Déjà Vu

Last year we had the best time on Hayling Island photographing our products and today it was déjà vu!

Once again, March delivered and we headed down to the water. We love coming up with new things and took our latest editions to the beach today.

The misty morning cleared up just as we paid for our parking and jackets were quickly discarded - we were in for a treat. With help from our friends Q and Winnie - the photoshoot soon got going.

Our newest products are three beautiful cotton Tea Towels printed in Cornwall. The crisp white background takes our watercolour artwork beautifully and when ironed - as of course we did for the photos - almost look as if they are paper prints. We have three super designs, Ocean Collection, One in a Million and Sea Turtles and wanted to show them off to their best, but soft cotton can be difficult to bring to life in a photo - that is unless you have an amazing sun-bleached and ocean washed breakwater!

With the wind barely a breeze we draped our new Tea Towels on the wall and, with a kind offer of a quick photograph from Q, managed to capture them in all of their glory, while Winnie ran around finding driftwood, but looking very cute.

Thankfully, the playful twin labradors who decided to crash our shoot, steered clear of the table which had our beautiful Really Large Bone China mugs on and one of our shell filled Hurricane lamps. Otherwise we would still be there picking up the pieces.

We’ve also taken elements of our blue watercolour prints and made them into Giant, signed designs. Our Narwhal, Nautilus and Blue Lobster can now be purchased in large frames (53cmx53cm) and we think they look great.

So, all in all, it was a successful day and we look forward to next March or even sooner for our next photoshoot on the Coast. We really enjoy bringing new products to Oyster Moon and hope you enjoy them and seeing our photos.

Gina & Michele - Oyster Moon with our new Tea Towels

Gina & Michele - Oyster Moon with our new Tea Towels

Giant Watercolour Prints

Giant Watercolour Prints

Our assistant - Winnie! - Sorry Q.

Our assistant - Winnie! - Sorry Q.

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You Learn Something New Every Day

We’ve been drawing and painting for a long time and the most wonderful thing about art is that you learn something new every day. It always amazes us how each medium brings with it its own level of difficulty, pleasure and pure ‘tear your hair out’ moments!

Probably one of the most important lessons we have learned recently, is to leave some things to the experts. Oyster Moon is growing and our beautiful designs will soon be on 100% cotton tea towels and bone china mugs. Both of those things we have used all of our lives, but never designed or made. So after much searching we’ve found two great British companies to make them for us.

Todays lesson: When you decide to put your designs onto different products, nothing is easy. Take our new mug design. We had grand thoughts of putting our Ocean designs onto a plump, round, cradle in two hands, china mug, something to drink from while sitting in front of a warm fire. In theory it all sounds wonderful and there are some amazing mugs out there. But it turns out that if you take something like a Seahorse or a Whale and want to put it onto a curvy mug - things soon go pear shaped! Our flat, watercolour Seahorse design didn’t like being wrapped around in two different directions onto a bulbous mug and the Whale rebelled.

So after much deliberation with experts, we decided to leave the plump mug for a bit and instead we’ve gone completely in the other direction with a giant, white, bone china mug, with straight sides. The crisp clean lines take our watercolour Seahorse, Whale and Sea Turtles perfectly. The generous size of the mug feels at home either sitting on a dresser in a coastal cottage, hanging on a hook in a beach hut or on a mug rack in a city kitchen.

A drink of tea or a latte tastes beautiful from the bone china and if you love hot chocolate (who doesn’t), there’s plenty of room for whip cream and marshmallows! You are welcome.

The tea towel was a little easier, but getting our designs onto fabric and on a much larger scale also took some planning. We tried making our whales small and putting hundreds on one pattern, but it just didn’t look like us! So our new design gives you our Ocean collection on one tea towel, with our Whale Shark, Narwhal and many more designs all big, bold and beautiful and in fabulous detail.

In putting our new products together, we’ve found some great companies and very clever people in the UK and look forward to working with them.

Over the last few years, Oyster Moon has taken on a certain look, driven by our love of the sea and everything coastal. Our look isn’t fussy, it’s clean lines and beautiful blues and we feel going forward our products reflect just that.

Our cotton tea towel and Really Large bone china mugs will be available early in the new year and we hope you enjoy them and they bring a smile to your day.

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A sneak peek at our Really Large Mugs and 100% cotton Tea Towels.







Like having a baby!

Earlier in June Oyster Moon went into labour, well... sort of, we had our second major event! 

Doing a major art and craft event is like having a baby!  Hard work, painful, makes you sweat and can bring you to tears, but they also bring great rewards and when it's over, amazingly, you forget all of the angst. 

Last year we took Oyster Moon to Alexandra Palace at the Country Living Fair, our first major event, playing with the big boys. Four days of setting up/breaking down and non-stop selling, then squeezing everything that was left back into the car. Exhausted and completely drained and swearing up and down we wouldn't do another major event!

Fast forward 9 months and a convenient lack of memory - "Oh look, there's an amazing event in early summer." we heard ourselves saying over coffee one morning. "Well, Ally Pally, was pretty good. Wasn't it? We met amazing people, it was fabulous exposure for us and some great sales (all true, but we had conveniently forgotten the aching feet, the months of stock build up, financial stress, exhaustion...) and we were once again full of optimism - "Let's do it."

So we did.

We weren't happy with a small stand like before. Oyster Moon had grown and so we signed up for a large one. We also hadn't done a show before set in a marquee.  We soon learned that tents hold a few challenges, not the least, wobbly flooring, condensation, tent pegs (tripping hazards!) and no walls to hang artwork! Not a problem. We invested in some wonderful new metal display stands, came armed with gravel bags, rope, lighting, all of our product and so much enthusiasm!

We were so fortunate the weather was dry leading up to the event and during the event it wasn't too hot. We loved every minute of it, although someone, who will remain nameless, (Gina) lost her voice the first day in and could only smile and wave. 

We spent three lovely days at the Stansted Park Garden Show in Rowlands Castle, Hampshire.  If you've never been to Stansted Park, you should go. Even when there isn't a large event taking place, the grounds, house, Farm Shop and especially the Tea Rooms are fabulous.

We can highly recommend it.

We can also highly recommend the wonderful Stansted Park staff and volunteers, event organisers, helpers, fellow crafts/gardening vendors, food vendors and most importantly our lovely customers, new and returning. We had a great time, met lots of wonderful people, ate ice cream and cake, drank Pimms (purely medicinal for the croaky throat). We ooh'd and ahh'd over plants, and other amazing crafts and, despite the long days, aching feet and angst, we just loved being in such a fabulous setting. 

And now a month on.... roll on Christmas events. Labour pains? What are those?

Stansted Park, Rolands Castle, Hampshire

Stansted Park, Rolands Castle, Hampshire

Being keen - we were the first to arrive!

Being keen - we were the first to arrive!

Three car loads and one and a half days later - we were ready.

Three car loads and one and a half days later - we were ready.

Bespoke designs, coastal art, Giclee prints, greeting cards and lanterns.

Bespoke designs, coastal art, Giclee prints, greeting cards and lanterns.

Just a couple of our wonderful family, who came out to support us. 

Just a couple of our wonderful family, who came out to support us. 

Keep in Touch

 

At Oyster Moon we love the coast and surrounding countryside and can't get enough of beach combing our local shore. So we've designed cards from some of our favourite finds on our days out, added a few amazing creatures from under the sea near and far and put them together with some of our other art in our new greeting card range.

There's something for everyone and every occasion.

In this day and age of Tweets, emails and Facebook comments, its lovely to keep in touch with friends and family by snail mail. Everyone loves to receive a card and we think our beautiful designs would be lovely to send or receive.

At the moment our cards are only available for purchase through wholesale, but we hope to have them in local stores near you soon. So if you see something you like, let your local shop know!

Here are a few of our favourites.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Day at the Beach

One of the most difficult things to do with a small business is to promote yourselves. Finding the time to keep all of those websites, social media and print media mouths fed! Sometimes it's hard to make time to create new products. There just doesn't seem to be enough hours in the day. At Oyster Moon, we're still working on that.

Especially after Christmas, when all of the twinkle lights, stars and magic seemed to disappear into the shorter, grey days of January and February. Taking photos indoors never seems to look very inspirational. Or maybe it's just that we've eaten too much Christmas cake!

So when you get the chance of a crisp, sunny day - you have to grab it with both hands. We've managed to do that recently. The weatherman promised us an overcast, but dry day and in March, that was all it took. We removed the glass from countless prints (reflections are not always our friends), polished up our glass lanterns and headed for the beach.

What we got was a glorious Spring day, clear blue skies and a sparkly ocean. On our local coast at Hayling Island looking across to a beautiful Isle of Wight. They'd even put on a yacht race in the Solent. We couldn't believe our luck! 

Photographing, when you are an amateur, even with a nice camera and especially outdoors is never easy. You can't see the camera display - so you take a deep breath and press the button - lots.

Working in the outdoor elements has it's challenges, wobbly pebbles, sand, wind and Seagulls, but with that also comes great reward and with a little adjusting in Photoshop to straighten the horizon, we took some great photos in just two hours. Then went and had lunch!!

We are so lucky to have such beautiful coastline and countryside in the UK, it makes you feel so good when you can take advantage of it. All of those times, when Instagram and Facebook are nagging at you, waiting to be fed and you are desperately trying to find inspiration and photograph inside through a long, grey winter without shadows or gloom, just disappear. I highly recommend giving it a go.

Here are a few from the day!

 

Michele setting up on our March photoshoot

Watercolour prints of Whales and Sea Turtle with our Hurricane

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Hurricane reflections on wood

Oyster Moon

We are two sisters who both love to draw and paint and thought we should start a business. Two years on and we had no idea how Oyster Moon would take over our lives. With a lot of encouragement from family and friends and hard work we've grown from just a few ideas to a range of designs and products.

You see it all the time in the magazines "I started my small business on my kitchen table and now I'm a millionaire!" Well, not quite, but we did start on the kitchen table, in fact some of our best designs are still created there in between meals.

We first sold our designs at local craft events and then found some shops who liked what we do. We built our own website - learning along the way. One of our favourite things to do is our own photoshoots. Spending the day at the coast really gets the creative juices flowing. We are constantly learning the best way to update our social media, not always an easy thing.   

The best advice we could give to someone thinking about starting their own business is stay true to yourself, work with your strengths and love what you do, because you will spend a lot of time doing it!  Hours and hours behind the scenes creating new product, figuring out the best way to package it, ship it, sell it, promote it and most important of all, how to keep your customers happy and coming back for more. 

After two short years we certainly still have a lot to learn, but we do love it when a new design comes together. When the watercolour flows just right or you wake up thinking about a new line and rush to scribble it down into one of the hundreds of notebooks, before life takes over and the thought is gone.

Our dream for Oyster Moon - we're going to reach for the stars.