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Former academic turns upholstery hobby into a successful business

18 minute read

For most of her working life, Lynda was a highly successful, full-time academic who used her knowledge to educate university students as a lecturer.

After many years in academia, Lynda left the industry to start her family, and once ready to return to work, she chose to take up a career as a tutor, and while it paid the bills, Lynda felt unsatisfied.

Thankfully, she had hobbies that she enjoyed, including a strong interest in furniture restoration.

Lynda loved finding something old and making it new again, specifically when it came to mid-century furniture that she could bring back to life. It wasn’t long before Lynda realised that she was rather gifted at it, so she began giving the furniture to loved ones and selling pieces on Facebook Marketplace.

Lynda thought quietly of starting her own furniture restoration business but was never sure of how to make it happen. That was until Lynda met two very important people.

Stumbling upon an upholstery workshop in Bendigo, Lynda met third generation upholster Paul, who would change the trajectory of Lynda’s career. Seeing his workshop and furniture, Lynda was overwhelmed with admiration, so she begged Paul to teach her the tricks of the trade, to which he agreed.

A fast learner, Lynda picked up the upholstery skills with ease, and was reassured that she would be talented enough to make a living from it. Now, all that was left was figuring out how to make it into a viable business.

Reaching out to Asuria Castlemaine for their Workforce Australia Self-Employment Assistance program, Lynda met with long-time Asuria Business Mentor Ramesh, who helped her enrol in Asuria’s services.

When she started the program, Lynda found her major challenge to be getting her accounting and bookkeeping organised. Admitting that it’s not one of her strengths, Lynda says the program helped her take control of the finance side of things.

“They taught me how to actually bring all the elements of a business together to make it viable, especially around planning  managing the cash flow, that kind of stuff, and marketing. There were so many skills that I learnt from the program.”

Lynda also adds that working with the other Asuria participants was a great advantage of the program.

“There was a lot of cross-collaboration, and when we got into the program, we realised we had lots of commonalities, and we really started to support each other.”

After completing the eight weeks of business training, Lynda was ready to enter the world of self-employment, with Asuria and Business Mentor Ramesh ready to assist her during the businesses first 12 months.

Launching her business, Maggie Moffit Mid-Century Modern, Lynda now sells her furniture online and in Castlemaine, where she has a range of beautiful sofas, armchairs, and dining tables, amongst other pieces of mid-century furniture that she has transformed.

Pouring her heart and soul into the business, Lynda also found love, meeting her partner Ben through the business. Ben, a former builder, now turned Maggie Moffit Mid-Century Modern Furniture Designer, helps Lynda build and design some of their most beautiful creations.

Having operated the business for two years, Maggie Moffit Mid-Century Modern continues to have outstanding success as Lynda finds new clients, eager to have her furniture in their homes.

Grateful for Asuria’s Self-Employment Assistance program, Lynda says her advice for future business owners is to keep an open mind.

“The support has been so reassuring, and it’s really made me feel like there is a community around me. That I don’t have to do it all by myself and that there is always help there if I reach out and ask for it.”

“Absolutely give it a go. You can find so much inspiration from the program and be open to having your ideas developed as you learn more.”

We’re incredibly proud to see the success of Maggie Moffit Mid Century Modern, and we can’t wait to see what’s next for Lynda and her business.

Want to check out Lynda’s amazing Mid-Century restored furniture? Visit the Maggie Moffit Mid Century Modern website here.

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