Home furnishings retailers Ben Moore and Jimson D’Souza turn a pandemic passion project into an entrepreneurial endeavor in downtown Collingswood.
By Matt Skoufalos | July 16, 2021
When Ben Moore moved to Cherry Hill from Louisiana at 22, he was looking for a change.
It was the first of a few big moves he’d eventually make on the East Coast, followed by a relocation to Center City, Philadelphia, where he met his husband, Jimson D’Souza, and then back to South Jersey, when the couple bought their Collingswood home at the onset of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
“We chose Collingswood because it’s a mix between the suburban life and the urban life,” Moore said.
“I wanted to move to a place where I didn’t have to drive [but would] be able to hop on the train and go into the city any time I wanted.”
At the time, Moore was a clinical risk manager, having completed a master’s degree in healthcare administration, while D’Souza worked in developing cancer therapy drugs. Together with their rescue hound, Bourbon, the couple began to feather their new nest. They were immediately struck by how a few small style tweaks made the house feel so much more inviting.
“I think it’s really important to turn your home into a spa-like sanctuary,” he said. “That is where you’re able to recharge; if you don’t have that, you’re really missing out.”
Applying his sense of space and design to the couple’s new home, Moore soon discovered how much of a knack he had for décor, which fully complemented D’Souza’s handyman skillset.
In the countless hours the two spent together during the pandemic, they found the seeds of a business idea.
“I realized I love doing this, and I want to do this full time,” Moore said.
“I no longer have to prove myself to anybody, and now it’s time to tap into my creativity.”
Moore called up his sister, Dawn Smith, who taught him the ropes of the family furniture business, and took him to the Las Vegas Market home furnishings expo in April.
In six days, he’d curated an inventory of high-end pieces that would become the first seven vignettes of the couple’s home furnishings shop at 686 Haddon Avenue in Collingswood.
They named it Everette Wilson, a mashup of Moore’s and D’Souza’s middle names.
“We wanted to make sure that we found things that are special, and will speak to people, and it’s not something that you can go online and buy,” Moore said.
“We are the only store around that sells new furniture, and we wanted to make sure that we provide things people in South Jersey can purchase without having to go to Philadelphia.”
Growing up with a mom who operated her own salon, Moore honed a feel for cosmetic trends.
Leveraging that experience with D’Souza’s science background, the two co-developed Everette Wilson Body, a line unisex fragrances, beard balms and oils, and hair products that they also retail in the shop.
“I love the evolution of transformation,” Moore said.
“It just takes a few tweaks here and there to really transform your mood.”
Perhaps the most striking transformation under the couple’s belt is that of the storefront in which the shop is located.
After gutting the space, replacing its lighting fixtures, restocking and restaging it, Moore and D’Souza have created a retail experience that showcases their design ethos in top form.
“It just takes a few cool, interesting, unique pieces to make your space pop,” Moore said.
Everette Wilson Designs is located at 686 Haddon Avenue in Collingswood.
Hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, and Monday and Tuesday by appointment only. For more information, call 856-240-7482 or visit everettewilsondesigns.com.
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