MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCSC) - The 1977 song, “Take This Job And Shove It,” by Johnny Paycheck, was the country music singer’s only number one hit.
Angie Balderson, owner of Haven's Furniture, didn't quite feel that way about her job, but she was ready to be her own boss. So she decided to turn her passion for furniture, into a paycheck.
"I prefer revolution, most of our stuff here is revolution," Balderson said.
To keep customers coming through the door of her furniture stores, she knows she has to keep up with trends.
"You can draw a sharpie on revolution and get it off. It’s stain resistant and sun resistant."
Haven’s Furniture is located in Mount Pleasant, and Balderson opened a second, bigger location in January.
The name of the businesses reflects two of the things she loves most: furniture and family. Haven's Furniture, which started out as Consign Haven, is named for her daughter. Haven was 12 years old when she opened the first location.
"It’s grown really, really fast. We actually won 2018, we won best consignment store and best furniture store in Mount Pleasant," Balderson said.
Before she opened her furniture business, this single mom sold ads for a local radio group, and she was also in pharmaceutical sales, and real estate.
"Basically I was making money for everyone else, and I decided that I was just gonna take a leap of faith and make the money for myself," Balderson said.
She grew up in High Point, NC, which is known as the furniture capital of the world. The city hosts a semi-annual furniture market, which attracts buyers and exhibitors from around the world, and several furniture manufacturers are located there.
"I would say I was hanging wall paper when I was 7 or 8, and it just started progressing from there. Just putting stuff together and making old stuff new, it just really excited me," Balderson said.
She did her homework, and learned that consignment was the easiest and least expensive way to get into the furniture business. Then she got on the phone and called furniture stores in other states, to get the pros and cons of the business.
"So I was still working for radio sales and I was able to buy the furniture and start refinishing it and basically I bought myself a storage unit, and started stacking furniture in there until I got enough to where I could actually open up a store,” Balderson said.
It was tough at first. She was a one-woman operation.
"It was me in this little store working. I closed one day a week, so I could have the day to breathe, a day to take my daughter to the doctor or what not," Balderson said.
She refinished old pieces of furniture, giving them new life.
"And this is one. It’s an old shutter and this is the trim from a house and this is the hinge from the shutter," Balderson said.
She didn’t have a lot of inventory to work with at first
“This building was super empty, with furniture kind of piled in the middle and I just spread it out. So then just getting another piece and another piece and another piece and then consigners would bring their pieces in. I’d refinish those and then I started bringing in new stuff, and it’s kind of snowballed from there,” Balderson said.
In just a little more than two years, she owns two stores, has eight employees, and life has never been better.
She offers some advice for others considering becoming their own boss.
"It was very scary, that’s why it took me so long to do it. And I was like, I’m not getting any younger. You know at a certain point, I feel like you just have to make yourself do it, or you’re just never gonna do it," Balderson said.
She hopes her story will inspire other women, to take a chance and build their own business.
As for financing her furniture business, Balderson used personal savings, but says she had a backup source for funding if needed. But since she got into the business by way of consignment, there was little overhead initially, and she used the money she made from refinishing pieces to help pay expenses.