Posted by Matilda Moir

Wingfield Digby is fast becoming a go-to for country lovers and interior enthusiasts. The company’s unique style has enabled it to grow rapidly within the UK’s luxury sector and has even generated Royal endorsement and recurring press recommendation. How you may ask? All down to the fantastic founder and director Alice Wingfield Digby, who has not only made the company what is it today but also juggles being a mother to the gorgeous Scarlett (2 ½) and Rupert (9 months). With Christmas fast approaching we wanted to pick Alice’s brains on how she does it, and the history behind the only luxury retail company to handcraft real game bird feathers under glass into all their designs.

 

When did you first have the idea to work with feathers?

Having grown up in the beautiful Hertfordshire countryside, I have always had a fascination for feathers and remember being mesmerised by their intricate markings. Textiles was a great love of mine at school and for me feathers are the most beautiful textile of all. The two interests culminated in the ideas of capturing and showcasing the beauty of feathers in luxury homewares.

 

What was the first item you started making?

Cock Pheasant feather coasters were one of my first projects. It took me a long time to crack them, they were rather fiddly and time-consuming and required a lot of patience. 

 

How rewarding did you find it in the early days?

Creating products that people love and want in their home was so exciting. I got such a buzz selling my first piece and I still find it very flattering now when I see my products in people’s homes. Our frames capture some of the most personal and special memories – often wedding days, christenings, special family memories; what an honour that our creations hold all those precious moments.

 

Over the past 8 years what has been the most defining moment in the progression of the company?

It’s hard to pick one as it has been such a journey. Being asked to exhibit at a private sale at Clarence House by invitation only of HRH Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall was a huge moment of recognition for us.  Opening the doors of our first store last year with our name above the door was very moving. Looking around the table at our team Christmas lunch last year, as a team of 10 was rather a ‘pinch yourself moment’. It has been a long journey with lots of highs, and years of hard work.

How to manage running such a successful business with two under 3’s?

I am so lucky to have such brilliant people around me. Not only a very talented team in the office but also a close-knit family who have pulled together to help. It would have been impossible without their encouragement and support.

The WD team is an extension of the family, we all become very close and work hard to support each other. In recent months, Rupert (9 months) has come to the office with me for meetings and in very happy being passed around the team. My parents who helped in the office during the busy Christmas season when I was heavily pregnant with Scarlett now look after her and my youngest Rupert whilst I work, so I know they are in the safest of hands. My husband Harry has been involved throughout, he designed our beautiful menswear range and has been integral to the success of the company across the board.

 

What is your favourite Wingfield Digby product and why?

I love all of our products, most styles have found their way to pride of place at home. Particular favourites include; Duck & Green Pheasant tablemats, Guinea Fowl Frames, Duck mirrors and Green Pheasant & Guinea Fowl Trays plus ALL the table centres. Why – because they are beautiful, add texture and interest to a room plus they are all designed to be practical so can be used every day.

 

What advice would you give to anyone starting their own business?

Be resilient through the highs and lows, there will be many. Make sure you do what you love because you will spend a long time doing it. Build the best team around you, full of people you like working with… you will be spending a lot of time with them!

 

 

Explore the full Wingfield Digby range here