At first glance home and gift store Stay Forever appears to be just one of many trendy gift shops offering Pinterest-worthy items to the Brooklyn public. Upon stepping inside it becomes apparent that the unique shop is so much more.
Founded in 2018 by Michelle Delgado and Lisa Jee, both new mothers were on unpaid maternity leave and searching for a self-employment opportunity that would provide for their families, and offer a flexible and supportive environment to raise their children. Between Michelle’s background working for Etsy’s wholesale department, and Lisa’s past job as creative director for Strand, the two were in a perfect position to take their experience to the next step by opening their own store and becoming entrepreneurs.
“We saw that the space was available and we signed the lease a week later!” Michelle says. The two women admit they didn’t have a full business plan at the time, just a vision, enthusiasm and determination.
That vision became Stay Forever, a bright and sunny shop loved by the Ridgewood neighborhood for its community support, underlying feminist themes, high-quality merchandise and welcoming family atmosphere. The small store has something to offer everyone: incense, CBD, baby toys and clothes, stationary, potted plants and more.
The shop mainly focuses on small batches of items made by local artists, with some fun and trendy filler pieces from larger companies. This small-batch strategy allows for near-constant turnover of merchandise to keep the selection fresh and exciting.
A different strategy than other New York gift stores that often price-gouge trendy items for profit, Stay Forever carries merchandise at a range of surprisingly affordable prices. Their goal is to always have a wide range of price points throughout the store to keep it accessible to the community while still fairly compensating artists for their work.
Another unique aspect to the store? Stay Forever offers classes and workshops for the community. One class, “Baby Jazz,” features a local musician for adults and children alike. Another upcoming class teaches students how to embroider details on a custom-printed image of their pet. Community events in the past include postcard writing events, and during the Kavanaugh hearings, writing cards to send support to Dr. Christine Blasey-Ford. Michelle and Lisa say they’ll host an even wider variety of community events as the school year continues.
Take a trip out to Ridgewood and visit this swanky shop. You may find yourself so enchanted you wish you could take them up on the offer their name suggests — and stay forever.
Cover Photo from Michelle Delgado and Stay Forever
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