Today we’d like to introduce you to Owyn Porter.
So, before we jump into specific questions about what you do, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
The Happy Sea was created on a complete whim my freshman year of college at Florida Atlantic University. I called my mom Laurie Moffitt, on April Fools day hysterical because I was failing out of math and chemistry (for the second time.) I was completely lost and had no idea what to do next. It had been my dream since I was three to become a marine biologist to study/help save the orcas. After a few hours on the phone, I finally calmed down enough to listen to what my mom had to say and realize that you didn’t have to become a marine biologist to help save the ocean and play your part in our world. She is a graphic designer herself and she guided me into studying design as well, where we then came up with the idea of The Happy Sea. An American Made product line that would donate back to ocean conservation. It debuted in my moms shop Color it Green in Fernandina Beach, the first weekend of May in 2015 with a select line of greeting cards. It sold out within the weekend (to my surprise, I was ELATED) and then, we started to grow! I worked on The Happy Sea through my years of school, not expecting all that much, it was more of a fun job that helped me have some spending money. In the past few years, The Happy Sea has expanded to shops all over the country, and beyond. I am so beyond excited to see how far The Happy Sea has come over the past few years and I’m stoked to see where it will end up!
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Absolutely not. The Happy Sea has been one of the most challenging, yet most rewarding things that I have ever done in my life. Running a business requires your attention 24/7, nothing is ever completely done and that is a really difficult thing to come to terms with. I am now 24 and juggle everything between managing inventory to responding to emails. Posting on social media to fulfilling orders. I have my hand in every part of the brand and it can be so overwhelming at times, however, I would not trade any of it for the world. As The Happy Sea expands into a full team of people, I am grateful that I have played part in each aspect of growing this brand so I know and can teach others to do the same. To anyone starting their journey, you CAN do it! Even when you feel like you cant, or have no idea what you’re doing… just remember no one else really knows exactly what they are doing either. Be persistent, be optimistic, (even when it is hard and you don’t feel like it) and don’t let anyone hold you back. Starting a business is hard, and nothing can fully prepare you for going into it, but when you do, throw yourself all in. I promise it will be so worth it.
Please tell us about The Happy Sea.
The Happy Sea is an American Made lifestyle brand that sells greeting cards, art prints, stickers, and apparel. All of our products are produced as green as possible, 100% of the time. Our apparel is screen-printed in Fernandina Beach, FL. And all of our paper products are recycled and FSC certified, meaning that every tree it takes to make our products, more are planted in their place which we think is pretty cool. I draw everything for The Happy Sea, and I draw inspiration from the ocean, travel, and music. The Happy Sea donates a portion of all of our proceeds to various ocean conservation nonprofits such as Orca Conservancy and Ocean Alliance.
There’s a wealth of academic research that suggests that a lack of mentors and networking opportunities for women has materially affected the number of women in leadership roles. Smart organizations and industry leaders are working to change this, but in the meantime, do you have any advice for finding a mentor and building a network?
My mentor is my mom, she has been my rock through this entire process and helped me more than I can ever fathom. As to finding other mentors, if you find something that you respect, are inspired by, or would love to learn from, reach out! I am sure they would be so honored and would absolutely help you in your journey.