This month we catch up with Angela from independent store Feather and Nest in Wallingford, Oxfordshire.
Prior to opening the shop in October 2015, Angela worked as a retail Buyer. In a career spanning over 20 years, she has worked for high street retailers including Laura Ashley, Next, Bhs and most recently Waitrose.
Tell us a little bit about how you came to open your own shop...
I have developed and bought own brand products including home accessories, textiles, children's interiors and most recently children's and baby clothing for Waitrose. I've been very lucky to be able to travel to lots of far flung places sourcing products, but I've always had the ambition to have my own store. To be able to buy and retail products that reflect my taste is really rewarding, especially when you receive lots of compliments. In a nutshell the store is full of products that I love and that make me laugh. I am gathering a bit of a reputation for my range of funny cards, it's great to hear people laughing at the humour!
The store itself has been described as a ‘little slice of London’ and a ‘magical store’ by our lovely customers, who are becoming regular visitors. We are located in the pretty riverside town of Wallingford in a beautiful old listed building steeped with character. We pride ourselves on being different, and offering cool, tasteful stuff for you and your home.We are great believers in products that that tell a story about you and bring your home to life. We love things that have personality, a sense of fun about them and simply make you feel happy. Our aim is to bring you the best of everything in home & lifestyle products.
Why did you choose to open in Wallingford?
We had been looking for premises for about 6 months when we stumbled upon the listed building in the beautiful riverside town, previously an antique shop. Although we didn't know the area well Wallingford seemed lovely, and being on the doorstep to Henley we knew it was good location. To be honest we fell in love with the building despite it needing a lot of TLC. It's got so much character and we knew it was the perfect back drop to our products. We have an original bakers oven in just one of the feature fire places, there are 3 in total. It has lovely old beams and exposed brick walls, so it has a a bit of on industrial feel to it as well as old charm.
It's a nice big space with a mini secret outdoor yard (below) in the centre which we open up in the summer, our customers love wandering around the shop and the building itself is a great draw for people.
Tell us about a special moment for Feather and Nest.
Our Christmas launch evening last Christmas was pretty special for us, it was also a celebration of our 2nd birthday and we had lots of regulars, friends & family in for an evening of shopping & bubbles. It was great fun and a good way to get into the festive spirit. We are planning a similar event for our Summer launch, it's going to be a Californian pool party theme, and we are transforming our yard into a mini beach for the event, we are looking forward to that!
Have you had any surprise bestsellers?
We have learned so much over the past 2 & half years about what our customers like and don't like, we've been pretty lucky to get most of it right! Probably the biggest surprise for us is how popular our own brand of plants & cacti have sold 'Green & Wild' (above). It's been hard to keep up with demand!
What's next for Feather and Nest?
Our big focus at the moment is growing our online sales, we've started off well, but we are putting a lot of energy into getting Feather and Nest known as an independant online store and brand. Then who knows what the future holds, another store would be great maybe in a couple of years time.