Women In Business

Catherine Freebody of PROVISIONS

Catherine Freebody says she is tired -- “but in a good way.” Since opening PROVISIONS Home and Garden at 42 Central Avenue in Midland Park with her business partner, Michael Serventi, in May, she has been hard at work balancing her family life and her new business.

     “It is exciting and challenging,” Catherine says, “and I love it! The days fly by now. There is always something to do.”

Whether she is helping a customer, building a website, frequenting estate sales, or delivering furniture, Catherine is never bored. When her three children were younger, Catherine was a part time yoga instructor and preschool teacher. Now that her daughters are older, Catherine felt the timing was great for her new venture.

     “Michael and I were both at a point where we needed a change -- a new project in which we could focus our creative energy doing something we love,” she explains.

     Both are passionate about finding treasures, such as high quality mid-century furniture, (including such sought-after names as Bertoia, Knoll, John Stuart, Jack Larsen, and Naguchi), intriguing artwork, funky lighting, unique accessories, and more. PROVISIONS has a little bit of everything, and customers are welcome to spend time exploring.

   Catherine spends a large part of her time at the store building a website, updating the store’s Facebook page, and adding items to PROVISIONS’ shop on Etsy.com andkrrb.com.  “Since we have a constantly rotating inventory, there are always new photos to take and edit, listings to post, and pieces to research,” Catherine notes.

  PROVISIONS has received a warm welcome from the local community, and already has a few “regulars.”  “I’ve always dreamed of running my own business,” Catherine admits. “The time felt right, the space was fantastic for our vision, and we went for it. So far, so good!”

Call (201) 857-3335 or visit provisionsnj@gmail.com for details.

Wabi Sabi

October 15th

 

     We think it is very fitting that we keep coming across references to the Japanese world view, or aesthetic, called Wabi Sabi.  Every magazine we pick up these days refers to some small aspect of this philosophy or uses Wabi Sabi as the theme of the feature, whether discussing art, design, cooking etc.

 

     As an aesthetic, Wabi Sabi centers on the acceptance of transience and imperfection.  This is an appropriate concept for us in our collecting, acquiring, purchasing, and “picking” for PROVISIONS.  One of our favorite pieces in the store is a gorgeous mahogany drop leaf table.  The table has super clean lines, is exceptionally well made AND has a fairly deep six inch long scratch right on the top.  This scratch, although, “imperfect,” adds a depth of character to the table.  If I were in the market for a drop leaf table, I would scoop this table up, with all its history and vintage charm rather than a newer, “pristine.” table.  This piece is over 50 years old, and the majority of our inventory is at least 40 - 50 years old.  We are proud of our furniture and artwork, and feel confident saying that all our products are in “Excellent VINTAGE condition!”

 

See the Wabi Sabi definition from Wickipedia.

 

Wabi-sabi (?) represents a comprehensive Japanese world view or aesthetic centered on the acceptance of transience and imperfection. The aesthetic is sometimes described as one of beauty that is "imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete".[1] It is a concept derived from the Buddhist teaching of the three marks of existence (三法印 sanbōin?), specifically impermanence (無常 mujō?), the other two being suffering ( ku?) and emptiness or absence of self-nature ( ?).

Characteristics of the wabi-sabi aesthetic include asymmetry, asperity (roughness or irregularity), simplicity, economy, austerity, modesty, intimacy and appreciation of the ingenuous integrity of natural objects and processes.

 

Also…A Brilliant Children’s Book: Wabi Sabi by Mark Reibstein and Ed Young

 

"Young Entrepeneur" Article. July 23, 2014

Catherine Freebody was thrilled to open PROVISIONS Home and Garden at 42 Central Avenue on May 1st. She has always envisioned owning a business, but could never pinpoint exactly which direction she wanted to go in. A mother of three children, Catherine worked as a freelance yoga instructor and preschool teacher while her children were younger. Now that they are getting older and more independent, Catherine was eager to find a creative and intellectual outlet. Now 38, she remembers herself playing business 30 years ago...restaurant, store, travel agency, bank, any number of possibilities. Now, just like when she was 8, she enjoys the sense of independence, creativity and control that running her own business allows.

Having a variety of passions, Catherine found the Midland Park location to be the perfect space to combine her love of quality mid century modern home furnishings, art and lighting as well as unique, handmade accessories, gifts and small batch food products. She and her partner, Michael Serventi, have been eagerly dedicating themselves to finding treasures at estate sales and gift shows. They feel fortunate to have made some amazing contacts with collectors, sellers, artists and more. Provisions is closed on Mondays and opens at noon on Friday so that the pair can get to the early weekend estate sales and travel around New Jersey, New York and Connecticut picking up items that speak to their aesthetic and sense of design. “We have made contact with people, purely by accident, who get excited about what we are doing and turn us on to other people and

products. It is remarkable,” Catherine remarked. “Both of us tend to be on the quiet, unassuming side,” Michael said, “but these connections we are making boost our confidence and expand our network for ‘picking’. It is exciting!”

Catherine devotes a lot of her down time at the store online. She recently opened up a store on etsy.com (https://www.etsy.com/shop/ProvisionsNJ?ref=search_shop_redirect), a corner on Krrb.com (http://krrb.com/66127) , and is constantly updating the store’s facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/provisionsnjhomeandgarden). She is currently working with a team to develop PROVISIONS’ own webpage. “It is so cool to google something, say our John Stuart Dining Table, and see our own listing come up under images,” Catherine admitted. “It is like instant gratification, seeing that we are up online and can be easily discovered.” PROVISIONS has been open for just over a month and has already sold furniture to a young woman from Manhattan, a couple from Brooklyn and many local residents.

“We love how many people enter our space and pause, look, around and say how they cannot wait to take the time to look around at everything. Vintage pyrex is a big hit. Most everyone checks out our small batch, delicious (sweet and spicy) jams made in Brooklyn, and our amazing line of vinyl floor mats that mimic vintage linoleum is always a conversation starter,” Catherine points out.

Provisions Home and Garden also offers garden and home design consultation and design services. Catherine and Michael will also run estate sales for interested customers in the area. They offer, friendly, knowledgeable, efficient services and always are sure to be fair to the seller and the buyer, taking the time to research and understand the value of the items available.

Catherine and Michael are very pleased with the response from the local community. “We were able to pay all our bills this month,” the Couple remarked, “that is all we can ask for!” They are excited to see the effect of word of mouth and drive by curiosity. They have created an inviting, intriguing atmosphere and we highly recommend that you stop in and see what is new this week! Feel free to contact Catherine with any questions at 201 857-3335v or provisionsnj@gmail.com. 

Press Release

June 4, 2014

 

PROVISIONS Home and Garden at 42 Central Avenue in Midland Park, opened to a fantastic response on Thursday, May 1st.  Friends, family, curious locals and Mayor Bud O’Hagan joined partners Catherine Freebody and Michael Serventi  in celebration of the opening of their new venture.  PROVISIONS is excited to offer an eclectic selection of Mid Century Modern home furnishings, art and accessories, as well as specialty gift items and non-perishable foods…cilantro jalapeño olive oil is a favorite!!                

 

Catherine and Michael have been busy since March coming up with their overall design plan, frequenting estate shows and gift shows, making amazing connections and building their inventory.  What they’ve created is an incredibly welcoming space filled with unique items and a great vibe.

 

“We knew we wanted to have a special feature wall to catch the customer’s eye when they enter the space,” Catherine said.  After considering a few options, the pair chose to install a gorgeous wall of reclaimed barn wood from Real Antique Wood in Livingston.  “ It was so exciting to discover that this kind of salvaging is happening right here in New Jersey, “ Michael said.  They consider Real Antique Wood one of their fortunate connections.  These connections include collectors in Stamford, CT, small business owners in Brooklyn and the family members of locally renowned artists in Mountain Lakes.

 

“We know not everyone is into mid century,” Catherine admits, “so we wanted to make sure to have a wide selection of interesting items so as to appeal to as many people as possible.  Some of the most innovative products they carry are floor mats made out of vinyl that mimic the look and style of vintage linoleum floors.  They can special order these mats in a variety of colors, patterns and sizes.  The mats are simple to wipe clean and make a statement in any room.  Perfect for kitchens and bathrooms…even outdoors!!

 

PROVISIONS also offers off site gardening and design services.  Michael has had his own garden design business since 2004 and specializes in container gardening as well as specialty garden design and events.  He is a true plantsman and has a very creative, innovative approach.                                                                              

 

Catherine and Michael invite all to come check out their darling Alf Svensson living room set, Burke Tulip Table and Chairs, fabulous blue Parsons table and more.  Stop in Thursday and Friday evenings for a taste of the latest olive oils, spreads and jams.  Find a special hostess gift or treat yourself to something fresh and new.  Definitely worth a visit.  Feel free to contact Catherine and Michael at 201 857-3335 or provisionsnj@gmail.com.  Check them out on Facebook at www.facebook.com/provisionsnjhomeandgarden.  Their formal website will be up in a few weeks!