Making furniture by hand is a dying art. A daughter making furniture alongside her father is even more rare. And if her father just happens to be Micky Dolenz of The Monkees? Well, this story just got really interesting.
Georgia Dolenz, one of Micky Dolenz’ four daughters, is a British transplant who grew up living between the U.K. and the U.S. While Micky was on tour, Georgia was often at his side. When home, the pair would do what every father and daughter do in their downtime—they spent the day in the garage together, woodworking.
“My dad is a musician with a pipe dream of becoming a woodworker!” laughs Georgia.
Micky, now 70, was originally inspired by his own father who advised, ‘if you can make it, don’t buy it!’”
Before Micky hit it big on the Monkees, a television show that would change the trajectory of his life, he pursued architecture.
“Dad went to Los Angeles Trade and Technical College to become an architect, so he’s always had a love for it,” says Georgia.
Micky instilled that love of form and architecture in his daughters as they worked side-by-side, creating original pieces by hand. Georgia’s own love of woodworking blossomed when she attended one of the U.K.’s top theatre schools, the University of Hull in Northern England.
“They taught us every aspect of the theatre,” says Georgia. “When I was 18, I learned how to build sets and to weld. I had to weld the trap doors!” she laughs with a hint of comedy and tragedy. “I also had to make boned corsets for the costume department and learned every aspect of the theatrical machine.”
In 2010, Georgia moved to Los Angeles (she currently resides in Hancock Park) and joined the Groundlings program, utilizing her comedic skills to write and perform sketch comedy. On the side, she and her father, who also lives in L.A., built furniture for themselves out of his garage.
“We would spend the days working in the garage, listening to NPR,” says Georgia. “One day I told him,
‘I’m really getting into Car Talk,’ and he said, ‘Oh my God, you’re turning into an 80-year-old man!’”
Georgia and Micky enjoyed the father/daughter time so much that he half-jokingly suggested one Christmas that they start a business called ‘Dolenz & Daughters.’ Several months later, Georgia showed up at one of his tours in D.C. with a furniture company business proposal in hand.
“Dad, I think we should do this,” she told him. “I just built a website.”
Things immediately took off. The father/daughter team formed ‘Dolenz & Daughters Fine Furniture’ thinking they would sell a few pieces here and there.
“We opened the company with one item, a hope chest, and within a week we had 20 orders, so we had to close down the shop!” Georgia laughs.
People don’t believe that it’s just Georgia and Micky who are the creators and builders of the 100% handcrafted pieces.
“A woman once emailed me and said ‘I hear you outsource the routing,’” recalls Georgia, “and I told her, ‘are you kidding? The routing is my favorite part! I got some new tools recently and it was like opening an early Christmas present!’”
Every now and then, Georgia’s sisters, Ami, Emily and Charlotte will step in to help, but most of the work is performed solely by Georgia and Micky.
Once the pair figured out how to navigate Micky’s touring schedule, they reopened and began the business in earnest. Soon, the cars were kicked from the garage to the street to make room for the large amount of orders that poured in. To date, they have sold over 300 pieces, including coffee tables, side tables, hope chests, picture frames, candle sets, and shabby chic bench chests.
Two of their latest creations are a mahogany maple chess set and a mahogany maple guitar stand.“I really love that,” says Georgia, “because it relates to what my dad is known for.”
In the long run, Georgia hopes to start a nonprofit to inspire young girls to follow their interests, no matter how ‘ungirly’ those interests may seem.
“I love seeing women do stuff that isn’t typical, like welding or building. Our parents instilled that in all of us,” she says, appreciatively. Coming from a world of comedy, music, theatre and woodshop, Georgia just might be on to something.
“Woodworking is empowering. I want to empower young girls to do unusual things. They should know that they can be funny… and be woodworkers, too!”
For more information, go to dolenzanddaughters.com.