Owen Simoes, an 11-year-old entrepreneur, is back this month for the second year of his furniture restoration company, SquidFlip.
Owen started the company last year after being inspired by his favorite HGTV show Flea Market Flip, which follows designer Lara Spencer as she restores old pieces of furniture and sells them for profit.
Armed with a bucket of chalk paint and a sander, Owen went to work on flipping some of his own pieces. He rented out a small shop space from his father and named it SquidFlip after his nickname, Squid.
Last year, he says he sold about 40 pieces, but he ended the summer season with some pieces still left over. His store is stocked with brightly-colored desks, chairs and shelves and decorated with vintage-style posters.
“We still have a lot of furniture, so this year we’re starting up again and hopefully we’ll sell a lot more because we’ve gotten a lot more popular since last year,” he said.
Owen is still working on some new pieces for the summer season, though.
His favorite pieces are what he calls “suitcase tables.” He uses a vintage suitcase and adds legs and vintage luggage stickers for decoration.
“A few times, people have asked for suitcase tables and we’ve asked them where they’ve actually been so we can find the stickers for those places,” he said.
Owen is also planning on expanding his business to include his own line of chalk paint, which he calls “Squid Ink.”
“We met a woman at Brimfield who gave us a recipe for chalk paint, which we had been paying a lot of money for before,” said Owen’s mom, Laura.
They’ve now been mixing their own paint, and plan to package and sell the Squid Ink in jars with color names based on bodies of water in New Hampshire.
“We name them after places where a squid might live. One of the colors, which is a sand color, is called Wallis Sands Beach,” he said.
Owen’s business has become somewhat famous in the Concord area. He was interviewed once before by the Concord Monitor, and was featured on WMUR’s Chronicle. All this media attention has already gotten him to his dream of meeting the host of Flea Market Flip.
“She was really nice, a little too smiley like she was on camera, and when I looked up, I saw the boom mic over the two of us! They were recording the whole thing,” he said.
Owen is hopeful that the recording might show up on an episode of Flea Market Flip and help him to get famous. But for now, he just thinks it’s cool that people are inspired by him.
“A lot of people said ‘Wow, this is so interesting, I love what you do, so I made my own piece,’ ” he said. “And it just makes me feel really, really good about myself that I’ve gotten this far in my business that I can meet the people I was inspired by.”
Owen has already accomplished a lot with his business, and he’s only in the fifth-grade. He balances school with shop hours every Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from 4 to 5:30 p.m. and works on pieces during the weekends.
Owen and his parents are planning a grand opening for his second year in business on May 30. From 4 to 6 p.m., the public is invited to stop by his Warren Street shop and enjoy refreshments to celebrate a new season at SquidFlip.