Student upcycles art business with UIU education


Freshman art major Morgan LaRue has a very clear goal: she will pay for the college education she needs to strengthen her business skills with the revenue she earns from her business. In a venn diagram sort of way, LaRue weaves together the unique education of both aspects of her life.

While still in high school, the Ionia, Iowa, native started her business, Revivals by Morgan, by purchasing furniture pieces at auctions, and giving them a new look. She soon joined the “Waverly For Sale” Facebook page where her work caught the eye of Renewed Purpose owner Ann Seggerman. Renewed Purpose is a downtown Waverly business that specializes in reselling upcycled household items including furniture. Seggerman soon asked LaRue to refinish pieces for her, and a cooperative relationship was formed.

75937_726091300756873_259825454_nUsing the former milkhouse on her family’s acreage, LaRue transforms as many as six projects at a time. Her work includes refinishing and reupholstering, as well as using her imagination to turn traditional pieces into creative works of art while maintaining their function in a typical household. Her favorite style to work with is the 1940s and 1950s waterfall style. “I love working on those pieces because the wood strips well and holds color so that it is vibrant,” she said. “I also love to see the end result of a waterfall piece. When you update it, it looks really neat.”

LaRue has revitalized everything from buffets, end tables, desks, dressers, mirrored vanities and dining room sets. To build her business, she spends most weekends and breaks from school in her shop or on the road picking up pieces of furniture that people sell or give to her to upcycle and resell.

1920114_726091244090212_346025338_nLaRue’s goal for obtaining her Upper Iowa University degree is to gain the knowledge necessary to grow and maintain a successful business. “Eventually I want to own my own storefront and sell my pieces,” she said. “My professors and advisor have worked with me to provide me with the foundation I need to not only capture the beauty of art, but also learn the business end by recommending financial courses to take.”

LaRue’s items are available for sale at Renewed Purpose and also through her Facebook page Revivals by Morgan at


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