It's such a pleasure to introduce you today to the folks behind the effortlessly stylish Moon Shipping Company! It is no secret that we are big fans of a lazy morning wander and munch around St. Georges Market in Belfast, and back in the summer we were doing just that when we stumbled across a relatively new stall and met the lovely Greg from Moon Shipping Co. The wonderful thing about shopping at markets is that you get to have a good chat with the stall owners and build rapport really naturally. We cooed over the beautiful products MSC had curated and went home with a lovely new towel rail for our newly refurbished bathroom. Over time, we've gotten to know Greg a bit and heard all about his wife Izzy and their new arrival Anouk so I'm thrilled that they are up for sharing some of their story and giving away an AMAZING gift from their shop.
Moon Shipping Company - welcome to the blog! Tell us more about your fabulous selves!
Hello! We are Greg, Izzie and now wee baby Anouk. We live in a little beach house on Tyrella beach, County Down. We own and run Moon Shipping Co, our home decor business.
Tell us a bit about how MSC came about..
After years of traveling, I (Greg) finally settled in London, where I lived for the best part of ten years. I had been a musician for most of that time, playing and touring in various bands. While in London I met my partner Izzie who had been working for photographer Mario Testino. Growing tired of London and its fast pace, we soon decided we wanted a change and a quieter life. We had both grown up on the coast and so decided that we wanted to be closer to the sea again. We found a small beach house in Tyrella that ticked all the boxes.
We always had a shared interest in all things interiors and had often talked about one day setting up our own home decor business. With the move to Ireland, we felt this was the perfect time to do that. By this stage we had already collected a broad range of designers and suppliers that we both liked and were keen to bring to Northern Ireland - Moon Shipping Company was born!
What a journey! Tell us a bit more about your favourite aspects of the business - what do you love the most?
The best part by far is researching and working with new suppliers and designers to bring them to Northern Ireland for the first time. I should mention also that there is nothing more fun than unpacking the deliveries of new stock - I literally feel like I have a Christmas Day about once a month!
I always imagined that would be so fun! So, where do you find inspiration for what products you bring to the business?
Our love of the coast is one of our biggest inspirations for Moon Shipping Co. We stock a large range of reclaimed boat wood furniture and accessories that highlight our love of rustic beach house style and simple living. It is this, combined with our admiration for contemporary Scandinavian design that allows us to create a unique modern rustic aesthetic. This feel is really what Moon Shipping Co. is all about.
And that is really clear in your vibe - Scandi, beachy cool. What are your hopes for the future of MSC?
It is early days for us, but our hopes will be concentrated on gradual progression. A Belfast city centre shop premises would be nice but concentrating and developing the webshop is paramount for the long term. We do have plans for a pop-up shop around this time next year though so we will see. Baby steps as they say!
Slow and steady wins the race! So, what is the BEST bit about being an indie business here in Northern Ireland?
The best part is being able to be unique and original as well as the fact that people in Northern Ireland are genuinely interested and supportive of independent businesses. I suppose given the size of the country and the fact that it is an island, it is sometimes hard to have a wide choice other than the generic big companies, like Ikea etc. Even when ordering online some companies still don't deliver to Northern Ireland, so indie companies are even more important here than probably elsewhere in the UK.
And as the owner of an independent business, how important is it to you that people support small business ventures, especially on the lead up to Christmas?
As an owner and consumer it is vitally important to support indie businesses at Christmas and all year round too. At the end of the day if we don't, we are just going to end up with every city looking the same, full of the big multi-nationals you see everywhere. I find that super boring, and you can be sure that only shopping with the big guns, every house will just about look the same too. It is still good to have the big boys but the balance has to be right. To be honest, I think the people of Northern Ireland really are supportive of indie business and they genuinely want and crave more options and something different. Places like Studio Souk in Belfast realise this too and are a great supporter of independent businesses. They are a not-for-profit company which allows small retailers like myself to trade as a part of a collective in a city centre post code which makes a huge difference in getting our stuff out there.
Tell us about some of your favourite Christmas memories...
Some of my best Christmas memories happened during my University years. I may be showing my age here, but this was around the mid-nineties. I was studying in Edinburgh and this was a few years before the boom of budget air travel. No students flew home in those days (unless you were very well off). You had to get the bus or train in rotten weather to Stranraer and then you got on one of those big slow ferries (the fast ones weren't out yet) that resembled a terrible floating ibiza - bad karaoke and equally bad congas included. Everyone was either a student going home, a football fan going home or boat crew who wished they were home and everyone was drunk, always. Even if you went home alone you always knew about 20 people on the boat. That might sound like someones idea of hell, but when you are 19/20/21 there really wasn't a better way to kick off the Christmas holidays!
Do you have any favourite Christmas traditions?
YES! One of my favourite Christmas traditions is playing a game called golden balls. It started about 15 years ago at a good friends house. Every boxing day a large group of old friends would gather there and each person would pick a golden bauble of the Christmas tree and write their name on it. We would then proceed to take turns throwing our chosen 'golden ball' as close to the sofa as possible without touching it. If it touched, you were out. The person with the golden ball closest got 3 points. The first one to 100 won. The game lasted for hours and to compete you pretty much had to stay the night. As the years go on, it has gotten bigger and more serious. Contestants now have to have game names (mine was Hank Hairdo), and an outfit. There was even a theme tune recorded, as well as a proper trophy for the winner. Some years there were too many people gathered and we had to synchronise another tournament from another house via skype! I won it in 2003 and 2007 so i'll be going for the hatrick this year.
That sounds hilarious and definitely is the stuff of good Christmas memory making!
Thank you so so much to Greg & Izzy for sharing their story and their passion for great design to Northern Ireland! Speaking of great design - check out some of the gorgeous stuff in their shop... Don't you just want ONE OF EVERYTHING PLEASE?! Well, you can have one of everything by visiting their shop online or some of their stock over at Studio Souk in Belfast. There really is something here for everyone in your life this Christmas, and by supporting these guys you are well and truly giving back to the creative communities and families that are keeping culture alive.
Moon Shipping Company has been kind enough to give one lucky reader a serious treat! This week, all week, you can enter to win these beauties - 4 Hippy Design Plates by designer Pols Potten! Perfect for a pre-Christmas dinner party with friends, or to giveaway to a friend who loves to host!
+ Like & Share the image on my facebook page outlining the giveaway! When you have shared it - comment 'DONE!' so we know!
+ You can share it as many times as you want between now and the close of the giveaway at MIDNIGHT, on SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 22nd!
+ Winner will be announced on Monday, November 23rd.
Share your hearts out! xo