Women's Fashion | About Ocea Design, Boho Fashion


How we started Ocea

I dreamt of having our own business, born through our love of travelling!

After many short holidays to Bali, we quickly fell in love with the place, people and culture. We needed to find a way to incorporate our passion for starting a new business that could keep us travelling and coming back to places like Bali.

My husband and I decided to focus on a business that could give us the freedom to work whilst travelling and designing, which I felt was always my calling. This inspired me to create beautiful leather goods, jewellery and clothing.

Before we decided to travel, I was in a place I feel is pretty standard—I was working insane hours, and the busy rush of the day-to-day routine pushed me to search for a new lifestyle. My boys were growing up so quickly, and I was yearning for that break that stop button, a new life that would give me the freedom to spend time with my family and this is how we started OCEA!

We were inspired by the easy-going, laid-back lifestyle of the Balinese and my love of fashion and design. We set off on a 3-month family holiday to find suppliers and get in touch with ourselves again. So… we packed our suitcases and, together with our three boys, aged six, eight and nine, left for Bali. With only the first three days of accommodation booked, we decided to make the remainder of our time an adventure to live like the Balinese and find our roots.

We have so much to say about our fantastic adventure, but some of the standouts are.

We were staying at a family village in Nusa Penida. We were fortunate enough to have a lovely Balinese friend take us to her family’s village. It wasn’t like staying in accommodation for tourists. It was a family home with no power and no hot water. We helped with daily chores, from feeding the cows to cutting down coconuts; the boys were out daily helping with life on the farm; they also got to experience what it was like to go to a Balinese school in the village—to the spectacular Cave temple climbing up steep stairs then in through a small opening to a cave that can fit up to 3000 people where we were lucky enough to experience a full Hindu blessing. The temple was an absolute highlight!

We also were invited to attend a Balinese cremation ceremony; it is the ritual performed in Bali to send the deceased to the next life. There’s a beautiful splash of colour on every road and home and a constant reminder of Balinese people’s devotion to their beliefs.

Together, we started learning the local language, Bahasa. It was fun practising words, from ordering food to hiring bikes and chatting with the locals at the shops and rice fields.

To touch more on how we started Ocea, whilst in Bali, I reconnected with an old friend who helped to source my suppliers. Since then, I have maintained an extraordinary relationship with them. They are not only our friends but a part of our family. My connection is based on sound values, mutual respect and trust between them and myself. At team meetings, I’ve always maintained good practices and listening skills; I appreciate and help resolve any challenges, always contributing while developing a better understanding of each other’s values and ethics. I never haggle on price, respecting the honesty and integrity of my Bali family’s hard work to fulfil the orders and needs of the business. They are not just suppliers; they have become our Bali family.

You have to go to Bali with an open mind, no expectations, respect the locals and embrace the culture. We ate our way around whilst sipping on Bintang, wandering through rice paddies and learning more about their beliefs and practices of life for much of the three months. The list goes on with wonderful cultural experiences, and I hope everyone gets to experience an adventurous holiday like this.

On another note, if you’re a little confused about pronouncing this rarity, you are not alone. The first instinct for most is Oh-SEE-ah, but it’s Oh-Shah, like Ocean but without the N.

This makes sense when you consider that as a name; it is thought to be derived from Oceana, a Greek word meaning Ocean or Oceanus, another Greek term meaning ‘god of the sea’. In light of this, it probably comes as no surprise that the name Ocea means ‘Ocean’.

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