A Mercer Island local recently started a business that allows her to help host a dinner party anywhere in the country.
Stephanie Ben-Zeev has lived on the Island for about two years and is the owner of More + Merrier, an e-commerce shop that offers tabletop decor, disposable kitchenware and hanging decorations. The business launched in February and has since been shipping custom orders locally on the Eastside and throughout the country.
“It’s very overwhelming to host [parties] at home, and I wanted to find a way to make it simple and also beautiful,” Ben-Zeev said. “That was the hole I saw, and talking to friends on Mercer Island they had the same thoughts.”
More + Merrier is one of several similar businesses that were recently launched, but Ben-Zeev said she makes an effort to be more flexible than her competitors and she offers more durable decor.
Each order can be made to fit numerous occasions with modular options and customizable decor. Ben-Zeev pre-curates each order to fit the host’s needs, whether it’s a dinner party, birthday, bridal shower, baby shower or a custom kit for a wedding.
Ben-Zeev runs her business from home while caring for her two young children. Her goal was to start something that can be flexible and fulfill her passion.
“I’ve always enjoyed hosting parties at home,” Ben-Zeev said. “I was thinking how can I start a business that will be flexible for my family and also do something that’s fulfilling for me? So I started thinking about where I could go with my experience and particular talents.”
Previously, Ben-Zeev operated a residential interior design business in Los Angeles, but after the 2008 recession she had to shut down.
“That was my first go around with small business, and when I decided to start this one I knew I had a little bit of experience behind me and knew a little bit about what to expect,” Ben-Zeev said.
More + Merrier has been a success so far, with many of its customers giving positive feedback, according to Ben-Zeev.
“Planning parties and making everything look good on the table or bar doesn’t come naturally to me,” said Genevieve Manfredo, Ben-Zeev’s friend and More + Merrier customer. “Having a service where I can easily pull together the look I’m going for without having to figure it all out myself was great.”
Each set of customizable kits is named after one of Ben-Zeev’s close friends or family and one is named after Manfredo, “The Genevieve Collection.”
Manfredo used More + Merrier to host her daughter’s 10th birthday and was able to walk through the order with her daughter.
“I selected — with the help of my daughter, of course — paper plates, napkins and a cake topper that fit her style,” Manfredo said. “Then, I used the party kit, which included votives, vases and decorative items to style the table where the cake and snacks were located. More + Merrier provided me with ideas for which flowers to use and how to pull it all together.”
Manfredo added that Ben-Zeev donates a portion of the proceeds to charity.
Ben-Zeev hopes to eventually collaborate with other Mercer Island businesses and is currently looking at doing a pop up at a Mercer Island boutique.
“Pinterest is great for ideas, but More + Merrier makes them a reality,” Manfredo said. “I may see something I like online as inspiration, but I don’t know where to find those items or have the time to look for them. Stephanie takes the guesswork out of it.”