Few of us truly follow our passions in life, but when the opportunity to do so presented itself to Jorge Fernandez and Simon Veeren, the couple took a leap together to launch their own business, built on a shared passion. The two met at a bar in 1999, each having moved to Dallas three years prior—Fernandez was from Monterrey, Mexico, while Veeren had relocated from New Jersey. In 2001, when Veeren’s corporate computer job was made redundant, the couple decided that, rather than look for more of the same, they would forge a different future for themselves. “We affirmed our relationship and started the journey of our lives together in the professional field, as well,” says Fernandez, who previously worked as a dentist. “It was a very intimidating decision, but it has been the best experience in our lives.”
Launching Dulce Consignment in October 2001, the partners decided to open a consignment store with modern, contemporary furniture and art, filling a void in the market. “During that time, there were many consignment stores selling antiques and traditional furniture but not modern,” Fernandez notes. “This was our first store and our first adventure in the retail business. We had some knowledge of furniture and art as a passion, but we both came from completely different backgrounds.”
Despite their lack of experience in retail and business ownership, Dulce has seen more than two decades of success, offering a unique selection of beautiful furniture and décor at excellent prices and in a relaxed environment where customer service is top of mind. Their selection is curated through a process that vets pieces initially solicited to them by individuals, showrooms and artists, taking into consideration a piece’s design, functionality, quality and style as well as how it fits the overall concept of the store. “Our inventory changes on a regular basis—I would go so far as to say it changes daily,” Veeren notes.
Their combined sensibilities and discerning eye for great design are, in Fernandez and Veeren’s estimation, the key to their success. “I believe that our customers choose us because of our well-curated selection of merchandise and great prices,” Fernandez says.
Dulce’s selection is, indeed, diverse, ranging from larger pieces to small decorative items—all of which tend toward mid-century, contemporary or ultramodern in their design. Sofas, beds, office furniture, even lighting and art are available in Dulce’s collection, and there is something for every room. “In general, we sell everything you need for your home and office,” Veeren says. “However, sofas, dining tables, chairs and wall art are the items we sell faster, as these are essential in all homes.”
Dulce works directly with consumers and designers, both locally and nationally, to find the perfect pieces for their needs, and Veeren and Fernandez’s dedication to meeting the demands of their clients is both their challenge and their charge. To do this, they must keep their finger on the pulse of trends. “The trends are always changing, and they always have a cycle,” says Fernandez. “In our case, we keep up with it by attending design shows and events in addition to consulting books and magazines to gain insights and inspiration. We do our research so that we can keep a selection that is always current.”
In addition to its vast stock of furniture and décor, Dulce also comprises an in-store gallery, offering art in all media types, from paintings and wall art to freestanding sculptures. “We have a fantastic selection of pieces of art,” says Fernandez. “Some come directly from the artist, and others are from the personal collections of customers who, for whatever reason, need to find new homes for their art. As much as they may love those pieces, it is impossible to fit them in the new home or integrate with their new décor. Because of this, we have an incredible collection of abstract and figurative art with all the extent of techniques.” A number of artists have been exhibiting their pieces at Dulce since the store opened. “We have pieces of art by local, national and international artists,” Veeren says. “We always support the emerging, talented local artists.”
In their years of owning Dulce, Fernandez and Veeren have faced a number of challenges—from the recession of 2008 to the more recent closures during the pandemic—but they have weathered the storms. “The recession of 2008 hit us harder economically, although dealing with COVID was a more intense challenge as we were concerned about the general world health issue and the uncertainty of meeting the needs of the world population,” says Fernandez. “After the close-out passed, we kept very strict protection measurements for our customers and our employees. When we reopened, we were so fortunate for the absolute support of our customers. They are the reason we can do what we do and have been able to follow our passion.” *
Liesel Schmidt lives in Navarre, Florida, and works as a freelance writer for local and regional magazines. She is also a web content writer and book editor. Follow her on Twitter at @laswrites or download her novels, Coming Home to You, The Secret of Us and Life Without You, at amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com.