Celebrating 10 Years of Oceano: Our Brand’s Full Story
As we celebrate the recent opening of our newest boutique, we can’t help but reflect on how far we’ve come in the decade that Oceano has been in business.
It’s been a wonderful 10 years of transforming the ocean’s most beautiful treasures into wearable designs and redefining traditional pearl jewelry. But, most importantly, it’s been even more incredible to build connections with our amazing clients in Mauritius and beyond.
We’ve come a long way from hosting small events in Kenya to having various boutiques across Mauritius, which is why we believe it’s the perfect time to share our full story.
The story of Oceano begins with our founder Harriet. She had been attracted to the world of jewelry since she was a girl, continually admiring the fascinating pieces her mother had in her extensive collection. After learning basic soldering techniques from a friend in Italy, Harriet decided it was finally time to branch out on her own.
She noticed a gap in the market for contemporary, ocean-inspired pearl jewelry, as most pearl jewelry was still tied to classical designs. Her vision was to create unusual pieces that honored her love of the ocean, fashion, her art history background, and her Mauritian roots.
Harriet began her design process by adapting antique jewelry found in markets, and matching them to designs from her mother’s evening bag brand. But the official birth of Oceano came from the creation of its signature wave-like logo, which Harriet hand-drew in her Nairobi kitchen. Her first designs followed shortly after: a handful of exclusive pieces that Harriet sold through pop up sales and private appointments. Slowly but surely the brand began to grow through word of mouth selling.
Oceano grew from a one woman show into a true team. After juggling motherhood with jewelry design, Harriet was ready to dedicate herself fully to her brand. Oceano’s first official full-time employee was Ismet, the silversmith that Harriet had been working with since moving back to Mauritius. The two of them established our south Mauritius workshop, which is still where our pieces are created.
Oceano began growing digitally, with the launch of our website and social networks. Though we have always found success within Nairobi’s vast international community, finding clients from Europe, South America, and North America, our new online platforms helped us further develop our global reach.
Like many small businesses, we were faced with numerous challenges due to the covid-19 pandemic. Nevertheless, our small team of three continued to work hard and rise above the uncertainty. We did everything we could to keep selling and growing, remaining positive for when the world would reopen.
Our team’s perseverance and optimism throughout the pandemic paid off. 2021 marked a significant milestone for us with the opening of our first boutique on the west coast of Mauritius in June.
The boutique may have been small, but it provided us with big opportunities for creating growth and establishing our brand presence. We were able to create a tangible representation of all things Oceano, cultivating our dream ambiance within the boutique’s walls.
Our expansion also extended beyond borders, as we established our first international partnerships with boutiques in Portugal, France and Kenya.
Following the first birthday of our boutique, we were able to upgrade to a larger space in a more popular area. We were grateful for all of the opportunities that our first boutique gave us, but it was time to move on to a bigger storefront in an area with higher foot traffic.
At the same time, we opened another boutique in North Mauritius in partnership with our sister brand Alicia Swim. Created by Harriet’s sister Alicia, we were thrilled to cultivate this partnership. Both brands complement each other beautifully, and showcase our commitment to supporting family, community, and female-led businesses.
After enjoying years of successful physical growth, we decided to also expand our collections. February saw the introduction of newer luxury materials, including solid 18K gold and diamonds. These special pieces tend to be boutique and social media exclusives.
Our latest milestone is the opening of yet another new boutique in North Mauritius, which solely features Oceano jewelry.
We’re certain the future will hold many more beautiful moments with the team and with you, our cherished clients. None of this incredible growth could have happened without your support, for which we are eternally grateful. Whether you’ve been with us since the early days in Kenya or you’ve only recently joined our journey, we extend you a heartfelt thanks.