The fashion industry is notoriously difficult to get into. But it seems Cecelia Feathers knew exactly what it needed when she launched her budding accessories brand, Plume, back in June.
A trip to the Fort Lauderdale Mall on the hunt for a trendy choker necklace left Feathers dismayed as she met the $80 price tag. That’s what inspired a budget-friendly DIY that would later turn into her business.
“I went to the craft store, made my own, wore it out on Cinco de Mayo, and this girl came up to me and was like, ‘Oh my god, where did you get that?’” After explaining that she made it herself, the girl offered Feathers $30 for it on the spot. That’s when Feathers realized she might be onto something.
She did as any entrepreneur does and noticed a void in the market. Feathers wanted to provide an affordable alternative for the expensive necklaces like those she saw at the mall.
“It just started in my head that I should start selling these; I should start making them myself.”
“I’ve always been that savvy shopper; I’ve always been one to look for deals and never buy things full price,” explains Feathers who admittedly will only thrift her denim. “I think that whole mindset has brought me through everything I’ve done with Plume.”
Photo by Mohammed F Emran
Pieces range from $10 to $25 and are all handmade by Feathers. With a neutral color scheme and minimalist styles, the pieces offer an effortless look that can be dressed up or down. They’re also quality pieces made with real and faux leather which Feathers learned to properly work with during a one-on-one session with a Miami-based leathersmith.
“We’re not trying to be super glitzy, in your face,” she explains. “This is such a street style; it’s all super versatile.”
Her “simple, trendy and chic” designs have since caught the eye of the South Florida market and are quickly gaining traction beyond the Sunshine State. In less than four months, Plume has made over 500 sales, sold out at local art and trade shows, collabed with Florida Atlantic’s Delta Phi Epsilon (Feathers’ sorority), made its way into its first boutique and been featured in OK! Magazine – a national publication.
Photo by Mohammed F Emran
But while she never imagined herself at the helm of a fashion startup, Feathers’ history in the industry is just as impressive as her natural entrepreneurship. She’s interned at Miami magazine, helped work a Miami Swim Week fashion show and interned at Bloomingdales where she helped produce a DKNY fashion show and Roberto Coin trunk show.
“When I look back on it, I don’t feel like I was like, ‘Oh, I want to be in fashion.’ But, now, I guess I kind of always was.”
In addition, she began working as a Red Bull girl in 2012, where she discovered her passion for marketing and branding. In 2015, she graduated from Florida Atlantic University with a degree in marketing, which helped land her a job at a marketing and branding agency where she works full time.
With her job and her responsibilities at Plume, life sometimes gets a tad chaotic for 23-years-old Feathers. She has nearly perfected the scheduling balance between all of her commitments – work from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., go to the gym, two hours of Plume everyday – but that doesn’t mean she never gets stressed.
“I became an owner of a company, a creative director, an event specialist and a web developer. It’s me; it’s everything,” says Feathers. “I’m wearing all these different hats for this one company and it may seem so small, but it’s so much more of a big deal.”
However, Feathers isn’t slowing down. She is currently working with the luxury swimwear brand, Ola Feroz, on an Ola-exclusive, high-end line under Plume, and hopes to bring in some trustworthy people to help her with production.
Her eyes are also set on what’s down the road. “Moving forward, my dream is to have a hybrid shop of local stuff and half coffee shop,” she explains. “That’s where I see myself going in the future, but we’ll see. That’s very far in the future.”
As for now, this fashion nova is keeping balanced by making time for herself with an occasional gin and soda to keep her company.
“I’m a runner. I try to run at least four miles a day. That’s just how I relax,” she elaborates. “I will also clean my entire house and organize my closet after running just to make sure I have everything together and feel prepared.”
Feathers’ own closet definately mirrors the minimalistic and chic vibe of her accessory line.
“Everything in my wardrobe is leather, denim, black and nude. So, I tried to make stuff that went with every outfit I had and built a platform from that.”
Her style is also inspired by designers like Dylan Lex. “I love her stuff even though it’s nothing like mine. She’s over the top and flashy, where I’m more basic and minimalistic, but, she’s very true to herself and her brand, and I love that.”
As for now, Feathers is just trying to take it all in and serving as major career goals for other women with a passion for business. She says, “Right now, I’m just so in the motions and I take myself and I’m looking at this whole thing from above and I’m like, ‘This is a thing. This is happening. This is weird, and I’m doing it.’”