I’m letting you in on something big. I know you’ve wondered who interior designers, brand name linen companies, and luxury stagers turn to for one-of-a-kind designs. It’s Uphold Designs. They are responsible for some of the most beautiful, innovative designs, furniture, and upholstery in America.
You can take a photo of any piece of furniture to Uphold Designs and ask for a different, arm or leg, or back— you name it, and they will make it, then upholster it in whatever fabric you love. They’ll also upgrade the wow factor inside your car, your boat, or your private jet.
Uphold designs is owned by one of the hardest working young men I’ve ever met. Juan Gomez is a third-generation talent. His grandfather began an upholstery business in Aguascalientes, Mexico many years ago.
It was successful and continued to grow with his father hiring staff and adding in furniture manufacturing. Their initial line was called Goar Furniture.
“My dad combined his last name with my moms and put them together to name the company,” Gomez said.
In 1994, with family in Mexico and in California, Dallas was a great halfway point for his dad to relocate.
Gomez grew up in the family business and started by sweeping floors at age 11.
“I liked the reward of hard work,” Gomez said. “I’d get five bucks and go buy chips and a drink. As I grew up, I became my dad’s right-hand man and helped with anything he needed.”
By 20, Gomez decided it was time to try and grow his own business, Uphold Designs while still helping his dad.
“I was originally going to be a sister company to my dad’s business,” Gomez said. “I began with a focus on making ottomans. That rolled into other things, then we began to do car and boat interiors as well as furniture. I think diversity was the key to success.”
Offering upholstery services out of the family garage in Rockwall, Gomez started serious networking.
“I went downtown to furniture and car dealerships with my business card and an iPad filled with photographs of my work,” he said. “Anytime I was out or on a delivery, I’d introduce myself and hand out my business card. I also went to networking groups to meet designers and architects.”
That focused networking, and of course delivery of high-quality work, paid off and Gomez moved to Dragon Street in the Dallas Design District. Just as his grandfather had done all those years ago in Mexico, Gomez lived above his workspace. Word spread, and business began to boom.
He has since moved to a large space at 100 Park House Street and serves a clientele you would recognize in a heartbeat that includes brand name companies and well-known interior designers. Gomez counts Peacock Alley, Todd Events, Nicolas Villalba of Couture Gallery, Rutherford’s Design, Meredith Warnack Interior Designs, Abel Garcia Designs, and George Bass Stage and Design among his clients.
“We have a team of 50 now, and we still do everything,” Gomez said. Although the bulk of their work is custom furniture and upholstery, they also work on private plane and car interiors. The staff includes three graphic designers that do sketches and blueprints for the furniture.
Gomez also managed to find time to get his interior design degree while running his company. So, what’s next for this design phenom?
“My passion is architecture and design,” Gomez said. “I took every class my high school in McKinney offered. I like coming up with great design and changing the look of a piece of furniture. You can square off a rolled arm on a sofa or put a waterfall skirt on a chair and totally change the look.
“Now I want to see how I can reinvent the wheel and make it better! We have plans to launch a production furniture line. I want to create something different and refreshing. Now that we’ve grown, we are starting to do finish-out for houses and one day I want to build custom homes.”
I asked Gomez about the unusual name of his business. Most people in the design industry are keen to use their name for the company. But Gomez is a thoughtful and innovative man
“I was researching upholstery when I started my business, “Gomez said. ” I found out that in the 1800s people that specialized in upholstery were called upholders.”
In fact, the Worshipful Company of Upholders became the first recognized trade guild in England and was awarded a coat of arms.
“Back then, they did it all,” Gomez said. “Bedding, draperies, rugs, and even wallpaper fell under the upholstery trade. It was the first one-stop shopping concept. Upholsterers brought a community of talented individuals together to produce the project. That’s what I want to do.”
Watch this man. He’s going to do just that!