Once Was Lost
  1. So who are Once Was Lost and where did the name come from?

My husband Andy and I started Once Was Lost in late 2013. We launched Once Was Lost to primarily support and create sustainability for artisans in developing countries that I saw were producing incredibly beautiful product, but without an aesthetic that I knew would be marketable here in Australia.  So, I started designing pieces and working with these incredible makers to produce pieces featuring their traditional skills but with a more simplified, natural design.  For the name, ‘Once Was Lost’, Andy was the one that came up with that! We loved it as a lyric from one of our favourite old hymns, Amazing Grace, but also we loved that we had in a way 'found' artisans that 'once were lost' and are bringing their creativity, traditional skills and art forms to a broader market here.

  1. Have you always worked in the design/retail industry?

Pretty much!  I have worked in retail and marketing for many years but, before that, I was blessed to grow up in both a creatively nurturing and ambitiously entrepreneurial family.  My Dad is a professional artist and has always had solo-galleries and held numerous international exhibitions and so, growing up in such a creative environment I've always had a love for the handmade and held a high value for artisanal products.  It was only a matter of time before being able to put that to practice with my own label!

  1. Where do you source your artisan/products/inspiration from?

I guess it’s a combination of just being able to look out the window and see so much beauty that surrounds us in the everyday.  From the muted tones of a grey storm filled sky to the crisp blue colours that reflect off the waves at the beach – inspiration is everywhere!   I also love the simplicity of Japanese and Scandinavian design and the imperfections that come with beautifully handmade products.

  1. How would you describe your aesthetic?

Natural, simple, timeless, authentic.

  1. Do you have any new projects or artisans joining OWL in 2015?

We are working with some incredible new artisans in Nepal that we are really excited about.  They are hand weaving the most beautiful cashmere shawls that will be arriving in very soon!  We are also working on a very exciting range for home which is set to launch later this year, we are working with some amazing women in Kenya for this project and can’t wait to share the work they’re doing – it’s really special!

  1. What’s your favourite piece in the OWL collection? Why?

It’s so hard to choose!  I love different pieces for different reasons!  I love our bracelets and am never without one (or two) on!  But, I have a special place for our beautiful ombre scarves that are arriving in very soon.  They are made with cotton grown and hand-spun in southern Ethiopia and then are brought north to be woven and naturally dyed.  The workmanship that goes into each of these pieces is just phenomenal and I know will be a wardrobe staple for many seasons to come!

  1. Can you tell us a little bit about International Justice Mission?

We started partnering with IJM about a year ago.  They share our heart for justice and their relentless fight for people that simply cannot fend for themselves is absolutely inspiring.  IJM works to defend, protect and free people trapped in violent or harmful environments and we so proud to partner with the selfless work they do.  For further information on their worldwide operations you can visit their website ijm.org 

  1. Can you share three resources you turn to for creative inspiration?

Travel.  We love to travel, to see new places, go on a new adventure and meet incredible people around the world.  I think it’s so important to see outside our own environment and explore new horizons.

Magazines – I love Fete Press, Kinfolk, Renegade Collective.

I love Instagram for instant visual inspiration, I follow some incredible creatives and their visual look books through instagram are always inspiring to me, some of my favourites are @meghan_plowman, @gatherandfeast, @saramedinalind, @lovewalkeatsee

  1. Where do you see trends in the industry going?

I love that we are all becoming more curious.  More aware of what we put in our home or what we wear day to day.  I would love to see more people ask questions about where the products they invest money into are coming from, knowing the story of its production and being able to share that.  I’m a firm believer that if you know the story or maker of a product, you’ll value it so much more and I think the industry is recognising this desire for consumers to know about what they are investing in.

  1. Any Tips or pieces of Advice?

Focus on adding value, know why you do what you do, keep your curiosity and continue to learn and grow.  I love the Max Dupree quote, “We cannot become what we want to be, by remaining what we are.”




November 16, 2016 by Sharee Potter

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