Made in Houston

This Is What Happens When You Build a Throne for DJ Khaled's Baby

Houstonian Alexandra Velez is hoping the mogul's seal of approval takes Royalty Furniture to the next level.

By Sarah Rufca Nielsen July 12, 2017

Like the rest of America, I cannot get enough of Asahd. The 8-month-old son of DJ Khaled was not as hotly anticipated as Sir and Rumi, but he's more than made up for it in his short existence as the internet's most famous—or at least most Instagrammed—infant.

Asahd wears bespoke tuxedos. He flies by private plane. He's officially an executive producer of Khaled's new album, Grateful. And he's always smiling and happy, except when he's being introduced to Justin Bieber, which shows him to be an excellent judge of character. You know that moment in The Lion King where the monkey holds Simba up for all the animals to bow down to? That's basically Asahd's life every day. 

Now Asahd is the star of not one but two Grateful album covers, including one where he's sitting on a tiny gilded throne. And that throne? It was made by Houstonian Alexandra Velez, who hopes the tiny mogul's seal of approval helps take her young business to the next level.

She launched Royalty Furniture as a side-hustle at the beginning of the year, specializing in over-the-top ornate chairs inspired by the baroque and rococo periods and hand-crafted from solid mahogany. Hers are luxury products, to be sure—the kid thrones start at $1,236, and prices for the adult versions go up to nearly $2,000. Velez says starting out was a struggle until she made her first sale in April, to a prop stylist with a track record of working with A-list stars who told her it would be used for an album cover.

"It typically takes three months [to make] and we had just days to get the order handled, packed, and shipped. It was sheer luck that we had one kid-size throne chair in stock. We moved heaven and earth to get it sent on time for the photo shoot. It was a close one!" says Velez. "After the shoot had been done, she said that the chair had gone to the artist. She didn't say who, but as I glanced through her portfolio, I could feel the excitement building up. Her portfolio has several A-list celebrities including Kim Kardashian, Jennifer Lopez, and Britney Spears. I knew I couldn't pry for too much for information, but I was happy with the little clues she left for me."

Velez says she came across a Buzzfeed article in June that showed the album cover and knew it had to be the one—but it wasn't until she got an email from the client with screenshots a few days later that her connection to one of the biggest pop culture moments of the summer was truly confirmed. "It was the highlight of my day," says Velez, who notes that she especially loves the way they surrounded the throne with flowers in the image used for "Wild Thoughts," the latest single off the album.

"With the highs and lows of startup life, this has certainly been an incredible high," she says. "I hope this will help Houstonians find gorgeous throne chairs for themselves and their little ones."

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