Image shows - Julia Grant, the founder and owner of Winter's Moon in her light-filled Chichester studio

Creative Me – Julia Grant

Image shows - Julia Grant, the founder and owner of Winter's Moon in her light-filled Chichester studio
Julia Grant, the founder and owner of Winter's Moon in her light-filled Chichester studio

Under the Oak Tree is…

A meeting place for creative folk. Be inspired by their stories – and shelfies.

Julia Grant, the founder and owner of Winter’s Moon, is on a one-woman mission to help us fill our homes with colourful, modern and vintage style….

She joins us  Under the Oak Tree to talk Christmas, Desert Island Discs and wiggly ears…

1. What are you working on now?

I am currently trying to get my act together for Christmas! I am doing a couple of events so am planning how I will display my wares, and also how to make the studio more Christmassy for the days when I am open to customers. There are also lampshade orders to finish for patient customers. Plus, I need to think ahead about new products for next year. I find that balance of working on the now and the future quite tricky.

Image shows - Let the sunshine in! Vintage mid-century armchair, reupholstered in yellow wool, from Winter's Moon
Let the sunshine in! Vintage mid-century armchair, reupholstered in yellow wool, from Winter's Moon

2. Describe your desk or workspace?

Erratic! It’s a very large desk and I do everything on it – wrap orders, make lampshades, computer stuff! I am not naturally tidy, so it slowly gets messier and messier… Then I have a big tidy until it becomes unbearable again. But, I face the door of the studio so can see people coming in and also have a window right by my side so can often see birds hopping around outside – which I love.

3. What’s the soundtrack to your work?

BBC 6 music, Desert Island Discs or whatever I am listening to on Audible – and the occasional business-related podcast here or there.

Image shows - Julia finds inspiration for her new designs in the vintage pieces she sells, like this coffee set from the Briglin Pottery Studio, which ran from 1948 to 1990.
Julia finds inspiration for her new designs in the vintage pieces she sells, like this coffee set from the Briglin Pottery Studio, which ran from 1948 to 1990.

4. Who or what inspires you?

The vintage items I find are a big inspiration. The Perky table I sell was basically intended to be a modern take on the old kitchen formica tables I had found and sold. I also have a good hoard of vintage fabrics so often use them as the starting point for product colour stories.

5. What do you need to create?

Lots of thinking time… like most creative people I am very visual so spend a lot of time with random ideas just flitting away at the back of my head. I do use up a lot of my creative energy thinking about the business, so often have to turn off that part of my brain and stop thinking about work. There is a lot to be said for keeping your creative energy just for hobbies and keeping it all about the joy. Recently, I have gone back to dressmaking – which I love. It makes me feel as if not all of my creative energy is going into the business.

Image shows - Inspirational shelfie from the Winter's Moon studio in Chichester, West Sussex
Inspirational shelfie from the Winter's Moon studio in Chichester, West Sussex

6. What time of day does your brain come alive?

When I go to bed! Not great… Often I lie awake with random ideas appearing and then of course can’t remember them in the morning. But, I am convinced they were all brilliant!

7. What advice would you give to someone wanting to do what you do?

Establish your own style and try not to be too influenced by what your contemporaries are doing. And whatever you do, do it wholeheartedly – if you don’t take it seriously, you can’t expect other people to.

Image shows - The Winter's Moon studio, in Chichester, West Sussex, showcases the brand's mix of furniture, textiles and homewares
The Winter's Moon studio, in Chichester, West Sussex, showcases the brand's mix of furniture, textiles and homewares

8. What do you do when you lose sight of your inspiration?

Cut myself some slack and talk to my self-employed friends. It’s not an easy road being self-employed and running your own business, but having people who ‘get-it’ really makes you feel less isolated. Now, I have learnt that it’s all part of the ups and downs of working this way – you have days where it’s the best job in the world, and others where you just want someone else to make the decisions and pay the heating bills!

9. Tell us one thing about yourself that no one would guess?

I can wiggle my ears alternately – it’s a rare skill!

Image shows - The Pappelina Marre runner, from Winter's Moon, is handwoven in Sweden using techniques that date from 1948.
The Pappelina Marre runner, from Winter's Moon, is handwoven in Sweden using techniques that date from 1948.

10. What’s next for you?

To keep swimming! 2016 was a bad year for me health-wise and the business really suffered. This year has been about getting the business back on track with more focus. In 2018, I hope to be able to take a few risks, invest in new products and grow the footfall to the studio, which has been a really great direction to take the business. I really enjoy the unexpected conversations that come with having customers pop in to see me and my colourful wares.