There’s nothing better than design that’s inspired by the coast. Rooms with beach themes are nothing new in interior design, but there is an increasing trend for jewellery inspired by our oceans – from wave rings to shell bracelets, to silver chains adorned with turtle or whale tail charms. Anyone who knows me will often spy me wearing my silver wave ring and I love being able to display my love of the beach through the objects I wear.
So imagine my delight when I discovered Sand & Seagulls – a website selling sea-themed jewellery, nautical inspired accessories and beautiful wooden artwork.
Sand & Seagulls was launched by Zoe Payne in Dorset and she was lovely enough to take part in a little Q&A with me…
Q: Hi Zoe! Thanks so much for taking part! First things first, where did the idea for Sand and Seagulls come from?
A: Sand and Seagulls was inspired by my seaside themed wedding in 2010. Both my husband and I have lived by the sea all our lives, and it is a very special place to me. We are lucky to live only 10 minutes away from our local beach so we frequently visit with our two boys. The idea for the name Sand and Seagulls came from my eldest son, Rudy, when my business was formed he was only a few months old and they were definitely his favourite two things about the seaside!
Q: Do you make the products yourself?
A: I buy a lot of the materials in that I use to make my jewellery, but I’m always careful to try and source as much as I can from UK based businesses. I would love to be able to make more myself, but I’ve always been keen to make sure my products are affordably priced. And if I started making them myself from scratch, I would have to charge much more. I have recently started hand stamping cuff bracelets and initial tags, and I’m really enjoying this journey.
Q: You gave up your career in Financial Services Marketing to launch Sand and Seagulls. I can imagine it must have been quite scary! How did you find the early days of launching the company?
A: Incredibly daunting! Sand and Seagulls started as a bit of a hobby really, something to do inbetween nappy changes and naps, as I’m not someone who can sit still. I took the plunge after my second son was born, the cost of childcare etc made the decision for me really. Waiting on every order and every enquiry, hoping they’ll be a good one! I’m incredibly proud of how far Sand and Seagulls has come, and I’m excited for the future!
Q: What’s a typical day like for you now?
A: With two boys aged 4 and 2, my days are usually spent being Mummy! I do have a few hours child free throughout the week when they go to pre-school & childminders but mainly I’m with my boys.
I try not to work when they’re around, but the odd email reply and/or social media post is often required to help keep things ticking over. As soon as my husband gets home from work, I escape upstairs to my office/studio. Here I will reply to emails, schedule social media posts, make, process and pack up orders.
As well as Sand & Seagulls I’m also an account manager for the selling platform Walter & May, so when Sand and Seagulls work stops, the work I do for Founder Beth starts. My working schedule does mean I often miss bath and bed times, and don’t see much of my husband. But it works for us, and I love being a working from home Mum.
Q: Your site has a lot of amazing home items – I’m currently eyeing up a few pieces for our new flat! Have you got any tips on how to make a home feel more beachy?
A: I’m really pleased with the feedback and love I’ve had for my homeware items, this is an area I’m definitely looking to expand. For a beach themed home you definitely need to encourage as much light into your home as possible, with light coloured painted walls and furniture. And just a little nautical touch here and there can make a real difference, from a bowl of shells and pebbles you’ve collected to a piece of wall art that helps bring the outside, inside!
Q: Do you have any favourite pieces on the site at the moment?
A: Oh, this is a tricky one as I love all my pieces!
But, if I had to choose, my Glass of The Sea seaglass necklace, I just adore seaglass and my boys have recently become really interested in trying to find it too. I would love to know the story behind the piece of seaglass. What did it used to be, where has it come from.
Q: What is it that you love most about the coast?
A: The fresh air! The air is definitely cleaner and fresher when you’re at the seaside, if you could bottle it up and sell it you could be a wealthy person!!
Q: I’ve noticed a lot of whales, turtles and starfish in your designs. What’s your favourite marine creature and why?
A: Definitely the green sea turtle. When on honeymoon in Malaysia, we were lucky enough to see a female turtle laying her eggs. And witnessed some baby turtles hatching out of the sand and making their mad rush run into the ocean. It was an experience I will never forget.
Q: Have you got a beachy spot where you feel the most inspired?
A: Hengistbury Head, in Mudeford Dorset. This is a beach close to my home, where they have the most incredible (and expensive) beach huts. It feels like you’re on holiday when you’re over there, so beautiful. I could spend forever there!
Q: What do you hope people will take away from your site and your products?
A: I have lots of people contacting me saying how much they love the seaside, but don’t leave near it. I like to be able to give people a little bit of the seaside to keep with them all the time.