Get to know Troy Garza. Today I sat down with my brother, Troy, founder of 209th Designs and Dahlia’s Home Living, and pretended to be Barbara Walters as I asked him questions. Let me tell you something…. we did so good, because we didn’t even drop one single F-bomb while talking. AMAZING! Troy is a true creative visionary and a leader in his craft. He is able to transform furniture into what is truly functional art. His style is elegant, modern, and clean. His unique approach does not follow trends. Instead he follows his instincts, is meticulous with details, and breathes life into his pieces. Troy and I opened Dahlia’s Home Living in February of 2020 in honor of our late mother, Dahlia. Her legacy works through our hands daily, and the passion she instilled in us is our biggest motivator as we create and grow our business. Ok, Let’s get to know Troy a little better.
What is your vision + thought process when you start a new piece?
My vision manifests as I’m working. When you’ve done several pieces, you just know what’s going to work and what’s not. The ultimate vision for me is to create a finished piece that is as clean as possible. It comes down to what the furniture is going to exude. If there is a lot of detail, then I know how to accentuate the detail. If the piece has a lot of clean lines, then I make the hardware the focal point. I analyze the piece carefully. I walk around it, touch it, and visualize what it can become. Color selection plays a large part in how the furniture will ultimately look too. There are a lot of pieces that I want to keep true to the time era as I plan, and others I may want refinished natural to it’s true state.
How would you describe your style of painting?
My style is the 209th Style. That means the underlying factor is that the end result will always be clean. Shabby is thought to be messy, but my shabby is still clean and elegant. My style is always “finished.” By finished, I mean the piece is complete on the outside AND on the inside. So, 360 degrees of furniture. Someone could recognize my work, not only by the quality, but how they are finished. Meaning everything is done. No detail is overlooked. The look of the inside is just as important as the outside of the piece. It’s a collective completion.
What would you consider the biggest lesson you learned from your mom?
Just Start! Mom taught me not to just talk about things and instead take action…. quickly. It’s good to prepare and have knowledge on what you are actually doing, because that is part of the experience, but she taught me not to overthink or hesitate. If you are going to do something, just take the leap and start. Start where you are and the rest will follow. That’s why when you observe our style, it’s easy to see we transcend and blend different layers of business, because I’m not afraid to take chances or the put in the effort it requires. We can incorporate many ideas and be a multi-passionate project. We incorporate jewelry to complement our furniture in the store. We plan on opening an outdoor wine bar behind the shop with a vintage camper I remodeled. We will have monthly outdoor yoga classes on our patio with a VIP shopping experience. I will be teaching workshops on painting in my studio. It all works collectively. My mom always instilled that it’s not really just fear that holds you back, it’s you getting in the way of yourself by overthinking. To simplify, I don’t overthink anything. It even translates into our furniture. Our furniture is highly detailed, but at first glance you recognize the simplicity. My mom was complex, but her beliefs and core values were clear and simple.
What is your vision for the business in the next two years?
I want to educate people on the art of refinishing and custom paint. I think we are often niched into just a furniture painting group, but our businesses goes beyond that. We also do upholstery, metal fabrication, home styling, and other elements. I hope within two years to become a destination to experience all that the shop represents, not just custom paint. I want them to know the full story of our background, and our layered elements of work.
If you could go back in time, what would you tell your 20 year old self?
I would ease myself by saying everything is going to be ok. Everyone struggles with what they think they should be doing by comparing themselves to others and social and cultural standards. In my 20’s I had a different definition of success than I do now. I would urge myself to listen to that nudge from within pushing me to do what I really want to do, not what you feel you are supposed to do.
What do you enjoy doing most when you aren’t working?
I actually don’t have hobbies. Hobbies are work to me. I love what I do, so when I’m I’m not working on things to sell, I work on personal projects that involve painting or refinishing. I spend a lot of time with my two daughters, but they really like to be involved with my work and learn. My youngest daughter, Ava, loves painting. My oldest daughter, Mckenzie, likes to work in the operations side of the retail business. I’m all in. Nothing calms me down in comparison to working. It’s a pleasure for me, both professionally and personally.
Being sober from alcohol and drugs for years now, what would you tell someone who is afraid to give up alcohol or drugs because of FOMO ( Fear of Missing Out)?
FOMO is one of the main things people struggle with when trying to get sober or minimize their substance intake. I was older in life when I quit, so I still experienced drinking in my 20’s and 30’s, but I would have quit long before if I would have known how much fuller life would be. People have to get really honest and clear with themselves about what they fear they will miss out on. I haven’t drank in over 4 years, but I could walk into a bar today and it would still be the same as always. Mixture of young and middle aged crowd talking about the same things. The few older men anchoring the end of the bar. Drinking is over romanticized everywhere….drinks after work, drinks at home to relax, social events, vacations,etc. At the end of the day, the only thing you are actually missing out on by continuing to over indulge is your own life. You should be focused on what you will miss out on if you continue down the same path. You will miss out on your family, friends, dreams, health, spirit, goals, and success. All the good things in life are taken from you while struggling with addiction. You have nothing to fear of missing out on…just a fulfilled life to gain.
What would you tell someone who wants to start a business, but lacks confidence, is fearful of failure, or what other people will think of them?
It depends on what you want to do for business. Most people are afraid to put themselves or products out there, because it creates vulnerability to other people’s opinions. You just have to realize and accept that you can’t make everyone happy with your work. That’s why there are so many different types of businesses and styles. That’s why I respect all types of business opportunities and artists, because there is a place for everyone. It really does take thicker skin to have a business. What you realize is that if you are consumed with what other people think, you end up not doing the things you truly want to do. You end up doing what others want or expect. Ultimately, you aren’t being true to yourself or your talent. Fear needs to be removed from the equation, and courage needs to be added. Learn every aspect about your service or product, so you can build confidence in what you are producing. The more you share your business with others, your confidence will grow. Everyone struggles with insecurity regardless of who you are, but whatever you are going to do or sell, be 100% confident with it. That is actually separate from you as a person, so the opinion of someone not liking what you have to offer should not be taken personally. You can’t please everyone.
What is something most people don’t know about you?
I don’t really have a close group of friends. I can maybe count 2 or 3 that I actually talk to. I think people always see me in videos or in person talking about work, and I can talk for hours about furniture and painting with anyone, but inside I’m actually really shy. I don’t seek out attention other than the mission of our work. So, most people are really shocked to know that I’m actually an introvert. That’s why I like to work by myself most of the time. If I’m truly relaxing, I watch movies, but I mostly do it alone. People are surprised that outside of work conversations, I’m rather quiet. I wouldn’t say much across a dinner table.
What do you consider you main sources of inspiration?
It doesn't come from people. If you look to a person for inspiration, you can be easily let down. Compassion and the way things work together to evolve inspire me. Learning different styles, what makes people think, or how a group of people like certain things inspire me.