Winter’s Moon is now 10 years old! How can 10 years feel like both a lifetime and also the blink of an eye? To have reached this milestone with the business feels quite miraculous, and has also made me more reflective than I usually am.
The business as it stands today with a high street shop and a busy online business is very different from its beginnings. It has been a long slow process of trial and error (lots of errors...LOADS!!). And also working out what I want my working life to look like and the values I want the business to embody.
(Stansted Garden Show 2010)
Winter’s Moon began with open-house sales and mid-century fairs, then we went online which was a huge turning point. Next came our studio at Horton’s Yard, which we still use, and slowly the business became more customer-facing - with regular open days and then a couple of pop-up shops last year. My main take-away from the pop-ups was that I really liked being able to help the customer in person. The opportunity offered by online is amazing in so many ways but that one to one interaction with a lovely customer is really hard to beat. I think much of this stems from my curiosity - I am genuinely interested in people and you never know who is going to walk through the door and where a conversation might lead. It is also hugely heartening to see that the products you have carefully considered and chosen have brightened up someone else’s day too.
Being a new addition to the high street in Chichester, some people are still figuring us out. ‘So you sell bits and bobs?’ I was asked last week ‘Sort of’ I replied, smiling politely. ‘You don’t sell tat, do you?’ was a much more favourable question I was asked recently ‘No we don’t’ I said, smiling broadly.
But when people who don’t know the business ask what we sell, it can sometimes be tricky to sum it up and, with so many decisions to be made on what products we stock, the purpose of the business has been at the forefront of my mind this year. I think the simplest interpretation is that we sell things that make your life a little better, to lift your spirits when it’s something for you, or to show your love when it’s a gift for someone else. Beautiful things for living and giving.
Our living environment is a huge factor in affecting our moods and that low-level day to day enjoyment of life. In my experience surrounding yourself with pieces that you enjoy using and engaging with just makes life better…less ‘scratchy’.
This may give the impression that I am a natural born purchaser, spending lots, often. In fact the opposite is true as my family and friends will tell you. For something to be worth my hard-earned money….it has to be really worth it. I need to know it will add value to my life, that it is made well and that I will still love it in 5 years time.
I sometimes wish I could be less fussy, but I have come to realise that actually it’s partly because I am that the business has endured. Winter’s Moon is wonderfully fortunate to have numerous repeat customers that keep supporting us and I believe it’s because they have learnt to trust that what we sell is worth their hard-earned money.
I also believe in the importance of difference and feel Winter’s Moon reflects that really well. This may sound like an indulgence, difference is all well and good if you can afford it. But go down the road of sameness in terms of how we live and furnish our homes and at the end of the road is an episode of Black Mirror where we are served by Big Brother drones and all choice has to be abandoned. Offering difference means that a huge variety of other businesses are supported; from independent designer makers and illustrators who strive to produce beautiful products, sustainably made - to larger fairtrade enterprises supporting makers in the third world. Offering difference gives these makers and producers choices and control in their own life and that has to be valued doesn’t it?
At the time of writing we are headed into the second wave of the pandemic, so everything feels hugely uncertain. But I am certain that we have genuinely the loveliest customers, so I would like to say the hugest, squeeziest thankyou to every single one of them for getting us this far. Let’s see what the next ten years brings! Julia x
Well done, Julia! A big milestone, a huge learning curve and difficult times endured! Here’s to many more decades doing what you love. x
Lovely reading this and seeing the photos. I remember our first meeting in Dulwich . Congratulations Julia xx
What an amazing blog, so interesting. Congratulations on 10 years! Here’s to the next 10.
I think you have the most wonderful