We started Once Was Lost 6 years ago with a vision to see ethically handmade products made in a timeless, natural style that we would be proud to wear and use everyday.
Our journey has took us across the world to find just the right artisans to partner with, finally landing in Ethiopia where our hearts were touched with the people, the culture and the quality of craftsmanship.
As a family, we believe that the simple and natural things are often the most meaningful and beautiful - a handpicked flower, a kind word, that first cup of weekend coffee in your favourite cup - so we've overflowed that feeling and aimed to infuse it into each product. Taking on a thoughtful approach to production, for our textiles, we use only the softest, hand spun Ethiopian cotton, environmentally friendly dyes (with no nasty toxins) and nurture slower production methods weaving each product on age-old wooden looms. For our bracelets, we partner with a small producing jeweller in Spain, whose quality and attention to detail we love.
Above all, our focus is supporting the futures and families of our artisans. Through your support and the sale of every Once Was Lost piece, we are able to provide safe work environments, sustainable employment as well as health care, education and additional financial support to each of our talented makers based all over Ethiopia.
Thank you for your support, we look forward to continuing the journey with you and sending some beautifully crafted pieces your way soon!
Laura & Andy (James & Caleb)
Once Was Lost Manifesto
We believe in celebrating natural beauty and that it’s the simple things in life that can spark the most joy.
We believe in wholeheartedness - in doing work you love and in choosing that, inspiring others to do the same.
We honour timeless design over trend and believe that going back to basics is a step forward.
We believe it is better to have a little of something wonderful, than a lot of mediocrity.
We believe we all have a responsibility to look after the earth and each other and we look out for opportunity to do good.
We believe that today is a gift. We choose courage, live lightly and believe that a life marked by love is a life well lived.
the heart of all we do
We believe in pursuing excellence - to us, that means crafting our products the time-honoured way with exceptional attention to detail to ensure every piece is made with integrity and luxuriously crafted to last. From the spinning of our fibres on traditional spindles to the wooden hand looms, we work with our artisans in celebrating and keeping age-old production techniques alive.
We believe in the beauty found in natural fibres. Known for its softness and exceptional quality, our cotton is purchased at markets from local, small farm growers in Ethiopia before being dyed with AZO free, REACH certified, friendly dyes that are environmentally friendly and do not affect local rivers and the delicate ecology that thrives within it.
A sense of belonging
We believe in working closely with our makers to provide not just safe and sustainable employment, but also personal mentoring, skills development, education, health care - nurturing their potential and creating opportunity not just for their futures but for the next generation, providing a place to belong and a community in which to thrive.
We believe in a cultivating a culture of generosity in all we do. Generous not just with our resource alone, but generous with our time, our words, our heart and with the way we do business.
We support IJM
and their fight against slavery