The ability to be creative also is a motivator.
“You can’t just run out to Pottery Barn or Target and pick something up like this,” Steve said, pointing to an antique armchair he repurposed.
The couple sands, paints, stains, upholsters or simply repairs furniture all in a creative fashion. Andrea said they often find inspiration on Pinterest, and sometimes their two young daughters help. Andrea said her daughters are good at picking out fabric and that they have fun as a family working together on projects.
The Kohlmans see each piece of furniture as a chance to directly help feed Haitian children. They have a goal to help with the $1,000-plus monthly budget shortfall the Owens face, and so far have been able to send more than $1,000 to Waves of Mercy.
When they first started Repurposed Soul, Steve said he felt anxious about
not selling enough of the furniture, resulting in more hungry children. But he has seen now firsthand how responsive people are to the affordable and unique furniture.
He said the key is moving pieces quickly, to avoid overcrowding their three-bedroom home and to keep a cash flow to Waves of Mercy.
“The point is to get it and sell it so babies can be fed,” Andrea said, noting that they pay for all of the repurposing costs out of their pockets and do all of the labor themselves.
“But, you know, it’s my release,” Steve added. “I can’t sit still, I’ve got to be doing something. We get tired because it does have a physical element to it, but it’s fun to take something that someone would consider trash – to take it and make it new. There is so much symbolism in what we do.”
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