to a lack of skilled labor. Customers, meanwhile, are being forced to wait, which puts small businesses at risk of losing them.

FAST FURNITURE & MASS PRODUCTION ARE NO LONGER SUSTAINABLE

The fast furniture and mass production model is in crisis. Since COVID, supply chain demands and the war over seas has made ordering furniture a nightmare. The practice of mass production is environmentally unsustainable and is producing low-quality, impersonal products that just don’t cut it for customers craving quality and individuality. The rise of custom fabrication, restoration and Upholstery have people asking if they can do better if they just have their projects done locally.

NOT ENOUGH SKILLED TRADES PEOPLE TO MEET CURRENT DEMAND.

The lack of skilled upholsterers is creating a serious bottleneck in the industry. With demand outpacing supply, quality and turnaround times are both suffering. This gap in skilled labor is hindering growth and innovation. Shops aren’t training newcomers because it’s too expensive to train while in production, and other shops don’t like the idea of breeding competition, so the trade just isn’t getting passed down properly.

NOT ENOUGH ACCESS TO EDUCATION OR EMPLOYMENT

 The upholstery industry is in dire need of fresh talent but there’s a glaring lack of accessible education and employment opportunities. With little to no formal upholstery education options out there, new comers aren’t able to properly acquire the necessary skills, exacerbating the labor shortage, and impeding the industry’s sustainability and evolution. 

Upholstery Classroom

THE SOLUTION

ACCESS TO RESOURCES AND INFORMATION

Learning Upholstery is expensive and difficult. By creating open channels for information and resources, we can democratize the upholstery industry. It’s not just about opening the doors; it’s about ensuring those doors are wide enough and affordable enough for everyone to walk through. From educational materials to insider tips, affordability of services, and the availability of materials, I am  committed to creating an upholstery landscape that empowers all of us to better our craft, build thriving businesses, and, most importantly, make upholstery an accessible and inclusive opportunity for everyone.

ACCESS HANDS-ON TRANSITIONAL EDUCATION / TRAINING

There’s a gap in our industry right now – a yawning void between the enthusiastic DIYer and the professional upholsterer. For too long, the pro scene has guarded its gates with an “I paid my dues” mentality, creating an unwelcoming environment for newcomers. This approach only discourages passionate individuals from pursuing their interests and growing their skills.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. I’m advocating for a new kind of upholstery culture – one that embraces and nurtures those eager to learn, regardless of where they’re starting from. I believe in hands-on, transitional education and training that helps enthusiasts level up their skills without judgment or negativity. Let’s shift the narrative, transform passions into rewarding careers, and together, meet the industry’s growing demand.

ACCESS TO SPACE, PROFESSIONAL TOOLS, AND UPHOLSTERY SUPPLIES

The first step in transforming the upholstery industry is breaking down the barriers of entry. But what does that look like? It’s about providing access to workspaces, professional-grade tools, and quality upholstery supplies – no matter where you are or what you have at your disposal.

Maker Works, a community maker space that opens its doors and tool cabinets to anyone with a membership, is one such example. These kinds of spaces aren’t unique to one city; they’re cropping up all over the US, and they’re game-changers for those looking to take learning upholstery seriously. But physical resources are only part of the equation.

Digital spaces also play a crucial role. My private Facebook group offers hands-on support and shares educational materials, all for free. With hundreds of members from over 10 different countries, it’s a testament to the global desire to learn and share in this craft.

You don’t need a fancy workshop to make this happen. It wasn’t just a year ago I started teaching my classes from my own backyard! It’s about being resourceful, creative, and committed to spreading the knowledge. And you better believe I’ll find a way to teach as many people as I possibly can.

SUPPLEMENTAL SUPPORT FROM THE INDUSTRY AND A NETWORK OF OUR PEERS

To thrive, we need a strong support system, and that involves every cog in the industry wheel – from industry leaders and fellow upholsterers, to designers, architects, and both commercial and residential clients.

All these stakeholders have a vested interest in a healthy, sustainable upholstery industry. They crave the services and short lead times that come with a flourishing trade. Therefore, they should be ready and willing to invest in the education of the future generation of skilled laborers who will bring their projects to life.

Expect to pay top dollar for seasoned pros. Want to save money on services? Then put your faith – and your investment – in the hands of passionate newcomers eager to learn and improve. By coming together, offering advice, sharing opportunities, and fostering a sense of community, we can navigate challenges and celebrate successes. This collaborative approach will create a resilient network that propels the industry forward.

Kymm Clark Professional Upholsterer

ABOUT KYMM CLARK

I began my Upholstery journey after being laid off from my full time marketing gig. What started as a hobby pulling furniture out of the trash and restoring it to sell on Facebook, quickly turned into a full time fabrication business. My husband and I became a one stop shop for designers and architects looking for custom metal, wood, and upholstery work. Demand was never the problem, but keeping up with the work, working 12+ hour a day, 7 days a week, became completely unsustainable. With no one to hire to keep up with the work, we had to close our business. In January 2022 I decided to dedicate as much time as I could to training as many people as possible, so that one day, maybe I could entertain the idea fabricating furniture again.

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