In 1991 Opal Moon was born - a tiny baby of a shop - comprising of a unit in the upper floor of DeCourcys Arcade, a small, ramshackle shopping arcade in the west end of Glasgow. The arcade had long served the West End's eclectic mix of residents with an array of handmade clothes, arts & crafts, second hand records and tarot readings. It seemed like the perfect place for me to open my little dream shop! Having no previous retail experience (my job prior to opening the shop had been as a library assistant in Glasgow University Library), I launched myself into business following my heart and not my head! My vague business plan was based on my love of the mystical & the magical, and to bring a little of this magic into people's lives. I had loved crystals since I was a child and had been making crystal jewellery for a while, so these were my main focus in the beginning of Opal Moon.
Gradually my little shop began to take shape. Decorated with purple fabrics and handpainted moons & stars, I began filling the shop with treasures of the earth...learning as I went along - delving headfirst into the fascinating, glittering world of crystals. The shop was tiny, but packed full of beautiful sparkly things - a real little Aladdin's Cave! As I worked away, making my jewellery in the shop & constantly discovering new things to introduce, Opal Moon's stock began expanding to include inspirational artcards, incense, relaxation tapes (there were no CDs in those days, let alone Ipods!), and anything else that felt right. Before long I had totally run out of space! Fortunately Opal Moon had no next door neighbour at the time, and could expand easily into the next unit.
I have always been taken aback by people's response to Opal Moon! So many customers over the years have told me how much they enjoy spending time here...just soaking up the atmsosphere - the gentle music, the beautiful scents of the incense and oils, and the energies of the crystals all combine the make something truly magical! As the years progressed, and Opal Moon became more established, another wall was knocked down, and then we were three (units!)...a long, narrow shop...packed with magical stock.
During this time, a few personal changes had taken place for me too. I temporarily moved down to London, where I sold my jewellery to various like-minded shops. I took a weekend stall in the vibrant and exciting Camden Market - a bit of an adventure for a quiet Glasgow girl! During this time Opal Moon continued to thrive, in the care of good friends and with me visiting once a month to catch up. After two years, the pace of London became a little too fast for me, and I returned home to the west end of Glasgow, and back to spend more time in my wee shop again.
Over the next few years more big changes took place for me, as I met my soulmate Al, and our little boy Jack was born. Opal Moon got a refurb, resplendant in purple and turquoise, and continued to go from strength to strength. For a while I enjoyed having two shops within the arcade - I expanded our book stock and opened "Opal Moon Books".
Perhaps a bit of a luxury...a bookshop completely dedicated to the spiritual, magical and holistic! I loved having the bookshop and we had many lovely and loyal customers...however, after a while it became apparent that running two shops meant twice as much expense, which I couldn't quite manage to cover, so I decided after much soul-searching to give this up, and squash the books back into the original shop (Opal Moon has always had amazing, tardis-like qualities!!).
In 2006 we celebrated Opal Moon's 15th birthday with the first proper Opal Moon Event - a fantastic evening of talks, readings, therapies, food, drink and general fun & frolics! Unable to fit all of these activities into our tiny, packed out shop, we expanded for the evening into the corridor and other units in the arcade (with the permission of some lovely, obliging fellow shop-keepers!) I was absolutely overwhelmed by the response we had to our Birthday Bash - it was a fantastic night and certainly the best 15th birthday party I've ever been to!
The following year big changes were taking place in the arcade. Many of the shops in the upper floor were closing, and the arcade itself was undergoing a huge transformation under new ownership. My husband Al was made redundant from his job in Lost in Music, the record shop in the arcade where he had worked for 20 plus years. Faced with this huge shake-up, it was time for a change! Al and I decided to go into partnership, with Al focusing on our online activities, and the book-keeping side of things (which I am incredibly bad at!).
For some time I had thought how good it would be to be able to offer customers the chance to have a tarot reading, a massage, or some other treatment, as part of their visit to Opal Moon. I also recognised the need for small, informal workshops and classes on subjects such as crystal therapy, angels, tarot etc - something to allow people to learn more without making the commitment to enrol in a longer "course". We just needed to find premises that would be suitable for offering these services. After a great deal of searching around, we found our new premises - a lovely big shop, with two rooms at the back - one for use as an office, and the other for our therapy room. The shop was big enough for us to host workshops & classes too.
We enjoyed our lovely, big shop for over two and a half years - having so much space to display our stock was wonderful. Customers no longer tripped over baskets of incense on the floor when they came in, and amazingly we could fit more than three people in the shop at a time, which is something we had previously struggled with! We had a fantastic array of different therapies and consultations on offer, and were able to host regular workshops & events. We made lots of new friends, and many of our older customers tracked us down at our new location!
We've been lucky in so many ways over the past few years in Opal Moon, but like so many other businesses, the recession took its toll. Our beautiful, big shop proved difficult to maintain, and it cost us a fortune to heat!! In January 2010 we had the opportunity to relocate...just four doors along the road, to smaller and cosier premises, at 136 Queen Margaret Drive.
Financially and physically our smaller shop is much easier for us to maintain, which has given us the chance to focus on building our stock and filling our shelves with the most beautiful, spiritually inspired goods that we can find! And energetically this space seems to work well for us, it really feels like home! We continue to build our business online too, and enjoy taking Opal Moon "on the road" occasionally for special events.
Personally I feel incredibly blessed to have been the proud owner of Opal Moon for all this time. I've had a wonderful opportunity to learn and meet so many amazing people along the way. Coupled with this, I've spent a great part of my time surrounded by all my favourite things, in truly magical surroundings!
The Opal Moon team feels like family...and in fact we really are family! My husband Al is co-owner, and the backbone of the business ~ attending to our accounts, online sales and stock management, as well as taking all of the photos you see here on our website! We are joined too by Hayley, Al's daughter and my step-daughter, who is a wonderful helper in the shop, ensuring that at our shelves are full of stock, everything is clean and tidy, and that customers are well looked after. Hayley is a gifted artist, and you may have seen her nature-based work adorning our windows.
Laura is also part of our current Opal Moon family, and has been with us for the last seven years. Laura is also a very talented artist, and is responsible for our lovely Opal Moon sign, as well as our sun, moon & ivy window decoration! And of course where would we be without the wonderful Eryn? Eryn has been with us for 11 years now, and her contribution to Opal Moon has been huge. She is a wealth of knowledge and information (as anyone visiting us and seeking some crystal advice will know), and her bright, warm and friendly personality lifts everyone's spirit. Eryn we thank you and salute you!
Of course over the years we've had many magical helpers! Special mention should also be given to Susan and her lovely wee dog Scully, who I'm sure many customers remember fondly; to my dear friend Marina, who kept everything sparkly and bright for me while I went off on my travels and adventures; other stars include Chelsea, Emmeline, Jeanette, Anastasia and Kaia..thank you all for your help and for being part of Opal Moon!
So in her 25th year, Opal Moon continues to go from strength to strength, for which I am filled with gratitude. Heartfelt thanks to all of our loyal customers and friends who have supported us so well over the years, we hope that you continue to find whatever you need when you visit, whether that be a crystal, a book, or just time to relax for a while. You're very welcome.
Joan, February 2016