The Nest Egg | REstyleSOURCE

The Nest Egg Fairfax, VA

Interview with Ann O’Shields of The Nest Egg


Store Name: The Nest Egg

Owner: Ann O’Shields

When did the store open? May 2004.

How did you get started in the business? 

Ann O’Shields: I had always loved being a consumer of home furnishings and accessories, and truly appreciated visiting unique stores. We live in the DC Metro area, and while there are small pockets within this large metro area of unique shops, it’s overwhelmingly filled with large, big box retailers. I was working for a very large corporation at the time I decided to pursue this new business venture and really wanted to do something more creative. My husband had been the general manager of a group of retail ski shops in our area, and we decided to build our own business together.

What do you love about owning the shop?

AOS: Currently what I love about owning our business is the ability to switch between various roles on a daily basis. I am able to be creative with marketing, merchandising, buying, and working on design plans. I am able to sell when working with customers. I am able to work on the business side by forecasting sales and managing buying. There is such a variety of layers to owning this type of business and I love being able to move between the different areas.

The Nest Egg | REstyleSOURCE

PHOTO: Ann’ O Shields

What do you find to be the most challenging aspect of the business?

AOS: There never seems to be enough time in the day to do everything I’d like to for the business. There are always urgent issues to resolve, orders to be placed, marketing to develop, products to buy and planning to be done and before any of that we want to make sure we’re first and foremost focusing on our customers. Because we are a small business, it’s great that we can be involved in everything but prioritizing what’s important can be challenging.

What is your favorite entertaining tip?

AOS: Be able to relax and enjoy your guests. For me that means planning ahead and knowing what you can make yourself (not much) and what you can buy (mostly everything!).

Do you have any favorite pieces in the store right now? 

AOS: We just received a pair of regency style faux bamboo chairs with double caned seats that I love. They are so versatile and can be incorporated into many design schemes!

The Nest Egg | REstyleSOURCE

PHOTO: Ann O’Shields

“Use things you love to add personality to your space. Layering old and new helps create a personality for your home, and a place you’ll want to retreat to. I’ve also come to accept that once you have children, particularly boys, that it’ll be a long time until your house looks the way you’d like it to!”

-Ann O’Shields


The Nest Egg | REstyleSOURCE

PHOTO: Ann O’Shields

What is your favorite quote? 

“Comedy . . . not drama.” (We coined that at the store years ago after the Oscars as a reminder to keep things light and fun, and not create unnecessary drama!)

What is something you have learned in the business that you didn’t expect? 

Your time is not your own in retail. You never know what is going to happen on any given day so you have to be prepared and really able to manage your time.

What items are your best sellers?

Believe it or not, books is one of our top selling category. We love stocking the store with various types of books including design books, gift books, cookbooks, children’s books and more. We’ve had a few books that we have carried since the day we opened 10 years ago that still sell as well now as they did then!

The Nest Egg | REstyleSOURCE

PHOTO: Ann O’Shields

10 Years Strong…

This year we celebrated our 10 year anniversary! When we opened 10 years ago, we were in a 2000 sq ft space across the street, and my husband and I were the only staff. We worked every day, both in the office and on the sales floor from 10-9 Mon-Sat, and 12-6 on Sundays. We slowly added employees to our team over the years, and we’re now in the same center, but across the street in a 4500 sq ft space. We now have a wonderful team of 10+ people that help our business continue to grow!

The Nest Egg | REstyleSOURCE

PHOTO: Ann O’Shields

What inspires you? 

AOS: Instagram has been a great means to get inspired for me lately. I love being able to peek into stores similar to ours around the country and see all of the creative ways they merchandise their stores and create their vignettes. I love following other Lee Industries dealers because it’s so fun to see what fabrics other stores use to put on pieces that we carry in the store.

What is the importance of customer service?

AOS: Customer service really is the most important focus for us. We can have a beautiful store stocked with wonderful merchandise but it’s up to us to make the experience a great one for our customers. We really go the extra mile when it comes to inspecting our products for our customers before delivery, paying extra attention to detail and then hoping that at the end of the day our customer will love what they’ve purchased from us.

What sets your business apart from online shopping? 

AOS: Nothing can replace the atmosphere of shopping in a store with scents, music and in person customer service. On top of that, being able to touch and feel products makes all the difference.

The Nest Egg | REstyleSOURCE

PHOTO: Ann O’Shields

Do you have a favorite customer story? 

AOS: During one of our annual holiday shopping parties a few years ago, we were selling “golden eggs” for $5 each that benefitted a local organization. Upon checkout the customer would open their egg, and every egg contained a slip of paper with a “prize” including extra discount coupons, merchandise, gift certificates to other local retailers, etc. We also gave away one prize where the customer would receive all of their purchases that night, up to $300, for free. The customer who ended up getting that prize had brought up her purchases prior to knowing what she had won, and she was only purchasing a few greeting cards. We couldn’t let that be all she got, so when we told her to go out and pick more things since her purchases would be free she started crying. Apparently she’d had a lot going on in her life and this just made her day. It was so fun for all of us to see how happy she was!

Are there any happenings or upcoming events in your area that you want to share?

AOS: Next month we’ll be participating in Small Business Saturday again this year! The Saturday after Thanksgiving has become a great day for us since it was introduced to customers by American Express. We do special gifts with purchase, giveaways and more as a way to thank all of our customers who come out to support us!

The Nest Egg | REstyleSOURCE

PHOTO: Ann O’Shields

Fairfax, VA

(703) 988-0944

Just as a bird builds its nest, The Nest Egg has searched high and low to gather the perfect assortment of home furnishings and accessories to complement and enhance your surroundings. They offer transitional and traditionally designed pieces, antique reproductions, and custom-made items.

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