What I love most about my business is that it allows me to interact with my customers. In addition to earning a living, it has enabled me to develop many new friendships throughout the day.

1) What inspired you to open your store, Everything But The Baby, and how did you go about starting out?

After giving birth to my first set of twins in 1987, it occurred to me that Crown Heights did not have a local store where people could shop for baby furniture, or any furniture for that matter, so I decided to start one myself. I started by buying five items which I sold from a basement, and reinvested the profit to buy more merchandise to sell. I was young and ambitious; but more than anything, I was naïve. I did not yet fully grasp the enormous responsibility that comes with owning your own business while starting a family. Had I taken the time to think about it, I probably would have never even gotten started, so thankfully I didn’t.

2) What sets Everything But The Baby apart from other furniture stores?

Our staff knows everything about the merchandise we carry, and we take the time to get to know our customers and to understand each individual’s unique lifestyle and preferences. We get to know what best suits each customer’s needs, and we make every effort to provide each one with the merchandise they want. When a customer comes in to our little shop, they may not see everything we carry at first glance, but if they ask for something, we either have it in stock, or we can order it or have it custom-made.

3) What obstacles did you encounter when you first started, and how do you continue to deal with the day-to-day stress of owning a business?

There will always be obstacles, but you just have to keep moving forward. I try not to stress; instead I take everything one day at a time. It’s not always easy to please clientele, especially when it comes to furniture and baby products— people can be very particular about what they want, how they want it, and how soon they need it. There were times when I would have to sell an item at a loss just to keep a customer. I make an equal effort to please all of my customers, whether they’re purchasing a baby rattle or a bedroom set. Treating a customer with respect when they buy an inexpensive item ensures that they’ll come back again for larger purchases.

4) How do you balance family life and business responsibilities?

I keep my family life and my work life separate. When I’m in the store, I focus entirely on work, and when I’m home, I focus on my family and refrain from discussing business. When my kids come to the store, I put them to work!

5) What advice would you give to someone looking to start a storefront business?

Remember that it’s all about the customer. Having a brick and mortar storefront provides exposure and easy access, and enables the business to develop a personal relationship with each customer and to learn about their needs. It also provides customers with an opportunity to touch, feel and experience a product before deciding to purchase it. A physical location enables a business to provide customers with guidance in deciding on the merchandise that best suits their individual needs and priorities, as well as access to someone who can answer any questions about an item.

What I love most about my business is that it allows me to interact with my customers. In addition to earning a living, it has enabled me to develop many new friendships throughout the day.

Avi Werde

Avi started his business life at a very young age, which has allowed him to explore many industries. After finishing his studies as a music student he went on to other areas in the hospitality industry expanding his knowledge and experience to the point that he felt unsatisfied by the restraints and slow progressions of working for another leading him to create his company Werde Productions.

This new venture brought Avi national and international attention as the world was to experience their first large scale Jewish wedding expo, opening doors that he has been yearning to open. He has since been involved with projects such as Concerts, Galas, Art Shows, Art installations, Fashion shows, managing event spaces, birthdays, product launches, corporate events, Festival management, parties, event marketing, PR, the works.