Five Questions with Anne Harrill of Océanne

Océanne is a line of minimalist modern jewelry by French designer, Anne Harrill, handmade in Cleveland, Ohio. With an aesthetic that merges both the maker utility of the rustbelt and the enduring beauty of French design, Océanne is a tribute to Anne’s childhood in France and her journey to the American Midwest. Inspired by life’s small pleasures and made for your every day, each piece is designed with a focus on craftsmanship, comfort and functional beauty.

We recently sat down with Anne to discuss how her business got started, her Core City: Cleveland experience and her future plans.


What inspired you to create your business?

I moved from France in 2004 and was looking for a community. I moved, was young and getting married, and I found that it was really hard for me to connect with people. I was French, and my mom was Italian, and the culture shock was very hard. My husband was a musician, and I was always helping out by working the merch table, and I had the idea to sneak some of the pieces that I made in to try and meet people that way. I started doing just that, and people were responding well. I was meeting people, and that was the initial purpose of it. My business picked up from there.


What has been your biggest takeaway from the Core City: Cleveland Impact Program?

I started as an artist, and when you become a business owner you have to pick up many skills along the way. I’ve been stuck with the day-to-day tasks of managing my business; from making cool pieces to paying the bills. It’s been such an amazing experience to be able to step back and really take the time to remember the value of my business—to remember why I started but also why I’m doing what I’m doing and how to be more intentional with my financial goals.


What has surprised you about the Core City: Cleveland Impact Program?

How many skills I need to have to keep moving forward. I feel like I’ve been going with my instincts prior to the program, so what I’ve been learning has been working great for my business so far. We’ve been growing, and now I’m learning to be intentional and set goals for myself.


What’s the most important thing the program offers to entrepreneurs?

Being able to remember why you started. It also helps you learn how to articulate what you do because sometimes it feels like you get stuck on the daily tasks and you get so focused on that. It helps you verbalize what you do and make sense of what your business looks like to outsiders.


What are your future plans for your business?

I would love to expand our store to more workshops and have more collaboration with other artists. I want to become more of a creative space where people can meet and build a community together.


Learn more about Océanne at Then, come watch Anne pitch her business live on May 15 for a chance to win up to $10,000 at the Core City: Cleveland Entrepreneur Showcase.