Trash to Cash: 3 Business Opportunities for Entrepreneurs in 'Fix It' Culture

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Cyan Zhong
Cyan Zhong


Ever thrown out a broken coffee maker?

fix it culture and entrepreneurs

You're not alone. Coffee makers are the most represented product that needs TLC. 

repair cafe data

Source: RepairMonitor

Next time, just hit up a Repair Cafe and get your caffeine fix while your machine gets fixed. 

Community repair sites like Repair Cafes are in demand as consumers turn to fixing their old stuff, from vacuum cleaners and lamps to clothing and phones. In 2023, 55% of British adults chose to repair an item rather than replacing it. For Australians, it’s 79%

Online communities for handy folks are thriving as well: r/fixit, where Redditors exchange tips on fixing just about anything, has ~300k subscribers.  

Why We’re Bullish on Fix-It Culture

🎢 In this economy: With high inflation and financial uncertainty, any cost-cutting measure is a good measure. Repairing electronics and appliances instead of replacing them can save an average family ~$400 per year – that’s $49.6B saved per year in the US. 

♻️ Greener minds: Gen Zs are stewards of a circular economy, and they’re fixing stuff to lower carbon footprints and reduce waste. (Globally, e-waste alone amounts to 53.6m metric tons per year.) 

📜 On the agenda: Local governments are using Right to Repair laws to enforce sustainable manufacturing and product fixability. Even big tech is playing ball.

How You Can Capitalize On It

We see three threads that business builders can follow to cash in on the trend: 

Repair as an experience 

Fixing things satisfies not only our survival needs (cost saving), but also a deeper one: to feel good about ourselves. So tap into this emotional layer and rebrand repairing as a meaningful experience. A few ideas to start:

  • Mindfulness repair: Arts and crafts can be healing. Why not repair work? Rent a space and teach people to fix their household items while cleansing their minds (think: the Japanese art of kintsugi). They’ll go home with a usable item and a healthy self esteem boost. 
  • Kid-friendly repair kits: The children's subscription box business can mint billions. “Kids tool set” gets 80k+ monthly searches on Amazon. Hey, learning real-world skills with their hands might be just what the digital-native generation needs. 
  • Niche repair studios: Define your repair niche, like fashion (“sewing classes near me” gets 35k+ monthly searches on Ahrefs). You can create an interactive experience where customers can choose from a variety of fabrics, colors, and designs to give their repaired items a unique touch.

Online repair concierge:

Not everyone likes to go to a physical repair shop. So an online repair concierge with top-notch customer service might just make it big. 

You can price it by tier so members pay for different bundles of hours and resources. They get help fixing stuff via video consultations and detailed walkthroughs. Again, it might be helpful to niche down and focus on bike repairs, electronics, etc.

Add another revenue stream by unbundling YouTube, and curating a search-friendly database of vetted video tutorials. 

After all, everyone and their grandpas is looking up how to fix something online.

do different generations look up how to fix things online?

Source: USAWire

SaaS for repair shops

Many repair shops still operate with manual processes, making them ideal customers to serve with easy-to-use software.

Finnish startup Fixably, a SaaS that focuses on repair management, raised $10m this year. 

Since the repair business is hyperlocal, you can walk into repair stores in your area and ask about their operational pain points. Then, build a software that zeroes in on a specific issue, such as tracking spare parts, scheduling appointments, or managing reviews. 

💬 Our two cents: Repairs are not just for thrifters. Nowadays, it’s for the eco-friendly, the handy, the curious, and everyone in between. So get on it!

Want more business ideas and data-driven research like this to help you identify and build a better business? Check out our research page and sign up for our weekly Trends Newsletter.

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