Can you tell us a little about yourself?
My name is Owyn Porter, and I started The Happy Sea in 2015 with my mom Laurie Moffitt. Ever since I was little I have strangely loved the ocean. I was pretending to be a biologist by age 4 when I would go to the beach. I grew up on Amelia Island, an EXTREMELY small island off the coast of North Florida, so I grew up by the sea and learned so much about the ocean, our eco-systems and how everyone can make an impact with the smallest changes. I just turned 22 in July and I’m hoping to graduate from Florida Atlantic University in the spring with an art degree. I travel as much as I can and as far as I can, whenever I can. I have a mega travel bug so as soon as I save up my money to go somewhere I’m out!
My mom has been a graphic designer for as long as I’ve been alive. As well as doing design, she owns an eco-friendly gift shop on Amelia Island called Color It Green, where she sells American made & eco-friendly products that give back to other organizations. The Happy Sea, as well as Color It Green donate to ocean conservation. She is 100% my inspiration, and The Happy Sea would never in a million years be possible without her.
What exactly is The Happy Sea?
The Happy Sea is a product line consisting of greeting cards, apparel, stickers, and prints that donate a portion of all proceeds to ocean conservation. (More specifically Ocean Alliance, a whale nonprofit located up in Massachusetts.) The Happy Sea always has the environment in mind. We keep everything made in the USA, (no sweat shops here!!) All of our apparel is screen-printed with some loving on Amelia Island, and all of our cards/prints are printed on FSC certified paper meaning for each tree it takes to produce them, more are planted in return. Let’s save the seas and the trees! On the back of each card is a conservation tip to help remind people of what we can do to make a difference, and stop pollution to our planet and our oceans.
What inspired you to start The Happy Sea?
I graduated high school in 2013 and went on to Florida Atlantic University to pursue marine biology. I have wanted to be a whale biologist ever since I can remember, and all I wanted to do was save the whales. I made it through to spring semester of my freshman year taking math and chemistry classes. I called my mom on April Fool’s Day SOBBING explaining how I’m failing out of math and chemistry…she thought I was joking. After many hours on the phone, and a ton of pacing in my dorm room, my mom explained to me that I didn’t need to be a biologist to help save the ocean. That is when the idea of The Happy Sea came to be. A product line with cute art that would donate to ocean conservation causes. BOOM. After switching my major, months of drawing out designs, lots of coffee shop dates with mom, and some major luck The Happy Sea was ready to launch. The thought of the triangles came from a few different things. I grew up with 2 younger sisters, Kendyl and Shay. They have always been my little babes and its always been the 3 of us, thus the triangle. The triangle is also a sign of water, which is my sign through being a July baby (a cancer). I placed the triangles in a mosaic form through inspiration from a dear friend RuthAnn Petree, who would make these INCREDIBLE mosaics from stones she would hand chip.
What is the mission behind The Happy Sea?
The Happy Sea aims to make an impact from producing solely in the USA and donating to conservation causes. We really try to give back and show how much people can do to make a change! It’s the simplest of things such as giving up straws, to using a reusable water bottle or doing a beach clean-up.
You and your mom started The Happy Sea together, can you tell us about that?
Without my mom, The Happy Sea would never be possible. She is truly mine and The Happy Seas rock. Without her pushing me, and telling me how much of a change anyone can make without being a biologist, The Happy Sea would never be possible.
I create all of the art for The Happy Sea, while my mom does the production, (and comes up with a ton of our cute card sayings.) We figure out things together and are a complete team.
You give back 10% with every purchase, can you also tell us about that?
The Happy Sea donates to Ocean Alliance, they are SUCH a wonderful organization and we love to work with them. They are completely committed to reducing pollution, and promoting ocean/human health. They are the global leader in whale research and believe the oceans are an irreplaceable asset to humanity. (we strongly agree!) If you want to check out more about them their website is http://www.whale.org/the-mission/about-us/
Where are your products sold? Are they sold in stores?
The Happy Sea is currently sold in Color It Green, my mom’s shop where we both work, as well as a few other shops throughout FL. We are going to a huge tradeshow in September called Surf Expo located down in Orlando where we are really hoping to spread the word about The Happy Sea and get into other shops throughout the US! We are also available online at www.thehappysea.com!
Is there a favorite product that everyone loves?
The stickers have become an absolute FAVORITE! We launched them in March and they have quickly become our top seller. They are UV protected to keep them from fading against the sun, as well as water/wind resistant. You can pretty much place them anywhere and they’ll stick!
How do you spread the word about your company?
We try really hard to promote through social media, as well as through Color It Green. I do a lot of markets to sell products and spread the happy sea love!
Do you have any advice for young entrepreneurs?
GO FOR IT!! No matter how big or little of a dream it is, GO FOR IT! If I never would have just taken a chance, The Happy Sea would never be in existence. The Happy Sea is the greatest thing that has ever happened to me, and it has taught me more in these past 2 years than I think anything has ever taught me. It is all about taking chances and risking what you can to pursue your dreams. Be persistent, you will get there!!
Is there anything else that you would like to share with us? Like a fun fact or a favorite quote?
My entire family consists of mega animal activists. We all eat a plant based diet, and gave up straws with the #StopSucking pledge that Lonely Whale is promoting. I really urge you guys to check it out! It’s insane how much of a difference a small change can make!