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. 

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.