Gifts from the sea
Oceana offers a serene shopping experience for those seeking gifts of distinction
“I think in the current climate, you need to make shopping enjoyable,” says Jane Williamson, owner of Oceana in Orleans. “It’s so easy to go online and order products. It has become important to show people things that are different and interesting and give them a whole experience. We try to make it a calm, beautiful environment here.”
Williamson purchased Oceana in December of 2017. “I had been shopping at Oceana for years, and I loved the store,” she says. “I joked that if Oceana ever came on the market, it would be really fun to own. And then it did a few months later, and I said, ‘This is meant to be.’”
Oceana features a wide array of product lines by artists who hail from the Cape to international locales like the United Kingdom—Williamson’s home country. “It depends on how it makes me feel,” she says about the process of choosing new products to feature in her shop. One of Oceana’s more recent additions is a line by Simon Pearce—a Vermont glassmaker noted for his simple yet classically sophisticated designs and unmatched attention to detail. But asking Williamson to choose her favorite artist is like asking her to choose a favorite child. Each of the product lines—from jewelry by Anna Beck, Freida Rothman and Steven Douglas to pottery by Jobi Pottery and Gail Turner—have been lovingly chosen by Williamson and her team, and each contributes to the unique personality of the shop.
“I thought it was important to maintain the serene air when you walk in,” Williamson explains about the atmosphere of her shop. “It feels like you’re stepping into a different world, and that’s what I was trying to preserve.” A recent remodel transformed the space, with seafoam green walls and new windows to allow natural lighting to flow through the store, and carefully chosen lighting to better showcase the artwork. The result is a tranquil ambiance—a shopper’s paradise, as the welcoming nature of the space makes it easy to get lost among one-of-a-kind note cards and photo prints that depict local landscapes. “I want it to feel calm and serene without too much distraction,” says Williamson. For her, Oceana has become a true escape; customers are likely to feel that way as well.
“I hope what makes us unique is the service,” says Williamson, who credits employees like manager Martha Whatley for their patience and creative dedication to creating a spectacular shopping experience. “I want people to come in and feel that they can ask any questions and that they can be helped as much or as little as they want.” For Williamson, creating that unbeatable experience for shoppers at Oceana is second to none. “The thing I love the most,” she says, “is when someone comes in needing help and you find them what it is they’re looking for and see that look on their face. You know that they love whatever it is you’ve found.” The detailed attention to service that Williamson and her team strive for is surprisingly best explained through one, unique aspect of the store: their signature gift wrap. Each purchase is beautifully wrapped because, as Williamson puts it, the goal of Oceana is to give customers an experience. And, of course, all of life’s best experiences are tied together with a bow. “It’s the cherry on the top,” she says.
Oceana is located just off of Main Street in Orleans, 1 Main Street Square to be exact. Don’t let your GPS confuse you—the shop sits in a delightful location in the plaza right behind Mahoney’s Atlantic Bar & Grill. “It’s really fun being part of Orleans,” says Williamson, who feels that owning Oceana has given her a place within the local community. “They’ve been incredibly welcoming, and we have the most amazing group of women that work here. It’s really nice being part of a team.”
It can be difficult to describe Oceana, only because there’s so much offered, within a wide range of price points to suit everyone’s needs, that no singular definition does it justice. Is it a home accessories store? Is it a gift shop? Is it a place to find your next great wardrobe accessory or coveted piece of jewelry? The answer is yes, it’s all of these things. That is perhaps best summed up with their tagline, “Inspirations with an accent on design.”
“It’s basically everything I love—gifts, home goods, clothes, jewelry. All the things that I love to buy are here, and I don’t feel that you can put us in one box,” says Williamson. “I hope people think of us for all of those different categories.” For a store that specializes in featuring a wide variety of artists, it would be easy to say that Oceana is, in and of itself, a work of art.
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