Brass Tacks

Abigail Figueroa-Vera ’06 has built a business around mending antique furniture, and along the way, the human heart.

Abigail Figueroa-Vera ’06 is in the business of doing the impossible. In 2003, she was still in school when she and her partner started an upholstery business. The first 10 years of business were hard, but Figueroa-Vera refused to be a statistic. She made a diamond from the rough, contributing far more than just gorgeous furniture to the community.

In those first 10 years, Figueroa-Vera had become a mother of two and gone through a divorce.  She wanted to leave upholstery in her rearview. “Upholstery wasn’t something I chose,” she says. The more she thought about it, though, the more she found to love the professional life she’d built. “I realized I had the power to create something beautiful from nothing.”

Today, it’s not just the new storefront of Aby’s Upholstery that’s beautiful, it’s the relationships Figueroa-Vera cultivates with her clients.

“I love to connect with people. This job definitely gives me the opportunity to do that,” she says.

Abigail Figueroa-Vera ’06 s in the business of doing the impossible—breathing usefulness back into loved and antique furniture.
Abigail Figueroa-Vera ’06 founded her small upholstery business in 2003, when she was 19 years old and still taking classes at SCU. Photo by Emily Kim Photography.

Figueroa-Vera remembers a client who came in whose husband had died the day before: “She brought in a chair and told me getting it upholstered was a part of her healing process. They’d been wanting to do it for so long.”

She likes the think that her company’s growth mirrors the evolution of her own fortitude. “Any time things get hard, I don’t get stuck. There’s always a solution,” Figueroa-Vera says. When she hits a wall, she reminds herself that she figured out how to pay for college by herself, and that she independently runs a successful business despite the odds. Figueroa-Vera knows that with hard work, nothing is out of reach. “It’s never permanent. Tomorrow is a new day.”

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