Textiles are a major global polluter, contributing to increasing greenhouse emissions, environmental degradation, water pollution and hazardous health impacts. Finding sustainable alternatives is essential to reduce the damaging environmental effects of synthetic textiles. Owner and creative designer of Teal Ocean Art, Geri Hall has built her business around this ethos.
Teal Ocean Art is a mixture of sustainable, holistic and ethical textiles.
Geri Hall, as part of Teal Ocean Art, uses handmade textile crafts from recycled, eco friendly and ethically sourced materials. Geri also designs jewellery formed with natural healing in mind, using beautiful crystals, geodines and recycled metals.
Geri, share some information about your background please?
I’ve basically turned a hobby into a small business. Nothing I’ve studied at university has anything to do with what I’m doing now. I was quite career-driven up until I suffered a massive work-related breakdown, and mental illness has unfortunately left me with long term physical symptoms that make 9-5 work extremely difficult for me. As a form of self-soothing I began to crochet and started practising meditation and holistic self-help alongside prescribed psychotherapy. It was never my intention to turn it into a form of income, but after a lot of moral support and reassurance from friends and family, I decided to go for it.
Where did your business idea come from?
Climate Change guilt, based on the fact that if I led by example I’d be doing my bit for the future of our beautiful earth. I also wanted to provide a different option for the holistic community and people dipping their toes into sustainability and slow living.
What do most of your clients come to you for?
Most of my customers contact me directly for bespoke commission work, especially for holistic jewellery using ethically sourced high-grade semi-precious gemstones to help them with specific things.
What has been your biggest AH-HA moment in Business?
Good question! I don’t actually think I’ve ever really had an AH-HA moment. I’m not one for taking big chances in general, and I avoid confrontation like the plague. But I have definitely learned from mistakes. Maybe realising that failing is a form of growth was my AH-HA moment…
With such a wonderful array of products on offer, what is most in-demand?
Because of the nature of my work, I don’t have a long term best seller. I recycle materials, thrift new materials, look to save good quality textiles from going to landfill before even considering buying brand new, so my products change often. The holistic jewellery range sells really well though, as does my little crochet bowls. I have just started to make and sell suncatchers which is proving popular.
What do you think distinguishes your business from others making it unique?
As many businesses jump onto the sustainable bandwagon, and rightly so, it’s difficult to be totally unique, and the holistic market has skyrocketed since lockdown. However, being handmade will always provide your customer with a product quite different from any other. It’s got a little bit of my heart attached to it.
Share a piece of business advice with those thinking of making a lifestyle change towards suitability?
No matter how small you might think your contribution to a more eco-friendly way of life is, it still matters. Remember that millions of folk living imperfect sustainable lives makes more difference than a few living it perfectly.
Share what you believe to be a key to success in business?
Accepting that you are not for everyone is crucial to survival. There will always be opinions out there, the key is to believe in yourself enough to let go, learn, grow and continue to love what you do.
To find out more about Teal Ocean Art and the importance of slow fashions, textile art and holistic jewellery visit Geri’s Instagram and Etsy shop via the links below.