Taking flight

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    The vibrant pink flower arrangements by the door immediately set this shop apart from the other businesses in the shopping center on the corner of Forest Park Boulevard and Park Hill Avenue.

    Customers are greeted by a spicy, yet sweet aroma and a shop filled with merchandise, from picture frames to candles and jewelry to games.

    Feathers, a shop that sells what owner Rachelle Norman describes as, “fanciful gifts, accessories and home decor,” opened in 2003.

    Opening her own business was never in Norman’s plans. After graduating from TCU in 2001 with an advertising/public relations degree, she struggled to find a place to work. In an economy affected by Sept. 11, it was difficult to find jobs in advertising and public relations, she said.

    During that time, Norman, a Fort Worth native, said she started making gifts for friends, such as embellished picture frames. From that, grew a small business.

    “Once people started buying those things, then I started looking more at other things I could buy and sell to complement the things I was making,” Norman said.

    Norman’s business officially started in January 2002 out of her home. She sold her work at holiday gift shows until she opened her store.

    Norman had no business background and relied on the counsel of others and trial-and-error as she started her business. Although Norman said she was prepared to handle the marketing side of the business, accounting and economics classes would have been helpful.

    “I wish now I had taken some business classes, but I didn’t ever foresee this happening,” she said.

    Despite Norman’s lack of business experience, Fort Worth Star-Telegram advertising representative Sallie Mitchell, who has worked with Norman for five years, said Norman is mature and business smart.

    Owning a business has its challenges, Norman said. Her work is always on her mind.

    “It’s almost like having a child. You can’t leave it with someone you can’t trust,” she said.

    Her mother is her silent partner. Although she’s not involved in everyday aspects of the business, she helps choose merchandise and set up displays, Norman said. When she is in the store, she is popular with customers.

    Norman said she has a loyal customer base. She said her desire for them is to feel at home in her store, and she takes time to learn about the customers and what they like.

    The name Feathers is inspired by Psalm 91:4, a Bible verse Norman grew up with: “He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.”

    Norman said she wanted the name to be fun and unique, but also meaningful. It reflects the spiritual side Norman said her store has.

    She said that she has no specific standard for merchandise, but tries to look for items with a spiritual nature, like angels or inspirational quotes.

    “Something that touches their heart in some way,” Norman said.