Name: Michel Bezoza
Hometown: Woodcliff Lake
Kids: Hunter, 4 and River, 11 mos.
Business: HUNT & ORCHARD
Location: 146 Westwood Ave., Westwood
New Jersey Family: Tell us about your shop and what makes it unique?
Michel Bezoza: We offer a curated collection of affordable cool, contemporary clothes, jewels, accessories and home. Our aesthetic has a little edge, is for the cool girl/women or mom! As a mom, I offer a ton of rad, hard-to-find mom things. Everything is inspired by art, music and pop culture.
NJF: What inspired the name Hunt and Orchard?
MB: Hunt is after my first born, Hunter and Orchard for my favorite street in New Jersey.
NJF: When did you open and what was your biggest inspiration to open?
MB: Hunt & Orchard was born in the summer of 2017. A true rebirth after ending a previous business. I needed a creative outlet for my love of fashion and art, but also I could never find anywhere to shop. I wanted cool, comfortable clothes that were affordable, easy to wear (soft fabrics and good fit are VERY important to me) but still had an edge to them. After starting small with jewelry and accessories for the first year online, I knew I was ready to look for a retail space and grow the website. It took nearly a year to find the perfect space, the right home for the first H&O store. Our brick-and-mortar opened in September 2019 (my daughter was just 3 mos. old, it was A LOT of work!)
NJF: How have you pivoted to adapt to this stressful and uncertain time?
MB: Luckily, we started online and we’ve always had a strong web presence and social following. We work on building the website every day, adding our daily in store new arrivals to the website. The excitement for newness daily keeps our website very busy and feels like we still are hanging with our customers in store but now just virtually. We have also added a local pick up option (which we will keep even after this pandemic) so that customers can still shop online but just pick up.
NJF: Are you finding people coming to you for cozy work from home clothes?
MB: YES! We normally keep in stock tons and tons of cozy joggers (they are so soft, have the best fit—pockets, working drawstring, etc.) and we can’t keep them in stock! We’ve now named them our quarantine joggers.
NJF: What do you suggest we buy to treat ourselves during this stressful time?
MB: Comfy clothes, for sure! There is nothing better then a new outfit even if you are home and hanging, and also new kitchen gadgets to cook with. I can’t tell you how much we are using our spiralizer.
NJF: If possible, how are you and your business giving back through this period?
MB: Donation bracelets! We’re offering four unique word bead bracelets and a large portion of those sales go to FeedingAmerica.org.
NJF: What will be the first thing you do as a business when this is behind us?
MB: Take my staff out! I have a team of five and right now mostly everyone is home and I miss them all so much!
NJF: What’s the best piece of business advice you’ve ever gotten that you want to share with others?
MB: ALWAYS trust your gut. It may be cliché but its true. Your intuition will guide you. Believe and listen to yourself.