New Country, New Careers
We are all “works in progress,” hopefully always trying to grow and expand our horizons. Making aliyah is a growth opportunity, affording people the opportunity to explore new career paths in the Holy Land. I, for example, had been involved in Manhattan investment sales –primarily office and apartment buildings – for many years. A few years after moving to Israel, I decided it was time for my work to make aliyah too, and I created a real estate firm primarily focused on helping families from overseas fulfill their dream of buying a home in Israel. And I am not alone; numerous friends have changed careers in Israel and are making their mark on society.
Therefore, I wasn’t completely surprised to hear that my interior designer and friend Nathan Zussman recently opened a furniture showroom in Beit Shemesh called “Interiors” which showcases top US furniture makers.
Off I hiked to Nathan’s attractive new showroom to find out why he decided to open up a furniture store.
GB: What’s the motivation for this big move?
NZ: I have a passion for beautiful furniture. I love being around beautiful furniture, I love helping people select it, I like making people’s homes more beautiful.
After doing interior design work here for 15 years and being really frustrated by the relatively poor quality, comfort and selection offered locally in the high-end sofa market, I finally decided that I should import beautifully designed sofas that are high quality, relatively affordable, and incredibly comfortable.
GB: Why is the furniture that you’re importing from the US better than Israel’s domestically manufactured furniture?
NZ: In a few words … quality, comfort, style and value. All of my upholstered furniture features either sinuous spring or 8-way hand-tied spring construction – both are industry standards for building a sofa and neither exists in any form here in Israel. The cushions are mostly filled with a variety of feather/down and inner spring pillows. All of this provides not only exceptional quality that can endure many years of wear and tear, but also allows for an unparalleled degree of comfort and quality.
I also offer literally thousands of fabric samples in patterns that you won’t find anywhere else in this country. One fabric that I am particularly excited to introduce to the Israeli market is called “Sunbrella.” This material was originally created for outdoor use but has been redesigned for indoor use, offering fabulous patterns and colors, and fabrics that are soft to the touch. These fabrics can weather heavy exposure to the sun, and can even be cleaned with a compound that includes bleach - making them extremely child friendly.
GB: How do your prices compare with furniture prices in the US?
NZ: The prices that I can offer here in Israel are comparable to the 40% discount that people in the States can get buying the same furniture on the internet - except that I also have to charge 18% VAT [local “value added tax”] and pass on some of the shipping charges.
GB: What’s your vision?
NZ: I really want people in Israel to have nice furniture but I ideologically refuse to overcharge customers. I am thrilled that with this showroom, I can help people buy beautiful top-quality sofas at reasonable prices.
Nathan Zussman has exquisite taste and is a big mensch. I wish him all the success in the world.
Gedaliah Borvick is the founder of My Israel Home (www.myisraelhome.com), a real estate agency focused on helping people from abroad buy and sell homes in Israel. To sign up for his monthly market updates, you may contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.