Travel has played an important role in the life of designer Laura Wortlock of Once Was Lost. She met her husband Andy in New York. Together they moved around through Malta before returning home to Australia, and setting up life in Hervey Bay, Queensland. However, they continue to have strong links with the rest of the world through the fair trade homewares collections they have created based on their work with artisans in Ethiopia. Since launching in 2013 Once Was Lost is now stocked in more than 100 stores around the world.
Laura grew up in a family with a father who was a full-time artist and a mother who was passionate about design. “I always had an appreciation for the handmade, thoughtful aesthetics and original craftsmanship,” she says. However, Laura felt there was a gap in the fair trade product market - for items that possessed a simple, understated style. “Once Was Lost was really born from a desire to merge these ideas and it's heartbeat has always been to blend age-old making techniques and craftsmanship with a more sophisticated, natural aesthetic,” she says.
Most recently Laura and Andy have opened a bricks-and-mortar store in Hervey Bay, Pocket. And they have plans to develop a range for little ones later this year.
Imprint House is proud to be a stockist of Once Was Lost. One and include one of their beautiful fair trade throws in our 20 Everyday Essentials collection.
Which five words best describe you? Enthusiastic, ambitious, authentic, optimistic, grateful.
How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? I saw there was a growing trend toward Fairly Traded products which I loved conceptually, however, what I often found was products that whilst beautifully produced, lacked the more simple, understated style that I would be more likely to wear and use. Once Was Lost was really born from a desire to merge these ideas and it’s heartbeat has always been to blend age-old making techniques and craftsmanship with a more sophisticated, natural aesthetic. We wanted to create pieces that were ethically produced and celebrated the handmade process but were also authentic to the natural style that we love.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? Be flexible and always say thank you. The greatest products we’ve created have sometimes been by accident and being able to be flexible with our plans and designs has helped us a long way. Also, we’ve found that simply being thankful for all the people who have helped nurture and support us through the journey of Once Was Lost has been essential to our growth.
What’s your proudest career achievement? There probably hasn’t been a defining moment as such, however, when we first received our samples from our artisans and saw the quality of craftsmanship, paired with the designs we loved, we knew we had created something that was really special. Being able to partner with the artisans that we do and to have the opportunity to share their craft with the world is a a real privilege and something we don't take for granted.
What’s been your best decision? Aside from choosing to work together - which we love - to actually travel to Ethiopia, drive out to our artisans homes to sit with them and watch them weaving our collections. This was life-changing for both of us and an experience that has enabled us to look at our business, our artisans and products in a whole new light.
Who inspires you? Those who overcome. Anyone who has the courage. determination and creativity to pursue their gifts and talents regardless of circumstance or the status quo.
What are you passionate about? Not taking life for granted. Living each day filled with love, gratitude, generosity and a genuine enthusiasm for being alive.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Right now, the greatest gift has just been meeting our little boy, James. We are completely besotted.
What dream do you still want to fulfil? Oh, we have so many, this is just the beginning. We are both passionate about encouraging and helping empower people to live their very best and we have some exciting new opportunities surrounding this planned for the future. We are also excited to be launching Once Was Lost into the UK, Switzerland, Japan and New Zealand, so to see the pieces housed all over the world is really exciting.
What are you reading? Currently, the book I have open is Oi, frog, which I was reading to James this morning, but to be honest, there’s been very little time for reading.
images courtesy of once was lost