Creative Profile: The Refab Lab
You've all seen HGTV's Flea Market Flip when they take normal or outdated pieces and turn them into something modern and amazing ? Well imagine there was a woman right here in your backyard that could do the same thing for all your hand-me-downs and unique or old pieces.
Meet Shanna Labrador - creator and owner of ReFab Lab. The minute you meet her and see the pieces she makes you will immediately be inspired to shop thrift stores and flea markets to find pieces with potential that Shanna can turn into something amazing.
After winning a Raleigh Home Show award for Best Display Shanna is really focusing on growing her business and hopefully opening a brick and mortar in the upcoming years.
What inspired you to create your small business?
When I first started flipping furniture I was simply trying to make what I already had look nicer to save the expense of buying new. Later it became a creative outlet, and it has slowly evolved into a business. Turning a passion into a business is not easy, but I love what I do, and I love having the flexibility to be with my children when they need me.
Give us a personal bio in 140 characters or less.
I'm originally from Jamestown, NY but grew up in Florida. My husband and I moved to Wake Forest with our 3 children in 2014.
What inspires your work?
I am inspired by everything around me! When I am refinishing furniture for a family that inherited pieces that have been in their family for generations, the inspiration comes from that history and the desire to keep it alive. When I am creating pieces on my own, for a show or to sell, I have more creative freedom and whatever is happening at the time or whatever materials I have found will set the tone for the finished product. The fun part is the challenge of the sometimes random pieces.
How has living in NC inspired your work?
NC is such a mix of the new and the old, and there are these amazing abandoned houses peppered throughout all the new construction. In Wake Forest, specifically, there is so much history. The idea of repurposing pieces from a past life and incorporating them into the modern home makes decorating interesting and much more personal.
Shanna in her personal workshop in her garage.
How did you come up with the name for your business?
Its a play on my last name and what I love to do!
What's your favorite piece in your collection & why?
Its funny, because I haven't even begun work on it, but I can see it finished in my mind already! I inherited the piano that I grew up playing and I am excited to give it a much-needed makeover and teach my kids to play on it.
After receiving a new project, Shanna works diligently on completion in her workshop. For this project she is restoring a family heirloom rocker for a new nursery.
What do you like to do when you're not working?
I'm a mommy to 3 little ones and wife to a police officer so when I'm not working I'm usually engaged in my family. I dabble in songwriting spontaneously.
How do you try to stand out from the similar designers?
Honestly, I just do what I love and follow my inspiration wherever it takes me. I think when you are being honest with yourself about your strengths and weaknesses and just doing what you enjoy doing, standing out just happens naturally.
What's something interesting about yourself people may not know.
I have a degree in Music Production Technology, studied briefly at Berklee School of Music, and spent a good part of my younger years gigging around.
If you weren't in this business what would you be doing?
Writing songs, possibly performing them.
What advice do you have for young entrepreneurs?
Write everything down, get involved in local networking groups, be open to constructive criticism. Don't be afraid to reach out to others if you need to learn something new, or need help with something. One of the best decisions I've made was to seek the advice of legal, financial, and marketing professionals. This allows you to really focus on your passion and not get lost in the paperwork.
If you're interested in the ReFab Lab or any of their products, custom orders, or a consultation please contact Shanna via her website.