When Vera Kessler became pregnant early last year, she was the first one of her friends to do so, and she had little knowledge of what to expect over the course of her pregnancy and beyond. Sure, there were countless books and websites, and lots of people around offering advice, but she still felt inadequately informed, and that made her nervous.
"I was sick throughout my pregnancy and I didn't have anyone to go to for up-to-date resources," says the Scarsdale resident. "I was pretty much on my own.
"After I gave birth, I didn't want other mothers to go through what I went through," she continues. "I conceived the idea of helping other moms become educated about their pregnancy and childbirth experience."
And so, not long after she gave birth to her now 9-month-old son Jeremy, her business — Nursery 101 — was also born.
The all-purpose baby consulting business started up in July, to provide pregnant women and new mothers with resources such as where to go for breastfeeding and infant CPR classes, and where to find the best products to fit their needs.
"It's designed to save mothers time and energy so they can focus on their babies," Kessler, 31, explains. "I've done hours and hours of research. Take a baby crib, for example. I will talk to a client and determine the best crib for their needs. For an additional fee, I'll go out and buy it."
Nursery 101 charges $25 per category of assistance, which includes a personal consultation at the parent's home, all the research, and the final decision. They will even help assemble items such as swings, baby seats and toys, which can save hours of time and frustration — commodities Kessler has learned the value of, especially now that she's running her own company.
Formerly an elementary school and preschool teacher, Kessler always wanted to start a business.
"I really love kids and I did enjoy teaching, but this is another chapter of my life," she says. "I am learning how to balance the baby with the business. I'm lucky I have my parents to help me when I'm out at a client's house. When I'm in my home office, it's just a matter of juggling."
Her time management prowess includes doing work on the phone and computer while she's feeding, changing and playing with her son. And her husband, Jason, has taken notice. "I'm impressed that my wife is doing something that she loves that makes other people happy," he says.
Although her initial clients were in Westchester, Nursery 101 has already expanded into the New York metropolitan area, with mothers in Connecticut and Manhattan using her services. One of her specialties is preparing the nursery.
"Vera came to clean and organize my nursery when I needed help the most," says Anne Marie Pineiro, a recent client who lives in Somers. "She focused on getting the nursery ready while I took care of my baby. Having her help me made being a new mom a bit easier."
Another service the company provides is writing thank-you notes. Between the baby shower, all the gifts the little one receives, and then the child's first birthday, there are a lot of cards to be written in one year.
"Writing thank-you notes is one of our most popular services," Kessler says. "Let's face it, people hate writing them. Plus, once the baby arrives, it's so hard to find the time to do something like that. Nursery 101 can take care of everything."
The company is also known for creating organic gift baskets. "A lot of people want a creative gift for a baby shower and this has been selling really well," she says. "You can find organic food, but it's difficult to get organic clothes."
Even though both are still in their early stages, Kessler is excited to watch her business and her son grow.
"I hope to be helping as many new moms as I can and expanding the business," she says. "I see the need for this type of service, especially in the city. A lot of moms work. It's very difficult for new moms who are exhausted to do research and organize and be ready. That's where I can help."