Business Spotlight - Keene and Daughters Upholstery Studio
A Glenwood business is helping bring the “lost art” of upholstering back to life.
Keene and Daughters Upholstery Studio, located near the southeast corner of Glenwood’s Town Square at 104 S. Vine St., specializes in upholstery for household furniture.
“Mostly just household furniture and some commercial work,” owner Stephani Keene said. “Lots of chairs, cushions – indoor and outdoor – and structural stuff.
“We don’t do a lot of woodwork, we don’t do automotive and we don’t do much with boats.”
Stephani, who operates the business along with her daughters-in-law, Lizz and Kaitlyn Keene, started the business from the floor of her living room in 2017 after taking upholstery classes.
“I took some classes from a good friend of ours who has been an upholsterer for 40 years through Metropolitan Community College. They have a makerspace program,” she said. “A woman there was a wonderful mentor. She saw something in me and she really mentored me. I continue to take classes from her.”
Metro’s upholstery classes are part of an effort to bring back the art of upholstering that took a hit during a 30-year gap when people weren’t going into the trade. Stephani noted that several upholstery shops in the Omaha metro have closed since she started her business. Counting her business, there are only around a half-dozen upholstery shops in the metro area.
Keene and Daughters serve customers from across Iowa and Nebraska.
The three Keenes all contribute in different hands-on ways to the success of the business.
“They call me the fabric guru,” Lizz said. “I really like helping customers find fabric for their homes and their pieces. A lot of times, customers will tell me what they’re thinking of and I pull one up I think they’ll like. A lot of times, it’s ‘Yep, let’s do it.’”
Lizz has taken upholstery classes at Metro but is also going to school to earn a teaching degree.
“Every piece, I learn something new and it’s a creative outlet for me,” she said.
Kaitlyn, a stay-at-home mom, also took a Metro class but has also learned some intricacies of the trade from Stephani and Lizz.
“I’m kind of a perfectionist so I get stuck with more of the detail work, like tucking and tacking,” Kaitlyn said.
The Keenes customer base has grown steadily since the business moved to its current location in 2019 but they’re careful not to take on more than they can handle. They’re currently booked several weeks out. Stephani said they’re committed to providing the best experience for their customers.
“We want them to be happy,” she said. “Upholstery is an investment. “One of the misconceptions is that it’s cheaper to upholster than to buy new. That’s not true – it’s a craft. You’re taking an old piece and you’re updating it. It’s labor intensive.”
From the day a customer comes in and selects their fabric, a project typically takes around six weeks.
“We’re appointment only,” Stephani said. “We’ll do a preliminary discussion over the phone or electronically. Then, they bring in their project, purchase their fabric and are given a timeline. We like to give ourselves six weeks. We try not to go longer and sometimes it goes much faster.”
Appointments at the studio can be scheduled by calling (402) 206-7235 or e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Business Spotlight Is Sponsored By The Mills County Chamber Of Commerce