Labors of love

Jim and Betsy Perry take the phrase “two-career” couple in a whole different direction.

Jim and Betsy Perry, a Greenwich couple, are the parents of seven — three boys, two dogs and two businesses.

In 2014, Betsy co-founded The Local Vault, an online marketplace for new and pre-owned luxury furniture, with WAG alumna Patricia Espinosa. Three years later, Jim launched Belly and Body, a boxing workout studio in Riverside, with Jonathan Edmond. In true Greenwich fashion, Edmond had become Jim’s personal trainer after meeting Betsy in the parking lot at a Cosi restaurant. After a long career at Viacom Inc., Jim decided to follow his passion for boxing.

Betsy has always had an interest in interior design. Her sisters were both designers and she worked at a furniture company in college. Although she entered a career in event planning and sports marketing, The Local Vault — which WAG first introduced readers to in our November 2014 issue — would allow her to pursue her passion for design. 

“We noticed a need in the marketplace. If someone redecorates, relocates or downsizes, they often have beautiful furniture that they need to sell,” Betsy said.

With furniture sourced from private sellers, designers and retailers from the tristate area, Palm Beach and Boston, The Local Vault lists new arrivals weekly. With pieces personally vetted by the business’ team, listings feature brands such as Ralph Lauren, Restoration Hardware and Rose Tarlow.

The website artfully displays the new and pre-owned pieces with crisp white backgrounds alongside photographs of beautifully designed rooms. With furniture that is antique, vintage and new, there is something for every taste. Each listing presents a straightforward description of the piece as well as its age and condition.

One of the perks of selling through The Local Vault is that although it does offer storage for clients, sellers can keep their items with them so they don’t lose possession of their furniture until the point of sale. 

“It’s comforting to a lot of people, because with traditional consignment, you’d have to get it to the brick and mortar store,” Betsy says. Transporting a designer sofa to a store isn’t always the easiest task, so the business arranges local transportation to help both buyer and seller through the process.

“We were told five years ago that no one is going to buy a sofa online. Well, now everyone is buying furniture online,” Betsy said.

Thanks to couture-selling websites like The Real Real — which WAG wrote about in the September 2017 issue — people are much more comfortable buying second-hand luxury items online. Not only are people more inclined to buy  consigned goods than to pay full retail prices, but purchasing pre-owned furniture is also better for the environment. 

“It’s been a labor of love,” Betsy says.

Jim could say the same for Belly and Body.

“I’ve always loved boxing. Even growing up, just watching boxing,” Jim says.

“Watching Muhammad Ali,” Betsy adds.

Belly and Body classes consist of three 15-minute rounds involving warm-ups, boxing, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and more. With only 10 participants and one instructor, the class setting is quite intimate, enabling the instructor to give you one-on-one feedback to help you be as efficient as possible during the 45-minute session. 

“It came at a great time, too,” Betsy says. “People are so much more into HIIT now and not just going out and running 10 miles,” she adds of the full-body workout that burns fat and builds muscle. “They understand the benefits.”

With boxing chains cropping up nationwide, Belly and Body is riding a cresting wave. The studio has built up a loyal following and now offers personal training. It’s preparing to launch children’s programs as well as expand its existing class schedule.

“We certainly want to perfect the business and the process and the product,” Jim says. He hopes to one day open new studios, possibly in Westport or Westchester.

Jim and Betsy have less time off and less time to travel though they always make time to bounce ideas off each other. Though they work hard it’s as if they’re hardly working.

Or as Betsy says, “If you love what you do, it doesn’t feel like work.”

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