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Featured Shop: Lost Property Hong Kong

Feb 12, 2016

by Valerie Rains

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods

As a former textiles designer for a bed linens brand in her native Australia, Jemima Callaghan of Lost Property Hong Kong knew firsthand the challenges crafters, creative entrepreneurs, and aspiring designers often faced in sourcing interesting sewing and craft supplies at reasonable prices. “In Australia, you might go to one or two of the remaining chain sewing stores and find elastic in only black and white, and twill tapes in just five colors,” she recalls.

It wasn’t until she moved with her family to Hong Kong in 2012 — and laid eyes on the rainbow-hued offerings within the city’s thriving textiles district — that she realized the role she could fill as a kind of textile-supplies whisperer, both for her compatriots back home and for small business owners all over the globe. Soon enough, she was putting her trained eye and industry experience to work, seeking out unique, high-quality materials and building a network of relationships with makers worldwide. “My favorite, favorite part of my job is when someone says, ‘Can you find a ribbon like this, in this width, in this color, in this style?’ and I get back to them a day or two later with just what they’re looking for. That feels amazing,” she says. “I love helping people solve their textile problems.”

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In the three-plus years since her shop debuted, Jemima has branched out, adding DIY tassel-making and rope-bowl sewing kits to her shop, and she’s hosting her first hands-on DIY workshop in Hong Kong later this month. Here’s her story — and what she’s set her sights on next.

What inspired you to open a supplies shop in the first place? Did you launch your shop with Etsy specifically in mind?

In the beginning, I didn’t really have a plan — the shop was meant to be a hobby that I’d do between 12 and 3 p.m. when my kids were sleeping. Once I had the idea to sell supplies online, though, I realized my best market would be the people who are trying to start up fashion labels and small creative businesses; especially, I was thinking of Australians, because of their limited range of options and limited access to bulk supplies at a really good price. I just thought I could be their connection.

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Do you still remember the first item that you listed in your Etsy shop?

I do! It was a Japanese denim ribbon — the same one that’s in my shop today.

How would you describe your shop’s aesthetic?

At first, I was trying to create a look for my shop that would appeal to other people, but now I just focus on making it appealing to me. It really is about showing off the uniqueness of the things that I can find, and also weaving in what inspires me and what I’m making at that time. At the moment, I’m photographing a lot of hand-dyed indigo linens because I’ve been dyeing linens on my rooftop. And I really like bold, colorful things, and so my shop, too, is quite colorful.

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In addition to dyeing, what other kinds of crafts and DIY projects do you enjoy doing in your personal life?

Being a maker myself, I want to know how people are using the materials they’re buying from my shop. So when people started buying macramé cord from me, it piqued my interest, and I started playing with that, testing it out and seeing how it works. It’s really important for me to know how the product’s being used, so I can answer people’s questions about the feel and the quality of the materials. And I always love it when my customers send me photos of what they’ve made or tag me on Instagram.

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When did you start adding DIY kits to the shop?

With my background as a bed linens designer, I have always been interested in homewares and home furnishings. About a year after I’d opened my supplies shop, I started creating my own range of homewares and selling it at markets here in Hong Kong. In particular, I started selling rope bowls, because I’d found a rope mill here that was doing some really interesting, beautiful ropes. Before long, I realized that there must be a lot of people trying to make these bowls themselves — there were so many photos of them going around on Pinterest — and I realized I could just do up the instructions and sell the materials as part of a kit. And the kits kind of went crazy! I still don’t really know how they went crazy, but they did, and it was really exciting.

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Do you find yourself constantly looking at supplies wherever you go, even when you travel for fun?

Anytime I go to a new place, my first search is always: where is the textile market, where’s the weaving village, where do they do the dyeing? I’m always thinking about supplies and about where I’ll go next to start sourcing. I’d love to go to India soon and build up some contacts there.

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What are you most looking forward to in the year to come?

For 2016, my big plan is to expand my shop and offer a wider range of supplies — I’d like to go into hardware and findings — and also to sell my own homewares on Etsy. Watching other people’s shops grow is also very inspiring to me: As a mentor of the Southeast Asia Etsy Resolutions and captain of the Hong Kong Etsy team, I’ve seen people go from just starting out, to taking their shops to the next level, to leaving their full-time jobs to work only on their Etsy shops. I love that, and I’ve made some really good friends through that team, too.

To keep up with Jemima’s adventures in supplies sourcing, design and DIYs, follow her on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest

Photos by Ju Redondo.  

Shop Lost Property Hong Kong

 

DIY Tassel Making Kit.  Make your own large or mini tassels with cream cotton rope and waxed neon twine. Block colour tassels
DIY Tassel Making Kit. Make your own large or mini tassels with cream cotton rope and waxed neon twine. Block colour tassels
1"  cotton twill tape, herringbone tape, 50 yard roll, over 200 colour choices. Wholesale ribbons / apron ties / flat tape.
1" cotton twill tape, herringbone tape, 50 yard roll, over 200 colour choices. Wholesale ribbons / apron ties / flat tape.
Picnic blanket Aztec Throw Blanket, Navajo Picnic Blanket, Modern Navy White, Southwestern Throw rug Couch Wrap Tribal Beach blanket
Picnic blanket Aztec Throw Blanket, Navajo Picnic Blanket, Modern Navy White, Southwestern Throw rug Couch Wrap Tribal Beach blanket
Coil rope bowl tutorial and materials. Woven rope basket making kit and instructions DIY
Coil rope bowl tutorial and materials. Woven rope basket making kit and instructions DIY
DIY Tassel Making Kit.  Make your own large or mini tassels with white and navy cotton rope and waxed neon twine. Block colour tassels
DIY Tassel Making Kit. Make your own large or mini tassels with white and navy cotton rope and waxed neon twine. Block colour tassels
Geometric fabric / reversible woven cloth / Aztec, Tribal, Mexican pattern /  Picnic blanket / Tribal geometric fabric / Double weave fabric
Geometric fabric / reversible woven cloth / Aztec, Tribal, Mexican pattern / Picnic blanket / Tribal geometric fabric / Double weave fabric
Jute and cotton mix herringbone twill tape, 100 yards, soft twill tape for crafts, weddings, decorations.  Raw natural coloured sewing tape
Jute and cotton mix herringbone twill tape, 100 yards, soft twill tape for crafts, weddings, decorations. Raw natural coloured sewing tape
5mm Cream cotton braided rope / Natural Rope / Cream Cotton Rope / macrame cord / Rope decoration / Spool of braided cream rope
5mm Cream cotton braided rope / Natural Rope / Cream Cotton Rope / macrame cord / Rope decoration / Spool of braided cream rope
1 1/4 inch cotton twill tape, herringbone tape, 50 yard rolls available, over 200 colour choices, wholesale ribbons.
1 1/4 inch cotton twill tape, herringbone tape, 50 yard rolls available, over 200 colour choices, wholesale ribbons.
Colour Card for Cotton twill herringbone tapes, shows all 200 colours. sample card also available for grosgrain organza
Colour Card for Cotton twill herringbone tapes, shows all 200 colours. sample card also available for grosgrain organza
Set of Small Plain brown kraft card swing tag / price tag label, gift tag, wedding favour tags, scalloped edge.
Set of Small Plain brown kraft card swing tag / price tag label, gift tag, wedding favour tags, scalloped edge.
3/8" Flat Elastic tape, 10mm stretch sewing elastic, hair tie elastic, bright coloured elastic, DIY elastic headband or DIY hair ties
3/8" Flat Elastic tape, 10mm stretch sewing elastic, hair tie elastic, bright coloured elastic, DIY elastic headband or DIY hair ties
Velvet ribbon 6mm, 1/4" width / Wholesale ribbon / ribbon by the yard, over 80 colours / also available in 9mm 3/8" width
Velvet ribbon 6mm, 1/4" width / Wholesale ribbon / ribbon by the yard, over 80 colours / also available in 9mm 3/8" width
Colour Card for Velvet ribbons, shows all available colours. sample card also available for grosgrain, twill tape,  organza, satin ribbons
Colour Card for Velvet ribbons, shows all available colours. sample card also available for grosgrain, twill tape, organza, satin ribbons
7mm Cream cotton braided rope / Natural Rope / Cream Cotton Rope / macrame cord / Rope decoration / 50 yard Spool of braided cream rope
7mm Cream cotton braided rope / Natural Rope / Cream Cotton Rope / macrame cord / Rope decoration / 50 yard Spool of braided cream rope
1" cotton twill tape, (25mm) herringbone tape, over 200 colour choices, sold by the yard, apron ties.
1" cotton twill tape, (25mm) herringbone tape, over 200 colour choices, sold by the yard, apron ties.
Coil rope bowl tutorial and materials. Woven rope basket making kit and instructions DIY
Coil rope bowl tutorial and materials. Woven rope basket making kit and instructions DIY
Waxed Cotton string, 15 yards, for rope bowls, leather craft supplies, sewing twine, bright string
Waxed Cotton string, 15 yards, for rope bowls, leather craft supplies, sewing twine, bright string
Wholesale 50 yard, 100 yard or 800 yard rolls of Bakers twine, string twine, wholesale prices for bakers twine, packaging, decorations
Wholesale 50 yard, 100 yard or 800 yard rolls of Bakers twine, string twine, wholesale prices for bakers twine, packaging, decorations
twill tape cream with a black centre stripe woven herringbone twill sewing tape ribbon
twill tape cream with a black centre stripe woven herringbone twill sewing tape ribbon
Custom Listing for Wen, 5mm black rope
Custom Listing for Wen, 5mm black rope
Velvet ribbon 1cm, 3/8" width / Wholesale ribbon / ribbon by the yard, over 80 colours / also available in 3mm 1/8" and 6mm 1/4"
Velvet ribbon 1cm, 3/8" width / Wholesale ribbon / ribbon by the yard, over 80 colours / also available in 3mm 1/8" and 6mm 1/4"
2mm Elastic Drawcord in over 200 colours, polyester elastic cord / round stretch rope cord / Sold by the yard
2mm Elastic Drawcord in over 200 colours, polyester elastic cord / round stretch rope cord / Sold by the yard
Cotton Cream Herringbone tape with double stitch lines in rain, cotton ribbon sewing tape, sewing ribbon, grosgrain ribbon / cotton
Cotton Cream Herringbone tape with double stitch lines in rain, cotton ribbon sewing tape, sewing ribbon, grosgrain ribbon / cotton
1 inch cotton twill tape, herringbone tape, 50 yard roll, over 200 colour choices, cotton tape, sewing ribbon
1 inch cotton twill tape, herringbone tape, 50 yard roll, over 200 colour choices, cotton tape, sewing ribbon
Black and White 10mm braided rope.  Whole spool for rope craft projects.  Coil rope coaster / coil rope bowl / rope supplies
Black and White 10mm braided rope. Whole spool for rope craft projects. Coil rope coaster / coil rope bowl / rope supplies
50 yards soft plaited rope in jute and cotton mix, 9mm / 3/8" width raw silver colour, rustic weddings / ocean theme / nautical party.
50 yards soft plaited rope in jute and cotton mix, 9mm / 3/8" width raw silver colour, rustic weddings / ocean theme / nautical party.
Brown kraft hang tag / price tag label, Medium size, gift tag, wedding favour tags, scalloped edge, also available in white.
Brown kraft hang tag / price tag label, Medium size, gift tag, wedding favour tags, scalloped edge, also available in white.
20 yards of  soft jute and cotton mix string.  brown paper packaging / soft twine / divine twine / FREE SHIPPING
20 yards of soft jute and cotton mix string. brown paper packaging / soft twine / divine twine / FREE SHIPPING
Velvet ribbon 6mm, 1/4" width / Wholesale ribbon /whole spool /over 80 colours / also available in 9mm / 3/8" Wedding Ribbon / Decorative
Velvet ribbon 6mm, 1/4" width / Wholesale ribbon /whole spool /over 80 colours / also available in 9mm / 3/8" Wedding Ribbon / Decorative
Cotton linen mix Braided rope Natural Rope / great for DIY Rope basket, Rope decoration, Braided rope, macrame rope, macrame cord
Cotton linen mix Braided rope Natural Rope / great for DIY Rope basket, Rope decoration, Braided rope, macrame rope, macrame cord
Cotton plaited rope in multi colours with nylon core.  For rope crafts, coil rope bowls and baskets. 8mm, 10mm and 13mm widths available
Cotton plaited rope in multi colours with nylon core. For rope crafts, coil rope bowls and baskets. 8mm, 10mm and 13mm widths available
1 roll of 8mm, soft jute and cotton mix twisted rope, 22 yards per roll, (or cream plaited) Nautical twisted rope, silver rope, natural rope
1 roll of 8mm, soft jute and cotton mix twisted rope, 22 yards per roll, (or cream plaited) Nautical twisted rope, silver rope, natural rope
Liquid Chalk markers for writing on chalkboards, black card, chalkboard labels and windows, wipes clean with a damp cloth. White and neon.
Liquid Chalk markers for writing on chalkboards, black card, chalkboard labels and windows, wipes clean with a damp cloth. White and neon.
Coil rope bowl tutorial and materials. Woven rope bowl making kit and instructions DIY
Coil rope bowl tutorial and materials. Woven rope bowl making kit and instructions DIY
Cotton webbing / Heavy duty / Raw greige natural / 3.2cm width, 1 1/4" / Bag handles, bag strap for tote bag / upholstery webbing
Cotton webbing / Heavy duty / Raw greige natural / 3.2cm width, 1 1/4" / Bag handles, bag strap for tote bag / upholstery webbing
Copper calabash safety pins for clothing tags, hang tags, fashion, crafting, price tags / 100 pins / 4 colours available
Copper calabash safety pins for clothing tags, hang tags, fashion, crafting, price tags / 100 pins / 4 colours available
3/8" Red Stitched Cotton Herringbone tape with saddle stitch , cotton ribbon sewing tape, sewing ribbon, grosgrain ribbon / cotton
3/8" Red Stitched Cotton Herringbone tape with saddle stitch , cotton ribbon sewing tape, sewing ribbon, grosgrain ribbon / cotton
3/8", 9mm Polyester grosgrain ribbon, over 200 colour choices. sold by the yard / sewing ribbon / decorative trim / fashion ribbon
3/8", 9mm Polyester grosgrain ribbon, over 200 colour choices. sold by the yard / sewing ribbon / decorative trim / fashion ribbon
3/4", 19mm Polyester grosgrain ribbon, over 200 colour choices. sold by the yard / sewing ribbon / decorative trim / fashion ribbon
3/4", 19mm Polyester grosgrain ribbon, over 200 colour choices. sold by the yard / sewing ribbon / decorative trim / fashion ribbon
3mm Elastic Drawcord in over 200 colours, polyester elastic cord / round stretch rope cord / Sold by the yard
3mm Elastic Drawcord in over 200 colours, polyester elastic cord / round stretch rope cord / Sold by the yard
rope for macrame, 4mm round mixed colour cord, sold by the yard, cord for macrame, polyester rope, coloured rope / string / macrame cord
rope for macrame, 4mm round mixed colour cord, sold by the yard, cord for macrame, polyester rope, coloured rope / string / macrame cord
1/8" (4mm) round cotton cord, drawcord / sold by the yard / wholesale rope / macrame supplies / cotton rope / coloured rope / string
1/8" (4mm) round cotton cord, drawcord / sold by the yard / wholesale rope / macrame supplies / cotton rope / coloured rope / string
Send me some samples or cuttings or ribbons or swatches.
Send me some samples or cuttings or ribbons or swatches.
1.25" Cotton webbing x 54 Yard roll / Heavy duty / Raw greige natural /32mm / Bag handles, bag strap for tote bag / upholstery webbing
1.25" Cotton webbing x 54 Yard roll / Heavy duty / Raw greige natural /32mm / Bag handles, bag strap for tote bag / upholstery webbing
Set of 50 small Plain white card swing tag / price tag label, gift tag, wedding favour tags, scalloped edge.
Set of 50 small Plain white card swing tag / price tag label, gift tag, wedding favour tags, scalloped edge.
Set of 50 medium Plain white cardstock swing tag / price tag label, gift tag, wedding favour tags, scalloped edge.
Set of 50 medium Plain white cardstock swing tag / price tag label, gift tag, wedding favour tags, scalloped edge.
Colour Card for 4mm cotton macrame string. over 200 colours available.
Colour Card for 4mm cotton macrame string. over 200 colours available.
100 Calabash Coated safety pins for clothing tags, hang tags, fashion, crafting, price tags / 100 pins / 4 colours available
100 Calabash Coated safety pins for clothing tags, hang tags, fashion, crafting, price tags / 100 pins / 4 colours available
Bright Neon Tassels 1.25" Bright Cotton, Short Handmade Tassels, Boho / jewellery Making, Craft Supply, 1.25"
Bright Neon Tassels 1.25" Bright Cotton, Short Handmade Tassels, Boho / jewellery Making, Craft Supply, 1.25"
Velvet ribbon 1cm, 3/8" width / sewing Ribbon / floral Ribbon / Wedding Ribbons / Wholesale ribbon / 33 yard spool, over 80 colours
Velvet ribbon 1cm, 3/8" width / sewing Ribbon / floral Ribbon / Wedding Ribbons / Wholesale ribbon / 33 yard spool, over 80 colours
Cotton webbing 22mm width (7/8") Bag handles, bag strap for tote bag /  sturdy webbing / upholstery webbing
Cotton webbing 22mm width (7/8") Bag handles, bag strap for tote bag / sturdy webbing / upholstery webbing
3/4 inch cotton twill tape, herringbone tape, 50 yards, over 200 colour choices.
3/4 inch cotton twill tape, herringbone tape, 50 yards, over 200 colour choices.
2mm Elastic Drawcord in over 200 colours, polyester elastic cord, whole spool, 288 yards round stretch rope cord
2mm Elastic Drawcord in over 200 colours, polyester elastic cord, whole spool, 288 yards round stretch rope cord
Embroidered chartreuse, lime, yellow, orange, gold decorative flower trim / traditional trim / decorative border  / 1 yard x 6.5cm, 2.5"
Embroidered chartreuse, lime, yellow, orange, gold decorative flower trim / traditional trim / decorative border / 1 yard x 6.5cm, 2.5"
Ethnic Woven Cotton Fabric / Bohemian cloth / Mexican weave / Jacquard woven fabric / Picnic blanket cloth / Tribal geometric fabric, 50111
Ethnic Woven Cotton Fabric / Bohemian cloth / Mexican weave / Jacquard woven fabric / Picnic blanket cloth / Tribal geometric fabric, 50111
2.25" Wide hot pink and navy border trim / embroidered geometric / Hot pink navy and cream / decorative trim / 6.5cm / bag strap
2.25" Wide hot pink and navy border trim / embroidered geometric / Hot pink navy and cream / decorative trim / 6.5cm / bag strap
1 inch cotton twill tape, herringbone tape, sold by the yard, cotton tape, over 200 colour choices. Cotton sewing tape
1 inch cotton twill tape, herringbone tape, sold by the yard, cotton tape, over 200 colour choices. Cotton sewing tape
2mm Elastic Drawcord in over 200 colours, polyester elastic cord / round stretch rope cord / Sold by the yard
2mm Elastic Drawcord in over 200 colours, polyester elastic cord / round stretch rope cord / Sold by the yard
12mm, 1/2" Cotton twill tape / Cotton herringbone tape / available in over 200 beautiful colours  / cotton drawcord / sewing supplies
12mm, 1/2" Cotton twill tape / Cotton herringbone tape / available in over 200 beautiful colours / cotton drawcord / sewing supplies

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