A Little About Us


MANHATTAN'S BIGGEST AND LONGEST-RUNNING 
CHILDREN'S AND MATERNITY CONSIGNMENT STORE
 
Jane’s Exchange was founded in 1993 by East Villager, Eva Dorsey, a single mom-to-be. In preparing for the birth of her child and trying to cut costs, she discovered several kids’ consignment stores on the upper east side. “It occurred to me that we could use a children’s consignment store downtown. There seemed to be so many families in the East Village. I thought that maybe I could start one as a single parent, be able to have my daughter with me, and make a living that way. But I was scared to death because I don’t come from a business family at all. When you enter the business world and know nothing about it, it’s a little overwhelming.” That was 25 years ago.  After  losing leases along the way and a few partners too, Jane’s Exchange is now in its third location in the East Village and going strong!  
 
Dorsey and new partner Yelena Ferrer are more excited than ever to take on the challenges of a small business in a big city. “We are very positive about the future of Jane’s Exchange say’s Dorsey. Despite high rents and on-line shopping, we are seeing an increasing number of consignors and shoppers. When it comes to families and new “moms to be”, I think they prefer a more hands on approach to shopping.  Also, people are becoming more determined to not only help the environment but to teach their kids about recycling.” Ferrer, who has given the store a huge face lift with an on-line presence, strongly believes that it’s important to let all families know that we are here and that consignment is fun and feels good. ”We have consignors who are from all over the world and we get in the most wonderful items that reflect these different cultures. They need to be seen!” Coming from an artistic and fashion background, Ferrer looks at the store as more than “a store” and insists that ”Jane’s Exchange is a style, a way of life and unique to the urban experience for the whole family. Don’t forget it is also affordable and environmental and that’s unique too!”

Jane's Exchange is a true community store in every sense of the word. The store itself is a warehouse of community donated items and services. Purple lounge chairs, a gift from the trendy Hotel Gansevoort, are dotted throughout the store for weary shoppers and nursing moms. There is a great play space complete with train tracks and kitchen for kids to play while adults shop. A new music system might be playing Edith Piaf, the Buena Vista Social Club or the Beatles.  NPR is also a favorite! The store is cozy and welcoming and fun!

 

Lest you think that Jane’s Exchange is a store only, be forewarned.  Kevin Miceli, father and owner of Ciao for Now, a popular East Village cafe, describes the store as "a vital, if not essential, component in the lives of not only local families but families from all over the greater New York City area."  In addition to consigning and selling affordable clothing and children's gear, Jane's Exchange has become a place where parents come for events, referrals, and support for the numerous challenges facing today's urban families. In a letter to the community board when Jane's Exchange was seeking their help, Lise Engel, then mother of 12-year-old twins, wrote in her support: "It is not often that a store moves beyond the basic requirements of selling goods and making a profit to serving some very fundamental needs of a community."  Writer and mother Jayme Adachi concured, "It is more than a store.  It is there that I learned the best way to burp my baby, there that I found out about local babysitters, there that I found students when I began teaching a neighborhood baby-and-me yoga classes, there that I made tentative inquiries into the neighborhood schools." 

 

Dorsey looks forward to another 25 years! “I’ve seen several generations go thru the store and I’m aiming for a few more!” Ferrer, the mother of a growing family (three children and a fourth on the way) was a customer of Jane’s Exchange for years before becoming co-owner.  “I have always loved the store and can’t believe that I’m working here. I am co-owner of a neighborhood institution. Really a dream come true.”