We are continuing our Bergen County Mom on a Mission Series by highlighting local M.O.M.s we awe and adore. Meet Ridgewood mom and shop owner Michelle Feagles: Seattle transplant, wife to former Giant Punter Jeff Feagles, and mom to Zach (14), Trevor (17), Blake (20), and CJ (23).
Michelle sat down with Dining Editor (and neighbor) Carla Sullivan to talk shop.
Q: How did you end up in Bergen County?
A: When Jeff signed with the Giants, we were living in Seattle with small children. The head coach of the Giants at the time, Jim Fassel’s, wife was a teacher and recommended Ridgewood.
Q: How would you describe your store, Town Home & Garden?
A: It’s definitely a reflection of me. If you walked into my house you would think it was my shop and vice versa. I have 5 men in my life, so there is always a rustic feel but then I am drawn to the golden Hollywood Regency pieces as well. It must be the feminine side of me. Some people might say its eclectic – but I think that word is so overused in the decorating world. I’d say a hand-curated collection of great pieces – all one of a kind.
Q: What drew you to open this type of store?
A: I have lived in 25 houses, following my husband around the country. I was constantly buying and selling furniture, always on the lookout for pieces that were interesting and vintage. I never wanted to buy things that were new, initially for economic purposes but then mainly because I found I loved finding things that are different and unique with a history. I have so much fun doing it! I think everyone should be able to have beautiful things. I provide something for everyone at Town – at varying costs and that makes me feel good.
Q: What are some of the challenges you faced when opening the store?
A: We looked at a lot of real estate for the past three years, but rents were very high. But then we found this space – and had to put a lot of work into it but it worked. I’d say my biggest panic once we signed the lease was if I was going to have enough “stuff”. But I think when you come visit you see that has not been an issue.
Q: How do you balance family and your business?
A: It’s not a big deal. My kids are all in school all day and my husband’s schedule is very flexible. It’s really not a juggle, which is why I waited so long. I always wanted to do something 110% and did not want it to take away from my family. Its very manageable. I have “me” time. I live 5 minutes from my shop. I can make dinner at night. And Jeff and my children are so supportive and proud of what I have accomplished here. They pick up pieces, work a few hours in the shop here and there. It has all come along so beautifully.
Q: How do you see your business evolving?
A: A website is definitely next. I want to have a strong on-line presence. I’m fascinated by what is going on with decorating on the Internet. I’m not here to make millions of dollars. Honestly, I went into it thinking I hope to make my rent payment. I want it to succeed, obviously, and I’m happy to have a handful of people come in every day. I’m very happy and thankful that I have been given an opportunity to do what I love.
Q: What advice would you give to other women looking to go into business for themselves?
A: I’m very passionate about telling people to find what they love and go for it. Of course you have to have the opportunity, plan, strategize…Everyone has something that they are good at, find it and DO it!
Q: What is your greatest pleasure when reflecting on Town Home and Garden?
A: It has been a fantastic journey. The support of my family and so many people throughout the process has blown me away. Town is so personal. I am happy when someone buys something because I hope that they like it as much as I did when I saw it. They are giving my pieces a new home. I love that.