Take a trip to The Lotus Room at about 3 p.m. on any given day and you'll find most people indulging in a yoga class, massage, facial or acupuncture, but Emery Hills Murray strays from the norm -- she's busy "feathering."
Murray, a licensed aesthetician and wellness consultant for Gardens Acupuncture inside The Lotus Room at 1101 W. Kennedy Blvd. has brought something new to the Tampa Bay region: She installs feather hair extensions for Fine Featherheads.
Colorado-based Fine Featherheads was started by Murray's sister, Dakota Hills, and takes real rooster feathers from farm-raised birds and turns them into bundles of high-quality feather hair extensions.
"When Dakota told me she started a company installing rooster feathers as hair extensions, I told her she was crazy and laughed the idea off," says Murray, who, since, has become one of Hills' busiest reps. "As soon as she got off of the plane from Boulder, I was sold. It was instant. I wanted feathers for myself."
Within minutes, Murray was officially "feathered" and Florida was introduced to Fine Featherheads.
Since the launch of Fine Featherheads about a year ago, Hills has acquired representatives throughout the country -- from New York to Hawaii to Texas to California and beyond -- who pay for feathers and supplies out of pocket before gaining a profit off of the product. The feather love has even recently made its way out of the confines of the U.S. with a rep in Portugal.
Word about Hills' unique Bohemian-inspired accessory has spread almost as quickly as it took to get the company started.
"Dakota originally got the feathering bug from going to shows and festivals out in Colorado and wanted to make a fun hair accessory that was easy to wear," says Murray. "She and my other sister, Dana, started feathering at shows to pay for their tickets and soon become known as the 'feather girls'."
Proudly donning the title, the Hills sisters began receiving calls from people who had seen their work and eagerly wanted some feathers to call their own. According to Murray, demand practically grew overnight and the Hills supplied.
"There really is no demographic label that can limit the feather madness," says Murray, who, during her six months with the business, has feathered women and children from ages 2 through 65. "The power of the female consumer hasn't ceased to amaze me."
Hand-selecting the feathers and attentively putting each individual seven-feather bundle together, Hills offers a variety of complementary combinations such as "natural," "lavender," "wintergreen" and even "rainbow," among others. The bundles are then sold to providers and customers eagerly seeking the extensions, and easily can be installed into any hair type in less than 10 minutes.
What sets Hills' extensions apart from other feather hair extensions, however, is the one-of-a-kind adhesive that holds the bundles together. Fine Featherheads' patented design creates a point at the top of each feather bundle, making for easy insertion into the hair extension link. The link keeps the extension attached and, once installed, the bundles can last up to six months, when treated as if they were your own hair, styled and washed as usual.
If You Feather, They Will Come
After feathering Murray, Hills suggested her sister bring the feather love local and saw potential in Tampa. Murray quickly agreed, putting her degree in business management to good use, and began her involvement with Fine Featherheads about six months ago, conveniently offering feather bundles on bobby pins just before the holiday season.
"Featherhead bobby pins made excellent gifts because it took me out of the equation," says Murray, who promotes her extensions through Facebook and by wearing them in her own hair. "The bobby pins are also a great alternative for those who can't wear the extensions semi-permanently due to the nature of their profession and so forth."
By putting her own spin on Hills' product, Murray made the bundles more versatile and convenient. Customers could now get feathered on a whim -- commitment was no longer necessary and the word about feathers could be spread by giving them as gifts, allowing recipients to "install" or "uninstall" their feathers whenever they chose.
The Tampa feather madness officially began when three University of Tampa students came to Murray to get feathered. Very active on campus, all three young women wore their feathers proudly and soon, feathers could be found in the hair of female students all over UT.
"The wildfire was lit," says Murray. "Girls flooded into The Lotus Room, breathless and dying to get 'feathered.' The most powerful advertisement I have found is circles of friends. I would sell out daily and got to know my FedEx guy really well."
Soaring With Feathers
Since she began feathering, Murray's life hasn't been the same. Promoting Fine Featherheads and installing the extensions has quickly become a part of her everyday life. She says she wouldn't change it for anything.
"The excitement and simple joy it brings to people has been really fun for me to see," says Murray. "Something so simple, unique, fast and inexpensive has proven to have the power to make our day a little more interesting and colorful."
Murray adds photos and updates to the Fine Featherheads of Tampa Bay's Facebook page almost daily. As new shipments of bundles arrive frequently, Murray is right on top of it, letting the "Featherheads" know what color bundles have arrived and when she'll be available by appointment.
"The Fine Featherheads family is growing faster than we had ever imagined," says Murray. "While we're happy to see the success, our main goal is to keep the homegrown family feel that we began with."
To book your Fine Featherheads installation with Murray, call (603) 682-0315. Murray offers extensions for $29 per bundle (seven feathers), cash only due to merchant fees.
Alexis Quinn Chamberlain, a Florida native and freelance writer, can often be found trying out new vegan recipes, biking around town and daydreaming with her boyfriend and Chihuahua at Lettuce Lark Park. Comments? Contact 83 Degrees.