Category Archives: Business future

The End of Mountain Moon and Sea


If there is anyone out there still reading this I just want to say hello and goodbye.

Mountain Moon and Sea was a wonderful adventure and a lot of fun. It was a great learning experience too.

As my tax returns are now up to date, my business name and ABN are in the process of being de-registered.

Mountain Moon and Sea will soon officially no longer exist. I just need to close the bank account and transfer the $4.10 to my personal account.  Continue reading


Kick Start Your Business with a Helping Hand

I’m currently writing my business plan for my final subject of my Small Business Management course. A big, important chunk of this is the financial plan. (Understandably so). You can’t plan anything in your business unless you can fund it. Most people will suggest that you get an overdraft or a business loan, sounds simple right? But what if you don’t have a car or a property to secure finance against? What if you’ve been studying business stuff so you can actually succeed in the business world and don’t have a steady income for the banks to make their income calculations against? If this is you then you’re in the same boat as me. You could ask your family to go guarantor for you, but you may feel like you’re losing your independence. If you’re like me, you can’t live with the thought of them having to repay the loan if anything happens to you.

Small Money Tree by Elmira Titeyeva on Etsy.  “Money Tree-an attraction to wealth and money. According to Feng Shui in the tree must be an odd numbers of coins. 9 coins with a hole or multiple of 9 and attached red thread.”

If you want to start a charity or not-for-profit there are philanthropists all around the world who would love to help you out. Almost every financial institution has a charitable grants programme. If you’re a tech-based start up you’re ok, lots of investors out there waiting to cash in on ‘the next big thing’. If you want to start a community program to help under-privileged peoples then you’re also covered. If you want to make a short film or theatre production there are quite a few government grants available. If you’re under 30 you’re in luck with many youth programs for young entrepreneurs available.

What if you want to start a business because it’s something you’re good at, something you enjoy, it’s a good idea, there’s a gap in the market for it and it may do some good in this world? Then you’re like me, biting your nails, reading through grants websites til 4 in the morning.

“Be The Change You Want To See In The World” – Ghandi
Hand Stamped Jewellery by Kottage Kreations on Etsy

This morning I stumbled accross the Suncorp 5 Grand Helping Hand. $5,000 may not sound like much to big business, probably their annual budget for paper clips and highlighters. But for someone small, (a one-woman-show working into the wee hours to research, plan, network, blog and get things done), it’s a BIG deal. It’s just what you need to hire a professional graphic designer for some rebranding, get sample products made, get some advertising and get to some local wedding expos to get some paying customers. To be able to do this, without going into debt, would be ah-mazing!

Mountain Moon and Sea makes customers look and feel great. We create innovative recycled and hand-crafted stationery, accessories and giftware, made from ethical materials using fair-trade practices. Our product lines include ethical wedding stationery, greeting cards, event invitations and paper bead jewellery.

If you like what I do and what I write, can you do me a favour? (I will rarely ask my readers to do something for me). VOTE FOR ME for the Suncorp 5 Grand Helping Hand. As a reward I would like to offer 40% off total purchases from the Mountain Moon And Sea Etsy Shop with the coupon code “HELP2012” for all who vote. This includes 40% off already reduced, discontinued lines.

If you’re looking for funding and but more into communities and crowd-sourcing try Kick Starter. There are many Kick-Started success stories such as that of Allegory Pens. In the world of music Amanda Palmer is THE kick-ass Kick Starter.

If you’re not familiar with Kick Starter, it works by you submitting an individually crafted “all-or-nothing” project. The public pledge funds, yes that’s people you know and many you don’t, from all over the world. Any donation amount from $1 to $10,000 is catered for on Kick Starter. The artists have full control and responsibility over the project and usually showcase what they want to achieve with their projects in a video to convince would-be investors. Each project offers different rewards for different levels of funding pledged. Often rewards are a copy of the finished product, limited editions or exclusive experiences and are only limited by your imagination.

There Is More Than Enough For Us All by jessicagswift on Etsy. For more beautiful and inspiring prints click on the image to go to her Etsy listing.

Kick Starter really is an all-or-nothing game. You set your budget and your deadline and get people to pledge funds. If the target is met by the deadline you are funded, people’s credit cards are debited and you’re obligated to send rewards to your backers. If your deadline comes and you’re short of your goal well that’s the end, no one gets charged and you don’t have to send anyone anything.

Kick Starter may sound a bit like the hippie commune barter system of business funding, but you know what? I’m totally OK with that. It has power, with over 20,000 projects funded, over 2 million people pledging funds and over $200 million in funding granted.

I hope this has helped some other small business person out there to not give up. It may seem hard but if you have faith, believe in your ideas and keep sharing your ideas with people, the abundance you need will come to you.

🙂 Diane

Changing Lanes

Sometimes in life you see that as your journey progresses down the multi-lane highway that an opportunity to travel a little better, a little faster, a little more smoothly arises and so you change lanes. If you’re driving in Sydney traffic no matter what lane you pick it too will eventually present its own issues and you’ll need to change lanes again, either back to where you were or to a different lane altogether.

The time has come for me to change lanes with Mountain Moon And Sea. We got into the lane of volunteering and stocking with I Heart Gallery as it was a great opportunity and full of promise. After about 3 months in that lane I have realised that the travel to and from Sydney, the coffee I needed to get me through the day and the take away food were taking their toll on my health and my wallet. Being run-down physically meant that I had fallen a little behind in my TAFE work and struggling to catch up is stressing me.

After doing some brain-storming and a SWOT analysis I realised that there was more to why this lane wasn’t working for me anymore. I brainstormed what I saw in I Heart Gallery in terms of target market, political beliefs and the sort of energy is had as a space. I Heart Gallery is young, “alternative”, subversive, decidedly young, overtly sexual and politically charged with a dash of cutesyness, some pop culture iconography and pinch of retro-cool to balance it out a little. There is also a certain chaotic flair in I Heart Gallery which is very at home in the Inner West. I Heart is cool, fashionable and will be popular with those that the rest of society may label as “Goth”, “Emo” or “Hipster”. This would have sat really well with me 5-10 years ago. But I am not that person anymore and the work I produce reflects that.

Mountain Moon And Sea (MMS) reflects more of who I am now, and who I want to be in the future. It is focussed in the Illawarra by it’s very name. I want MMS to be more ethically focussed, in terms of environment, sustainability of resources and supporting fair-trade practices. I want MMS to be a spiritually grounded business whose practices reflect the ethics at the heart of it, at the heart of me. I want MMS to be organised, professional, reliable and to build strong relationships with its customers, suppliers and with the greater community. I want the business to focus on hand-made items of artisan quality that are still affordable. I want the items I create to have their own unique style, to be beyond “fashion” and to hold their appeal for many seasons into the future, with the quality to last the test of time. The target market I am looking at for my products is older, more “mature” and more ethically/eco-focussed. There are different life stages in my target market to that of I Heart Gallery.


Available at I Heart Gallery, St. Peters until Friday 27th April.

My time with the Gallery has been really enjoyable. I have worked with genuinely lovely people who have supported me and encouraged me in so many ways. I have learned a lot about myself, my business and gained some really valuable retail experience. Hopefully I’ve contributed as much to I Heart Gallery as I have received. I have been inspired in many ways and have many plans for future projects that I am currently storing under my hat until I am finished my course and in my new studio.

On that, rather long-winded, note I shall leave you as I have assignments that need tending to.

Carved Book Landscapes by Guy Laramee

More inspiration this week, while I sort things out after the madness of Christmas and an interstate road trip for my brother’s 21st in Melbourne. More photos from that another day. (Promise!).

I have seen many interpretations of carved books over the years but these Carved Book Landscapes by Guy Laramee are something different altogether.

There is so much attention to detail that makes them stand out. I can see this being a great example of how having patience, putting in time and effort and striving for excellence can really set you apart as an artist or craftsperson.

The one pictured above also shows how thinking a little bit outside the box, pushing boundaries and taking risks can really pay off. All good lessons for me to take on board in creating products for Mountain Moon and Sea and approaching ways of doing business.

 I’ve always loved, and still love, the idea of taking something that has little use or value in it’s current form, like an out-dated text book, and transforming it into some beautiful and meaningful. I hope to take this idea and apply it by using the fabric offcuts I have from a tailor shop and making them into fabric bracelets and other wearable art pieces. The fabric I have sourced would have ended up in landfill if I had not rescued it. It is good to do something good for the planet, but it also gives me the warm and fuzzies too. 🙂

A Rainbow Palette

My siblings got me something really special for my 30th birthday in October, a gorgeous blue designer wallet, you know the kind you see on the red carpet. I’ve noticed since then that I am drawn to blue, a lot. I noticed at my first market stall that most of the items I had for sale had either blue or blue-green tones. I realised that not everyone has the same favourite colours so one of my many challenges for 2012 is to create things in all colours, even those I may not love (like gold and orange). Here’s a link to the gorgeous wallet – in gold. (Because the Jay blue has sold out). House of Baulch — OYO WALLET.

First Market Stall at Beat N Bites in Wollongong's Osborne Park

I am trying to source supplies in all colours to support the rainbow palette I want to draw on for the future Mountain Moon And Sea range. I say source because I really do want to focus on more ethically produced products. This is what is in my heart and if I’m not following my heart then my creativity dries up and there is nothing there for me, or for you.

I always feel something special when I see a rainbow in the sky, but a double rainbow is doubly special! May it bring us all good luck for the rest of the year!

Dear Little House: How times flies- “Houseiversary” giveaway!

One of two famed prints on offer

Hello 2012, and hello to more blogging friends. One of my friends is having a give-away of some fine framed prints of her own work to celebrate her “Houseiversary”. Head on over to have a look and enter:  Dear Little House: How times flies- “Houseiversary” giveaway!. Happy Housiversary Nat!

In other news I’ve just returned from a trip from Melbourne and I’m looking forward to turning some of my road-trip photos into postcards or notecards. Which do you think would be better? I will be adding these to my Etsy shop soon, along with bunch of new pretty jewellery pieces I made before Christmas. I will show you photos of those another day.

The 12th Insight

Recently I found a YouTube interview with author James Redfield about his new book, The 12th Insight. This has made me want to re-read some of his previous books so that I can be ready for the consciousness shared in his most recent book. His books have helped me on my individual spiritual journey, and the journey of many of my close friends also.

Now available at your favourite book seller.

His response when asked by MysticMonkey “Do you think we have enough energy collectively to live “The Twelfth Insight?” really stuck a chord with me.

“Absolutely, if we do it personally. You know … we can’t rely on collective energy anymore. We have to be net givers of energy not receiving of energy from other people, you follow me?  (yes) So this is really about, you know, stop thinking about this theory of it all. Stop… wanting to get a group that will help us remember to get it together, stop thinking about all that and start actually  practicing it personally so that… it becomes contagious to other people from us. …So we’re not waiting around for someone else to help us. But we’re actually building this way of life … and sort of radiating it out for everyone else to see and be listed by. I think that’s our great calling right now. And what will happen of course is that the more people doing then the more it becomes contagious to more people. All the group efforts will happen synchronistically to solve the problems in this world. But it begins with the individual with a kind of disciplined search for this larger consciousness. And again it’s very simple, if you make the decision to live your life authentically and openly and all you’re thinking about is how you can be of service to the people that you relate to everyday then that intuitive guidance of what to do and say comes as a result of that.”

What an inspiring call to action!

The interview is in two parts and I found worthwhile insights in both parts. Ironically I discovered all of this because of an ad on Facbook. Synchronicities can eventuate in any form, the trick is to listen and be open to them. It’s this attitude that has helped me to where I am today, with dreams of a brighter, more exciting, and better than I can currently imagine future.

James Redfield has a facebook page if you’re interested in updates, including details of the Global Prayer Project.

Why are you sharing spirituality on your business page? If you’re wondering why I’m putting this on my business page, that’s fair enough really. As I see it my business is an extension of me, my beliefs and my attitudes and values. It’s why I want to live a more ethical life and introduce others to ethical products that they can afford. My intuition guides me everyday. It helps me paint, create and channel things into reality that make people happy. Happier people means a happier, safer and more positive world. I decided to work for myself for many reasons, one of which was the soul-less employment I had experienced in the past. It was a means to gain finances as my attempts to genuinely help people were seen as ‘overservicing’ and time-wasting. I’ve finally come to the realisation that life is what I make of it. I can create my own opportunities to live and work how I want to, and need to. In the future I plan for this business to grow to a point that I can bring others in to experience a positive and supportive work environment too. I trust that synchronicity will brill me what I need, when I need it, including the right people to enrich my life and my business. I hope and pray that I can always be open to receiving positive energy from the source and sharing what I can with others. If I can do this I will be satisfied, and that’s why I share my personal spiritual beliefs on my business page, because without them there would be no business.

Peace and love to all who have read this far!!

– Diane

The face behind the business.