Andie Cohen-Healy, founder of The Feathered Head, started out her career in the entertainment industry having worked as an executive for well-known entertainment brands such as MTV. However, when she was gifted with backyard chickens, she found a new calling in a completely unexpected field. Cohen-Healy used the stray chicken feathers to create custom headpieces. While her business took a while to get off the ground, it helped her realize a previously unknown passion.
Founding her business
While working as a satellite executive in the television industry, Cohen-Healy found a passion for fashion when she began making head pieces. Although she had no background in the fashion business, she used her other talents to stand out. She states, “Always having been interested in architecture, I think I developed an eye for compelling angles and shapes, and I’m a texture maniac. I’ve also been intrigued by how fashion can bring out one’s individuality and personality in a unique way. That’s what I try to do with my headpieces; to reflect a woman’s sense of herself and help her to feel beautiful.”
Building an accessories business is difficult because the industry is so competitive that it can be hard to stand out. However, The Feathered Head got a boost when one of Cohen-Healy’s pieces was featured on the Today Show during the Royal Wedding. This opportunity came about through PR and networking. “When I started taking The Feathered Head seriously, I hired a PR professional who helped small businesses, and through her efforts, combined with a ‘friend of a friend’ who worked there, I was told they needed a feathered hat for the Kathy Lee & Hoda segment with Louis Licari and Jill Martin, titled ‘Royal Wedding Ambush.’ The opportunity came out of nowhere, and I literally had one day to gather a variety of hats that they might like.”
While the Today Show segment allowed Cohen-Healy to focus solely on her new business, she still needed to maintain a steady clientele. She decided to use the following approach, “My clients fall into a few very distinct and different categories, so I try to go where they are. I meet them at the market and design shows I do, such as Disney Dapper Day for vintage lovers, Burlesque Hall of Fame or at offbeat bridal shows. I also obtain new clients from my e-commerce website, www.TheFeatheredHead.com via organic search engine optimization, social media platforms and good old fashion word-of-mouth referrals.”
Many entrepreneurial people let inexperience stop them from pursuing their business ideas, but making use of their passion and existing contacts can help increase their chances of success. Cohen-Healy found inspiration in an unexpected way, and has used it to create a successful business from the ground up.
This article was written by Alaina Brandenburger of Examiner.com for CBS Small Business Pulse.