Wake Up Hustle

During a recession, many businesses find themselves in choppy waters, but with the right strategies, furniture paint retailers who do commission work can not only survive but thrive. Below are five action steps with examples that can pave the way to success even in tough economic times.

Step 1: Stay Informed and Make Data-Driven Decisions


Regularly monitor economic trends and the furniture industry by following trusted news sources, forums, and social media groups. Use the information to make decisions that align with market demands.


If there’s a trend towards DIY projects because people are cutting down on expenses, consider offering DIY furniture painting kits and tutorials along with your commission work.

Step 2: Diversify Services and Offer Value


Diversify your offerings to cater to different customer needs. Offer bundled services or products at discounted prices.


Bundle a furniture painting commission with a maintenance package that includes touch-ups and minor repairs at a discounted price. This adds value for the customer and ensures ongoing revenue for your business.

Step 3: Refocus Marketing Strategies—Understand and Address Customer Fears


During a recession, your customers’ priorities might shift, often driven by economic uncertainty and fear. Understanding what drives these fears and what they are looking for in times of economic turmoil is key. Adjust your marketing strategies to address these fears and offer solutions that provide comfort and value.

What’s driving customer fears?

  1. Financial Insecurity: Customers might be worried about job stability or dwindling savings, making them reluctant to spend on non-essential items.
  2. Long-term Investments: In uncertain times, customers tend to be wary of investing in items that don’t have long-term value. They fear that what they buy today might not be useful or relevant tomorrow.
  3. Quality Concerns: When budgets are tight, customers are more concerned about the quality and durability of products. They fear making a purchase that doesn’t last or doesn’t meet their expectations.

What do customers look for when scared?

  1. Value for Money: Customers want to make sure that every dollar spent is worth it, especially during a recession. They are more likely to spend on items that offer good value for money.
  2. Long-lasting Solutions: In uncertain times, customers lean towards purchases that will last them for a long time. They look for durability and items that can serve multiple purposes.
  3. Emotional Comfort: When the future is uncertain, people seek emotional comfort. Sometimes, this can come in the form of creating a cosy and pleasant living environment.


Adapt your marketing message to address these concerns. Highlight how investing in a professionally painted piece of furniture is not just an aesthetic choice but also a long-lasting solution that adds value to their home. Use testimonials and provide information on the durability of materials used.

Further, you can emphasise the emotional aspect by illustrating how a rejuvenated piece of furniture can transform the living space into a sanctuary, providing comfort and peace during stressful times. Promote this as an investment in their well-being and quality of life.

By understanding and addressing your customers’ fears and priorities, and adapting your marketing message accordingly, you can build trust and appeal to the values that matter most to them during a recession.

Step 4: Optimise Costs by Leveraging Distributor Sales and Discounts


Keep an eye on sales and discounts from your suppliers and distributors. Purchase materials in bulk during distributor sales to take advantage of discounts. This strategic buying can help you reduce costs significantly.


Regularly check for promotions or discounts from your suppliers. When they have sales, stock up on materials at a lower cost. You can then offer competitive prices to your customers without compromising on quality.

Step 5: Foster Customer Loyalty and Generate Referrals


Building a network of loyal customers is essential for weathering a recession. One effective way to do this is by not only providing exceptional service and value but also by incentivising your current customers to bring in new business through referral programs.

Offering Discount Cards:

Create discount cards that your current customers can give to their friends and family. These cards could offer a percentage off on furniture painting services or a specific dollar amount discount for new customers.

Incentivise Your Current Customers:

To encourage your current customers to actually hand out these discount cards, offer them a reward for every new customer that comes through their referral. This could be in the form of a discount on their next purchase, a small gift, or points that can be accumulated and used for future services.


For instance, let’s say you create a discount card that offers new customers £20 off a furniture painting service. For each friend who uses the card, the referring customer might receive a £10 credit towards their next service. This way, the current customer is motivated to refer more people as they can save money on future services, and the new customer feels they are getting a deal. This creates a win-win situation.

Why this is Effective:

This strategy is effective for several reasons:

  1. Word-of-Mouth Marketing: People are more likely to trust recommendations from friends and family.
  2. Increased Customer Base: By tapping into the networks of your current customers, you can reach a larger audience without a huge marketing spend.
  3. Customer Loyalty: Offering incentives to current customers makes them feel valued, which increases their loyalty to your business.

By implementing a referral program with discount cards and incentives, you’re leveraging your current customer base to bring in new business, while simultaneously rewarding and retaining your existing customers. This can be an effective strategy for maintaining revenue streams during a recession.


Navigating through a recession as a furniture paint retailer and commissioned artist requires adaptability, customer-centric approaches, and smart financial management. By staying informed, diversifying your offerings, refocusing marketing, optimising costs, and building strong relationships with customers, your business can not only weather the storm but set sail towards future success.


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