Today we’d like to introduce you to Andie Cohen-Healy.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
My story is an odd one, to say the least! I’m one of the few people who can honestly say that chickens changed the direction of my life. I basically went from the corporate world of television to being a feather artisan…. definitely not your typical career path! And I’m quite sure that my academic training consisting of a Radio-TV-Film degree from Northwestern University did not prepare me for it! The “short” version is that I moved to Los Angeles from New York City, where I had been the Director of Satellite Operations at MTV Networks, to be with my (then) fiancé, who is now my husband.
When we bought our house in the Pasadena area, we were inexplicably gifted 2 baby chickens by the sellers. As a New Yorker, I had no earthly idea what to do with chickens. But I fell madly in love with them and they became an important part of my life. When it was time to get married, I knew, since I was a “later-in-life” bride, that I had no interest in a poufy-foofy generic bridal veil. I wanted something that represented my personality and confidence, something with a bit of whimsy but also very elegant. I burst out laughing when I saw a bridal magazine picture of a woman walking down the aisle with a chicken in her arms…that was my “AHA” moment! I decided to incorporate our beloved chickens’ lovely, naturally-molted feathers into my bridal headpiece when we got married in the Berkshire Mountains of Massachusetts. I crafted a unique and beautiful fascinator comprised of organza petals, pearl sprays and chicken feathers…and people went crazy over it. Requests for others like it started coming in. I decided to launch ‘The Feathered Head’ as a small business and e-commerce site offering elegant one-of-a-kind bridal and cocktail headpieces incorporating feathers, vintage jewelry and unusual elements. I eventually added vintage hats that I thought to be special to the collection. It was mostly as an artistic distraction from my day job in which I was not happy (though still in the satellite business, I was no longer at MTV once I moved to LA). But I was also serious about seeing what I could do with this odd concept and inherently knew there were other women who would want something as personal to them as my chicken feather fascinator was to me. So, recognizing current backyard chicken craze, feather-mania and headpiece resurgence due to Kate Middleton, timing was perfect. One vintage hat restoration even made it to The Today Show during the Royal Wedding week and was worn on a Kathie Lee & Hoda segment — it became the turning point. As success grew, I became so passionate about The Feathered Head that I took a total leap of faith, quit my soul-sucking day job in television and have been dedicated to The Feathered Head full-time since.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
As with all entrepreneurial ventures, having my own small business is wonderful, maddening, enriching, exhausting and everything in between. It can be terrifying not bringing in a weekly paycheck and that fear can be paralyzing. But I’ve learned to move beyond it and thrive. You know that saying “Life Begins at the End of your Comfort Zone?” I embrace that every day, especially when it’s a hard or disappointing day. Being my own boss means I have to do 17 different jobs, 15 of which I have to teach myself just before I attempt the task. But every day I get to be creative and have the honor of making women feel beautiful. I celebrate my clients’ individuality and in doing so, elevate my own understanding of people. My worst day now, as my own boss, is better than the best day in my old job. What I do now makes me feel alive, authentic and vibrant. I deeply care about what I’m doing and the people I’m doing it for…that is true happiness and success to me. My lifestyle is healthier because my entire outlook on “work” became one of joy, curiosity and excitement. What more could you ask for? Plus, I get to hang out with my chickens in my studio!
Please tell us about The Feathered Head.
Inspired by past images of elegance when women of style dressed for dining, travel and parties, The Feathered Head offers an exciting array of custom-designed, hand-crafted and one-of-a-kind modern and vintage headpieces including fascinators, headbands, combs, clips and veils. Our meticulously curated vintage hat collection has been known to make grown women weep! Incorporated into the unique hair ornaments in our Cocktail and Bridal Collections are unexpected embellishments such as soft, luminous feathers, vintage jewelry & millinery, textural flowers, quills, Swarovski crystals and mixed media. Our pieces, with their luxe materials, iridescence and movement, enhance a woman’s sense of style, celebrate life, fashion and fun and thus are perfect for all occasions:
Black Tie and Cocktail Parties
Holiday and Special events
A Day at the Races (Kentucky Derby, Ascot, etc)
Make-Ups & Break-Ups
Any time, any day
In addition to offering one-of-a-kind headpieces, vintage hats and accessories for parties, The Feathered Head specializes in custom-designed and gently restored vintage wedding headpieces for brides, mother-of-the-bride and attendants for the wedding day and surrounding events (engagement party, showers, rehearsal dinner, etc). Using a bride’s sense of style, level of formality, colors, theme and overall desires as my guide, I can create a commissioned piece or suggest options currently available in our online Bridal Collection. Dedicated to offering my clients the most personalized service possible by closely working one-on-one, I am not satisfied until I have created the perfect expression of each bride’s individuality and vision of her wedding day. That’s what sets The Feathered Head apart from nameless, faceless companies. I AM my company so my service and quality of craftsmanship has to be just that good!
I feel such tremendous pride when I see a bride wearing a piece I’ve designed in her wedding. That is an honor beyond compare. There’s something special that happens when a woman finds the perfect headpiece, be it custom, vintage or modern retro…I’ve seen clients actually cry when they look at themselves wearing something they think they never could, or should, wear…but when they put it on they realize that “this is so me!” It’s as if they’ve given themselves permission to go outside their box and have fun! I encourage my clients to “Be Your OWN Event”, don’t wait for a special occasion. Go out there, wear something beautiful that you love and rock it!
Secondly, I’m proud that my business and my mission have been embraced by the press. The Feathered Head has been fortunate to be featured, in addition to The Today Show, on MSN.com, CBS Small Business Pulse, LA Times Style Section, Bloomingdales Pre-Wedding Party Event, More Magazine, Do What You Love, multiple national magazines and fashion & bridal blogs. We even had a write up in Backyard Chickens (you know you’ve arrived when that happens!)
Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
My parents were all about exposing my brother and me to other cultures when we were young so they made it a point to travel internationally with us from a young age. They encouraged us to explore, be open to “different” and pay attention to what we saw. One of my favorite childhood memories is being sent to live with an Italian family in Vicenza, Italy. Little did we know that this family owned a magnificent Palladian Villa nestled amongst olive groves. I can still taste the fresh vegetable and warm bread that was delivered every morning. It’s hard to believe by today’s standards that my parents would ship us off (I was 14, my brother 17) alone on a plane from New Jersey to Italy to stay with virtual strangers we had met by a pool the summer before and knew for only 3 days! My folks thought it would be an amazing experience…and it was! But that kind of thinking and interaction with other cultures introduced us to worlds unknown, fostered independence and planted the seed for my ongoing love of travel.
- Custom-designed headpieces: $150 – $600
- Website: www.thefeatheredhead.com
- Phone: 424-234-8070
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: www.instagram.com/thefeatheredhead.com
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/thefeatheredhead
- Other: www.youtube.com/thefeatheredhead
Tatum Kathleen Photography
Sabine Vollmer Von Falken Photography