Inside the furniture-flipping world of viral refurbisher Clinton Avery Tharp.
“Vintage chair. Vintage velvet, with a vintage stain. How are you going to clean that?” So begins another sing-song, humorous and informative video by Clinton Avery Tharp, social media’s self-proclaimed “furniture scientist” who is constantly finding, fixing up and flipping furniture. (The answer for that velvet, by the way, is Windex.)
With enlightening and entertaining posts, Tharp has amassed more than a million followers (979,000 on TikTok and 154,000 on Instagram) and national media attention from BuzzFeed, The New York Times and HGTV producers. These days, you’ll find Tharp and his wife working in their new shop, Main Street Vintage, in Purcell. We recently caught up with him to discuss his delightful videos and rise to fame.
When did you start creating videos and posting to social media?
Okay, so I’m not sure if you’ve heard of COVID-19, but it’s this virus that occurred. I was a heavily gigging musician at the time and relied on that for a lot for my income, but I was also flipping furniture on the side. When COVID hit, I couldn’t play gigs, but I still wanted everybody’s attention — that’s kind of how I felt inside — so I started making some content on TikTok and just having fun with it.
How did you develop a niche in DIY furniture comedy (as you call it)?
The very first video I did in the furniture space was about how to move a dresser by yourself. It’s just like, you know, what you might think: You pull all the drawers out, and you position yourself and the dresser in some way — whatever. I just put a few little funny things in there, and that video got 5,000 views in a day. I was like, “Wow, that’s really cool. I’m gonna keep going this route. So what’s the best trick I know right now?” And the best trick I knew at the time was removing the skirt off a sofa to reveal the modern legs. So I made a video about that, and that exploded overnight. The next day, I had just shy of a million views.
In your videos, you may use a “grabamadoodle” to restyle the furniture and “quabruple” your investment — which calls for a celebratory “Flabooma!” Tell me about your unique choice of words.
A lot of those words, the way they would happen is I’ll start editing the video, and then for the voiceover, I’ll just take a dry run at it, like, “Alright, I’m gonna just watch this video and start talking while I’m watching it to see what comes out.” And, you know, a lot of times your stream of consciousness throws you some curveballs.
Why do you love flipping furniture?
Oh, there’s so many components to that. I love being able to see the fruits of your labor quickly. I don’t think I’d have the patience for house flipping, or the wallet for that. I love being able to take something and make it new or make it look a little bit better, to pull that diamond out of the rough and put it in a new scene so people can see its full potential. And then when it comes to the selling aspect, it’s like playing Texas Hold ’em. You have to gamble. You buy a piece of furniture and think, “I can sell this to make money on it.” So, whenever you do make that money, you get a little rush.
I’m just so super grateful that I even have had the opportunity to let my creativity out and do what I want to do with it — and for it to bring me some success.
You can find Tharp on Instagram and TikTok @clintonaverytharp