2020 has been a funny year hasn't it? Lot's of independents have experienced the true highs and lows of being business owners but like many, we're thrilled to have the doors to our bricks and mortar store located in Didcot back open again.
So much has changed in the last six months that we've taken the opportunity to reflect and reset and we have so many exciting things to come including lots of festive treats and of course, more lush green goodies from our 'Green and Wild' plant range.
Since it's been a while since we said a proper hello, we're jumping firmly back into the blogging world with an introduction to founder of Feather and Nest, Angela who tells us all about her fascinating story as well as her top picks from the shop.
Hey Angela, tell us a bit about how Feather and Nest came about?
I’ve been a retail buyer for 20+ years for various big high street retailers, developing & sourcing own label products for big brands. I’ve worked across many different product categories including fashion, childrenswear and home accessories but I’ve always been really into home & interiors and so a big portion of my career has been spent developing & buying home accessories.
I loved my job and the amazing places it took me, but I always wanted to buy for my own shop, and have my own brand that reflected me and what I liked.
I started a little side hustle (well over 10 years ago now), developing my own ranges of textiles & jewellery with an Indian supplier that I had formed a really good relationship with during my years as a buyer, and began selling my creations at craft markets and on Not on the High street.
That progressed to starting my own website (which is how I met my husband, as he designed my first website!) and that eventually progressed to my own bricks and mortar store which I opened in 2015.
I’ve had various names and re-brands over the years before settling on Feather and Nest, and it’s crazy how my taste has changed so much when I think back to what I was developing & selling in the beginning
And for any customers who haven't been to the store yet, tell us a bit about it?
Well firstly, the name Feather and Nest came about, because I wanted something to reflect what it meant to make a house a home, ‘feathering your nest’ filling it with things that you love, that make you happy and add your personality to your home. I wanted my brand to reflect my personality, my likes and things that make me laugh, and to share those with a wider audience.
Our first store was in Wallingford in Oxfordshire, in a Grade II listed building, which at the time was the perfect backdrop to our product collections.
We opened a second store in Didcot at the end of 2018, initially as 6 month pop up in a brand new outdoor shopping centre, and this is now our main store after making the decision not to re-open Wallingford post the Covid lock down.
We are surrounded by some big names in Didcot and we are the only independent retailer sitting alongside H&M, River Island, M&S and more. The modern look & feel of our Dicot store most definitely reflects our brand perfectly and I can really see how we have evolved over the last 5 years.
The store is packed full of so many amazing makers and independents, tell us, what are your top picks right now?
I'm also loving our new cushions from Nkuku, made from recycled plastic bottles, these are part of our new Autumn collection Nordic Wood. I love the striking geometric design and monochrome colours.
We have stocked Nkuku right from the start of opening our store, they create beautiful hand-made products and are a fair trade brand supporting artisans around the globe.
And you also have a hand in designing your own in-house range, tell us about that?
Yes, some of products are designed in house by myself and the team, we have a range of products in our Nordic Wood story which depict beautiful woodland illustrations drawn by Eirini, she is an illustrator that also works part time in the store.
Our instore graphics are all designed in house as well as some cool salvaged denim tote bags printed with neon and glitter stars.
During lockdown, your own brand 'Green and Wild' which is stocked in store and packed full of the most amazing plants has been very successful, please tell us a bit about that?
I was a notorious plant killer, and I didn’t keep houseplants for years because of that! My interest in houseplants was re-ignited when I started selling ready made terrariums about 3 years ago that were made by a local seller, they sold really well and I thought well I can have a go at this myself!
So my buying skills kicked in and I started researching, sourcing and making my own plant arrangements, they sold well too and so it grew from there. I created my own branding and added more house plants to the ranges over the past year or so.
During lockdown when the shops were both closed, I really started to educate myself fully about houseplant care, the varieties of houseplants and started to expand the range of plants we offer. I also completely re-branded Green & Wild, developed new plant care cards, overhauled the website and learned how to pack, wrap and ship plants! I shipped just over 600 plants online during lockdown, each one wrapped & packed by me!
Speaking of Green and Wild, if you were any plant from the range, which would you be?
I would have to go with a Devil's Ivy, these are pretty tough resilient plants that will grow in any conditions, you can stick them in a cupboard in the dark and they would still flourish. These are qualities you need to have to run a business, particularly a retail one. It's tough going and to have made it to 5 years, must mean I'm pretty resilient!
We couldn’t agree more Angela. If you haven’t been to the store yet then there’s never been a better time to shop all of the amazing products featured in this blog and you can even say hi to Angela too.
Have any more questions? Pop them in the comments below and we’ll try our best to answer them.
*Interview conducted by Nerrisa from Untld Project.