Vintage and all things that bring back the old are quite a in fashion at the moment. We’ve seen vintage clothing take centre stage in fashion. There’s a whole set of business ideas that are based on making old products look, feel and work like new products. I’m not sure there’s a collective name for them but for this article let’s call them refurbishing business ideas. All these ideas involve taking items that are used and reconditioning them to work and sometimes match the standards of today. What customers will value in the various items will differ but there is a market for these things.

Upholstery and Antique furniture reconditioning

They don’t make furniture like they used to. I think anyone old enough to have bought furniture twice will agree. The bright side of this is that anyone with upholstery skills can find a very lucrative business idea. Taking old or antique sofas and giving them a modern look and feel is good business. You can also find a lucrative market in returning old furniture to its former glory. Some old furniture that people keep has sentimental value while some of it speaks for a whole generation or era in our lives. You can bring joy to people who would rather revel in how good the good old days were. You could also buy antiques and refurbish them for resale. The opportunities here are plenty. Remember this furniture is usually valued for how it looks so your job is to make it look like it’s new.

Tech refurbishing

This is the one that gets me really excited. Technology is moving fast, let’s face it. It’s crazy if you think about it. A product launched in 2018 is on the brink of obsolescence in 2021. Perhaps the brink of obsolescence is an exaggeration but people are certainly moving on from their things quicker with the average life for holding on to technology items being somewhere under two years. As they say, one person’s trash is another person’s treasure. There’s a whole business or perhaps industry based on taking such products and changing a few items in them to bring them up to standard and sell them on. You will see a lot of this in the laptop game but it can be applied to so much more.


Appliances make up a very big part of our lives. It’s funny when I think about just how far we have come when it comes to appliances and their impact on our lives. I remember when my parent’s house was built in the 80s the kitchen had two plug points and somehow that was enough. A toaster and a kettle and that was it. With time that had to change to 8 plug points to make sense. All this to say appliances make up a big part of how we experience life. Unfortunately, they don’t always last that long. If you’ve seen some of the prices being charged for antique looking appliances imagine the value of antique appliances that work! You might have to work around some things to make them work and be compatible with modern workings. Remember those classic stereo systems? Imagine one with Bluetooth functionality. There’s a lot of places where refurbishing appliances can work.


Similar to the idea of refurbishing appliances is the trend of upgrading or upcycling things. It has found its way into many industries and applications. The idea is simple, much like the tech refurbishing idea you take things from days gone by and upgrade or upcycle them to work in today’s environment. We’ve already mentioned technology items and appliances in this regard we can also look at clothing. Sure you can see vintage clothing as it is but there is a case for making a few touches that can bring it up to today’s trends and expectations. Something as simple as changing the buttons or lining on a coat. Opportunities exist for this sort of upcycling in many things.

The business ideas here are lucrative but they are very much niche businesses. Niches tend to work well when combined with another existing business and they are based on taking advantage of existing capacity and capability. Your refurbishing business idea niche will really depend on what skills and experience you possess.