3 Week Photo Project

Dreams Upholstery

Dreams Upholstery is a family owned business located in Ozone Park, Queens, New York. Over the course of three weeks, I learned a little bit more about what it meant to work in Upholstery and documented their daily work lives. With every passing day there was more to be learned about both the craft and what made this family’s bond strong.

The Pandemic On Furniture Retail

“Upholsters never die, they always recover,” is a phrase better known to the few that make it their life-long goal to work in an industry that appreciates high-end quality furniture. Retail stores like Bob’s Furniture and Raymor and Flanagan dominate the world of consumer furniture retail from bedroom sets to pull-out couches, but the commodity of those items have changed since the start of the pandemic. A series of material shortages over the course of the pandemic have led to most shoppers waiting months for their orders.

Diving Into Dreams

For Dreams Upholstery, a family owned shop in Ozone Park, NY, their business is much less reliant on how to get the products and more about the unique individual services found at an original upholstery shop. Fabian Bueno is the owner and founder of Dreams Upholstery. He spends most of his days throughout the week in the shop from 9a.m. until 8p.m. As a business owner, he’s much more hands on because of his craft and his ability to do every task needed from sowing and cutting fabric to building and breaking down furniture. 

But the most important part of his business is treating his workplace like a second home and his co-workers like family. Sicilia, Fabian’s wife, shares just as much stake in the business as her husband. She works in the back office, communicating with designers and other customers while balancing the money and distributing the paycheck. All the while, her other important job is taking care of her 3-year-old daughter, who Sicilia had adopted when her daughter was a newborn. In the past summer months, Dream Upholstery completed furniture for terminals in LaGuardia Airport’s Delta Terminal, through a connection they made in the past, and continued to place as much effort in making their designer’s concepts become reality.

Done as part of the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism Advanced Photo Course

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