What Happens When a Chair Graduates?

I often get the question, “Is it hard to let go of a chair after you’ve worked on it for so long?” My response is not typically what people expect…No, its not hard to let go. I’m not a hoarder…even though my chair stash in my storage would seem to claim otherwise! I’m the type of person who likes to finish a project and check it off my list. (Don’t get me wrong, I have some pieces that I’m not parting with any time soon. But these are NFS!)
I like to get client’s chairs in the mail and on their way to their new home. Yes, I feel proud of what I do and I love the chairs that I work on, but there’s a time and place to say goodbye.
So, a chair gets stripped, painted, and upholstered—which takes many hours to complete—but what happens to a chair when it graduates my workshop and is ready to go to its new owner? It’s a process, that’s for sure! 
I remember when I put my first set of chairs for sale on Etsy. I had no idea how to ship a chair. I reached out to other sellers on Etsy for advice, but none was offered. So, I knew I was on my own. Within 2 weeks I sold my first chair! I totally overpacked that chair because I was so worried about protecting it. Here it is!
Now I have it down to a science and here’s how it’s done:

  1. First, I have to have a box large enough to fit the chair. Most of these boxes are large wardrobe boxes that can be bought at Uhaul or other packing companies like Ecobox. If the chair is oversized, I have to make a box using several large boxes. It’s usually not a very pretty box, but it gets the job done by protecting the chair during shipment.
  2. Next, I work on wrapping the chair for protection. I wrap the wooden parts of the chair in bubble wrap. I place the chair inside a large plastic bag to protect the fabric. Then, the chair goes inside the box. I add extra padding where necessary to keep the chair from banging around inside the box. I want it to be snug. I make sure the box is cut down to size for the same reasons.
  3. Then, I cut handles into the sides of the box to make it easy to transport. The box is completely taped up at this point.
  4. Finally, I drop it off at the mailing center. It can take between 1-2 weeks to arrive at its final destination. And, in a matter of a few weeks, the chair has a new home.

All this talk of graduating and moving on has another meaning for me, too. My oldest daughter graduated high school this past week. As the graduation ceremony ended, I was surprised at how I felt. I thought I would really lose it, but instead all I felt was a sense of pride for my daughter and her accomplishments. I was truly happy for her to start this new journey or chapter in her life. I’ll probably lose it when I drop her off at college in the fall, but for now, I’m feeling good.


I'm Wendy Conklin, The Chair Stylist.

What brings me joy is helping others live more creatively. I design antique-inspired, boutique chairs, and I teach others how to do what I do. Check out my shop, services, and courses to bring more whimsy into your home and life!

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