Our Process

Every Once Was Lost piece is completely hand crafted.  We partner with small groups of talented artisans in Ethiopia to preserve the time-honoured craft of hand spinning fibres, weaving on traditional wooden looms, small batch dyeing and hand knotted fringing.

By supporting these hand made production methods, together we create sustainable employment for our artisans.  Ensuring them a safe work environment, opportunity through nurturing their talents as well as providing education, health support and stable income for their families.

We believe that by doing this, we can cultivate real change, for real people while creating something beautiful that will be treasured for life.


Each scarf or throw starts out as a humble ball of cotton picked from small operating farms in Southern Ethiopia. The cotton is then purchased at market before being hand spun on wooden spindles and bundled before being passed onto our dyeing team.


The cotton is then dyed using a combination of natural colours found in often locally grown flowers, plants, herbs and spices as well as AZO free, REACH certified, environmentally friendly man-made dyes.  These dyes are meticulously combined in steel pots and then the fibres are soaked in small batches transferring the rich colours onto the cotton.


The cotton is then washed by hand before being hung out to dry in the Ethiopian sunshine.  These bundles of cotton are then given to our weavers who often work from their homes enabling them to continue to be a part of their community and family as well as being given the freedom to choose when and how often they work.


The weaving process can take over 3 days to complete a single piece.  Each scarf or throw is woven on traditional wooden looms using skills passed down through the generations.


Once woven, the scarves and throws are brought to our fringing team who hand fringe knot by knot the edging on each piece by rolling the loose fibres along their thigh and tying a knot to secure them.  From here, the pieces are given to the washing department where they are triple washed to ensure optimum softness before they are hung out to dry in the sun.


Finally, each scarf is ironed and given to our finishing team who inspect each piece for quality and consistency and who then hand stitch our Once Was Lost label on.


From our artisans in Ethiopia to our studio in Australia, where each piece is given a calico tag and placed in an individual cotton bag it is then lovingly sent out to their new home at your place!

We are immensely proud of the phenomenal journey our pieces take and are honoured to share the story with you.