Laurel Hansen recently interviewed me for Arc's Value Village Blog -
“Be Grateful for Everything”.
That is what Cari Cucksey, repurposing guru and star of HGTV’s “Cash & Cari”, says drives her passion for reuse. Cari is a true entrepreneur wearing many hats: TV personality, business owner, repurposing artist, and soon to be author. We caught up with Cari recently to talk repurposing.
VV: Cari, how did repurposing come into your life?
CC: It’s been my thing since I was a little girl. I was exposed to repurposing at a young age, spending time with my Grandpa, who went shopping “along the side of the road”! It’s in my blood. I was 12 years old, collecting & selling coins. I couldn’t believe the value!
VV: What’s it like being a “Treasure Hunter” and professional repurposer?
CC: I’m juggling many things & making it work. Taking lots of vitamins! I’ve been doing estate sales for 12 years, and we have one location for our Repurpose Shop in Westland Michigan. We’re constantly “repurposing ourselves”!
VV: How did you become an HGTV Personality?
CC: We’ve done 3 seasons of HGTV’s Cash & Cari. It fell into my lap. I was working with movie industry people in Detroit, helping prop-masters with big budgets find movie props. Thru these connections, the production company for American Pickers reached out to me while developing a show with a female lead. I filmed for 12 hours, which was edited down to 4 minutes, and HGTV loved it. It was a perfect fit.
VV: What do you see as the top repurposing trends, and how do you repurpose?
CC: Industrial vintage is hot, mid-century is hot, flea market style, even shabby chic is still there. We’ve recently repurposed afghan-covered chairs. I have a vision, I work with a team that includes a carpenter, and even my hubby provides some muscle! Reusable items can be found everywhere. Go drive around on trash day- there’s so much out there!
VV: It sounds like environmentalism is important to you.
CC: We’re a throw-away society, and we need to be conscious about use and utilizing what we have. I love that thrifting is uber-cool! 3 years ago we lost our house to a fire, and we are now doing a “green rebuild”, using architectural salvage, barn wood, solar, a green-roof chicken coop, and as much second-hand as possible.
VV: What’s next for you?
CC: I’m working on a book about repurposing, a manual for treasure hunters. I’m also getting ready to launch an online product to help treasure hunters find exactly what they are looking for. Second hand is a good business to be in.