Ashley Satchell - Featherfields
Tell us about yourself
I took over Featherfields in 2019, after moving back from living in Toronto for many years. I graduated from Photography at Fanshawe College, and over the years, I worked as a photographer in magazine publishing, in Engineering, and managing retail stores. I attained many skills working in such differing industries but came back to wanting to work with the public in some capacity and wanting a creative outlet. Purchasing Featherfields has been the perfect combination of all things I love! After weathering the (ongoing) pandemic, I opened a second Featherfields location in Wortley Village in September 2021. Along with my 1.5-year-old son Parker, our new puppy Georgie, and my amazing assistant (who happens to be my mother), I am busier than ever.
Tell us about your business
Featherfields has been in business for over 25 years now. The original owner was an ornithologist (study of birds) who opened the store in 1996, specializing in high-quality bird seed for wild birds, feeders, and gardening/backyard décor. Over the years, the store evolved into a one-stop shopping destination, specializing in Canadian-made gifts. Everything from home décor, local food items like maple syrup, and even greeting cards and stationery – all with a nature theme.
Has your business been impacted by COVID-19?
Yes, the business was greatly impacted due to reduced numbers, lockdowns, etc. We implemented delivery service, curbside pickup, and recently online shopping. We had to find new ways of operating, but our customers were happy to know we could still help them out, and we managed to pay the bills during such a difficult time.
What services/programs have you utilized at the London Small Business Centre and how have they helped your business?
The Small Business Centre has been such a wonderful resource. I received a Grant through them in 2021, and the weekly meetings we attended were a great opportunity for me to talk with other business owners in the city, bounce ideas off one another, and learn from the guest speakers.
What led you to start this business?
Being an entrepreneur has been in my blood all my life. I come from a family of female entrepreneurs who has always inspired me. I have always wanted the creative freedom of being my own boss. I dabbled in the idea of opening businesses, and when Featherfields was for sale, it was perfect timing for me.
As a busy entrepreneur, what do you like to do when you take a break?
My passion is travelling, and I cannot wait to get back to doing that. I find inspiration in the different cultures, architecture, art, and people I meet when I travel. I collect art and find it so inspiring. I also love to read, decorate, or do anything creative when I find the time.
What’s in the future for your business?
Our larger Featherfields location in Wortley Village has allowed us to expand in many areas, including future classes. We plan to add educational nature workshops for children, book reading events for both adults and children, and collaborations with other local businesses.
Learn more about Featherfields