Once Was Lost

I am excited to share the story of a lovely new Australian business with you: Once Was Lost. This business creates beautifully handmade and ethical products focussing on an appreciation of the simple things in life.

Once Was Lost is the collaboration of husband and wife Andy and Laura Wortlock of Hervey Bay, Queensland. The collection is full of thoughtfully designed products that display the beautiful and intricate craftsmanship of artisans from around the world. From a range of scarves made using traditional weaving methods in Africa, to bags made by a mother of two in Thailand, to bracelets made in Spain, the Once Was Lost collection is all about recognition of the beauty in simplicity and quality.

Since Once Was Lost is a new business adventure, Laura and Andy really make the company and its products look so desirable (check out their Instagram account!). I spoke with Laura more about her perception of the company and their products…

What is Once Was Lost?
Once Was Lost is a newly launched Australian label focusing on accessories (currently scarves & bracelets) that are handmade by artisans who share our commitment to quality craftsmanship. We love the nuance and feel of a handmade piece and believe that knowing the story and production process of any item you purchase makes you treasure it so much more.

What are your backgrounds and how did you decide to start Once Was Lost?
My background has been in visual art and retail, working with a number of small boutiques in Australia and abroad. And Andy has come from a finance background as well as working privately in lifestyle coaching. We have very similar style which is reflected in the design of our ranges and as a partnership love the opportunity to work closely together. We started with a pretty simple idea – to partner with artisans across the world, some in remote parts of the globe, to bring their skill and traditional methods of making items… and pair it with the simple, natural aesthetic we love and make it accessible for the Australian/New Zealand market.

Could you explain the planning and preparation involved before launching the site.
There were a lot of e-mails! We were fortunate enough to be living in New York City for a period and in that time started sourcing some of our makers and meeting some fantastic artisans that helped inspire our range. With most of our suppliers in differing time zones, planning and preparation was lengthier than expected and many design adjustments along the way took place before the final collection and online store was launched.

Why did you decide to have your scarves made in Ethiopia?
We came across a fantastic small group of women that were producing some beautiful pieces completely by hand – we were so impressed with not only the quality of their work, but the skilled craftsmanship and traditional methods that are used to make each piece. They manage the entire production process, from growing the silk worms locally, to the natural dying each piece, right through to hand weaving the scarves – we’ve been so blessed to partner with them.

What is your dream outcome from running Once Was Lost?
We love to travel and we love the opportunity to work with a number of different artisans, so hopefully – we’ll be visiting many more places and working with more incredibly talented people!

What is your favourite product?
So hard to choose! I do love our bracelets for their ability to be worn as an everyday item – you don’t have to think about, I always have one or two on! But, if I had to pick a favourite scarf, I probably wear my Etta Infinity Scarf in Charcoal the most – but they’re all lovely… I’m biased!

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