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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

 

1/8" (4mm) round cotton cord, drawcord, 200 yard roll, wholesale rope / macrame supplies / cotton rope / coloured rope / string
1/8" (4mm) round cotton cord, drawcord, 200 yard roll, wholesale rope / macrame supplies / cotton rope / coloured rope / string
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
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, (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.
3/4" 19mm Cotton twill tape herringbone tape, sold by the yard in over 200 amazing colour choices.
3/4" 19mm Cotton twill tape herringbone tape, sold by the yard in over 200 amazing colour choices.
1"  cotton twill tape, herringbone tape, 50 yard roll, over 200 colour choices. Wholesale ribbons / apron ties / 25mm cotton tape
1" cotton twill tape, herringbone tape, 50 yard roll, over 200 colour choices. Wholesale ribbons / apron ties / 25mm cotton tape
Golden Tan Velvet Ribbon WHOLE SPOOL Available in 1/4" x 66 yards and 3/8" x 33 yards. R3-196
Golden Tan Velvet Ribbon WHOLE SPOOL Available in 1/4" x 66 yards and 3/8" x 33 yards. R3-196
1/4" 6mm Satin Ribbon, 100 yard roll, wedding ribbon, floristry satin ribbon.
1/4" 6mm Satin Ribbon, 100 yard roll, wedding ribbon, floristry satin ribbon.
3/4" Polyester Grosgrain Ribbon, sold by the yard.  choose from over 200 colours
3/4" Polyester Grosgrain Ribbon, sold by the yard. choose from over 200 colours
3/8" Polyester Flatring tape / Hoodie ties / Hoodie drawstring / 50 colours / sold by the yard / Shoelaces / outdoor macrame cord
3/8" Polyester Flatring tape / Hoodie ties / Hoodie drawstring / 50 colours / sold by the yard / Shoelaces / outdoor macrame cord
3mm Elastic Drawcord, Elastic Bungee, Nylon elastic shock cord, polyester elastic cord / round stretch rope cord
3mm Elastic Drawcord, Elastic Bungee, Nylon elastic shock cord, polyester elastic cord / round stretch rope cord
10% OFF ANY 1/4", 6mm cotton twill tape, 300 yard roll of cotton herringbone twill tape, over 200 colour choices, wholesale prices
10% OFF ANY 1/4", 6mm cotton twill tape, 300 yard roll of cotton herringbone twill tape, over 200 colour choices, wholesale prices
Velvet ribbon 1cm, 3/8" width / Wholesale ribbon / ribbon by the yard / also available in 6mm 1/4" Christmas Gift wrapping Ribbon
Velvet ribbon 1cm, 3/8" width / Wholesale ribbon / ribbon by the yard / also available in 6mm 1/4" Christmas Gift wrapping Ribbon
1/4" Fine Cotton Ribbon, 100 yard roll or sold by the yard. EXTRA FINE Natural Cotton twill tape or grosgrain
1/4" Fine Cotton Ribbon, 100 yard roll or sold by the yard. EXTRA FINE Natural Cotton twill tape or grosgrain
3mm Flat Elastic tape, 3mm stretch sewing elastic, hair tie elastic, bright coloured elastic, DIY face mask elastic, sewing elastic
3mm Flat Elastic tape, 3mm stretch sewing elastic, hair tie elastic, bright coloured elastic, DIY face mask elastic, sewing elastic
Face Mask Elastic 3mm, 6mm, 8mm Flat Elastic tape, stretch sewing elastic, bright coloured elastic, DIY face mask elastic
Face Mask Elastic 3mm, 6mm, 8mm Flat Elastic tape, stretch sewing elastic, bright coloured elastic, DIY face mask elastic
1cm, 3/8" cotton hoodie string, sold by the yard / flat ring tape, textile supplies / hollow cotton string / coloured rope / string
1cm, 3/8" cotton hoodie string, sold by the yard / flat ring tape, textile supplies / hollow cotton string / coloured rope / string
6mm Flat Elastic tape, stretch sewing elastic, hair tie elastic, bright coloured elastic, DIY headband sold by the yard
6mm Flat Elastic tape, stretch sewing elastic, hair tie elastic, bright coloured elastic, DIY headband sold by the yard
Purple Velvet ribbon. Whole Spool. 3/8" and 1/4" Royal, Orchid, Lavender and Mauve ribbons
Purple Velvet ribbon. Whole Spool. 3/8" and 1/4" Royal, Orchid, Lavender and Mauve ribbons
Black Velvet Ribbon by the yard or WHOLE SPOOL Available in 1/4" and 3/8"
Black Velvet Ribbon by the yard or WHOLE SPOOL Available in 1/4" and 3/8"
Bright Hot Pink Velvet Ribbon, 1/4" and 3/8". Sold by the yard or Whole spool. R3-010
Bright Hot Pink Velvet Ribbon, 1/4" and 3/8". Sold by the yard or Whole spool. R3-010
Green Velvet ribbon, whole spool, Ribbon for Weddings, Bouquets, Invitations, Hair accessories 6mm 1/4", 9mm 3/8" Christmas ribbon
Green Velvet ribbon, whole spool, Ribbon for Weddings, Bouquets, Invitations, Hair accessories 6mm 1/4", 9mm 3/8" Christmas ribbon
YARD SALE 3/8" and 1/4" Velvet ribbon  / sewing Ribbon / floral Ribbon / Wedding Ribbons / Wholesale ribbon / 20 yard spool
YARD SALE 3/8" and 1/4" Velvet ribbon / sewing Ribbon / floral Ribbon / Wedding Ribbons / Wholesale ribbon / 20 yard spool
2.5mm Elastic Drawcord in over 200 colours, polyester elastic cord / round stretch rope cord / Sold by the yard
2.5mm Elastic Drawcord in over 200 colours, polyester elastic cord / round stretch rope cord / Sold by the yard
9mm, 3/8" Cotton twill tape / Cotton herringbone tape / available in over 200 beautiful colours  / cotton drawcord / sewing supplies
9mm, 3/8" Cotton twill tape / Cotton herringbone tape / available in over 200 beautiful colours / cotton drawcord / sewing supplies
3/8" Cotton Ribbon, Natural Cotton twill tape, EXTRA FINE herringbone tape or grosgrain tape / fine sewing tape / raw ribbon
3/8" Cotton Ribbon, Natural Cotton twill tape, EXTRA FINE herringbone tape or grosgrain tape / fine sewing tape / raw ribbon
Cotton Ribbon, Natural Cotton twill tape, EXTRA FINE herringbone tape or grosgrain tape 100 yard roll, every width available, 1/4" to 2"
Cotton Ribbon, Natural Cotton twill tape, EXTRA FINE herringbone tape or grosgrain tape 100 yard roll, every width available, 1/4" to 2"
DIY Coil rope bowl tutorial and materials. Woven rope basket making kit and instructions DIY
DIY Coil rope bowl tutorial and materials. Woven rope basket making kit and instructions DIY
100 yards x Polyester Flatring tape / Hoodie ties / Hoodie drawstring / 50 colours / Whole roll / Shoelaces / outdoor macrame cord
100 yards x Polyester Flatring tape / Hoodie ties / Hoodie drawstring / 50 colours / Whole roll / Shoelaces / outdoor macrame cord
1/8" (4mm) round cotton macrame cord / sold by the yard / cotton rope macrame supplies.
1/8" (4mm) round cotton macrame cord / sold by the yard / cotton rope macrame supplies.
Coil rope bowl tutorial and materials. Woven rope basket making kit and instructions DIY, sewing kit tutorial
Coil rope bowl tutorial and materials. Woven rope basket making kit and instructions DIY, sewing kit tutorial
3.5mm Macrame Cotton rope, 100% fine braided unbleached cotton cord 1/8" or 3.5mm (RS254)
3.5mm Macrame Cotton rope, 100% fine braided unbleached cotton cord 1/8" or 3.5mm (RS254)
3mm Nylon elastic bungee cord, nylon shock cord Drawcord in over 200 colours, round stretch rope cord, whole spool, 144 yards
3mm Nylon elastic bungee cord, nylon shock cord Drawcord in over 200 colours, round stretch rope cord, whole spool, 144 yards
3/4 inch Cotton Grosgrain Tape, Sold by the yard.  Over 200 colour choices
3/4 inch Cotton Grosgrain Tape, Sold by the yard. Over 200 colour choices
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
Coil rope bowl tutorial. Woven rope basket making instructions, DIY your own rope bowl with this Guide.  PDF Download
Coil rope bowl tutorial. Woven rope basket making instructions, DIY your own rope bowl with this Guide. PDF Download
2mm Elastic Drawcord, Nylon shock cord, Elastic bungee stretch cord, polyester elastic cord / round stretch rope cord / Sold by the yard
2mm Elastic Drawcord, Nylon shock cord, Elastic bungee stretch cord, polyester elastic cord / round stretch rope cord / Sold by the yard
English Rose Pink Velvet Ribbon, 1/4" and 3/8". Sold by the yard or Whole spool. R3-006
English Rose Pink Velvet Ribbon, 1/4" and 3/8". Sold by the yard or Whole spool. R3-006
Cotton twill tape: 1.5" herringbone sewing tape.  Cotton Ribbon sold by the yard.
Cotton twill tape: 1.5" herringbone sewing tape. Cotton Ribbon sold by the yard.
20 yards of  soft jute and cotton mix string.  brown paper packaging / soft twine / divine twine
20 yards of soft jute and cotton mix string. brown paper packaging / soft twine / divine twine
Colour Card for Elastic Drawcord, bungee cord, nylon shock cord in 2mm 2.5mm and 3mm width, shows all 200 colours. sample card.
Colour Card for Elastic Drawcord, bungee cord, nylon shock cord in 2mm 2.5mm and 3mm width, shows all 200 colours. sample card.
8mm Flat Elastic tape,  stretch sewing elastic, hair tie elastic, bright coloured elastic, 3/8", DIY elastic headband or DIY hair ties
8mm Flat Elastic tape, stretch sewing elastic, hair tie elastic, bright coloured elastic, 3/8", DIY elastic headband or DIY hair ties
Purple Orchid Velvet Ribbon, 1/4" and 3/8". Sold by the yard or Whole spool. R3-139, lavender, mauve
Purple Orchid Velvet Ribbon, 1/4" and 3/8". Sold by the yard or Whole spool. R3-139, lavender, mauve
Pale Purple Thistle Velvet Ribbon, 1/4" and 3/8". Sold by the yard or Whole spool. R3-213
Pale Purple Thistle Velvet Ribbon, 1/4" and 3/8". Sold by the yard or Whole spool. R3-213
Dusty Purple Ash Velvet Ribbon, 1/4" and 3/8". Sold by the yard or Whole spool. R3-339
Dusty Purple Ash Velvet Ribbon, 1/4" and 3/8". Sold by the yard or Whole spool. R3-339
Cool Ocean blue velvet ribbon, 1/4" 6mm and 3/8" 9mm. R3-083
Cool Ocean blue velvet ribbon, 1/4" 6mm and 3/8" 9mm. R3-083
Red Wine Velvet Ribbon, 1/4" and 3/8". Sold by the yard or Whole spool. R3-042 Christmas Gift wrapping ribbon
Red Wine Velvet Ribbon, 1/4" and 3/8". Sold by the yard or Whole spool. R3-042 Christmas Gift wrapping ribbon
Green Sweet Pea Velvet Ribbon, 1/4" and 3/8". Sold by the yard or Whole spool. R3-228
Green Sweet Pea Velvet Ribbon, 1/4" and 3/8". Sold by the yard or Whole spool. R3-228
Dark Blue Grey velvet ribbon, 1/4" 6mm and 3/8" 9mm. R3-0104
Dark Blue Grey velvet ribbon, 1/4" 6mm and 3/8" 9mm. R3-0104
Pale Powder blue velvet ribbon, 1/4" 6mm and 3/8" 9mm. R3-078
Pale Powder blue velvet ribbon, 1/4" 6mm and 3/8" 9mm. R3-078
Natural Sandstone Velvet Ribbon, 1/4" and 3/8". Sold by the yard or Whole spool. R3-260
Natural Sandstone Velvet Ribbon, 1/4" and 3/8". Sold by the yard or Whole spool. R3-260
Bison Brown Velvet Ribbon, 1/4" and 3/8". Sold by the yard or Whole spool. R3-215
Bison Brown Velvet Ribbon, 1/4" and 3/8". Sold by the yard or Whole spool. R3-215
Soft Red Velvet Ribbon, 1/4" and 3/8". Sold by the yard or Whole spool. R3-038 Christmas gift wrap ribbon
Soft Red Velvet Ribbon, 1/4" and 3/8". Sold by the yard or Whole spool. R3-038 Christmas gift wrap ribbon
Ballet Slipper Pink Velvet Ribbon, 1/4" and 3/8". Sold by the yard or Whole spool. R3-003.
Ballet Slipper Pink Velvet Ribbon, 1/4" and 3/8". Sold by the yard or Whole spool. R3-003.
Port Red Velvet Ribbon, 1/4" and 3/8". Sold by the yard or Whole spool. R3-189
Port Red Velvet Ribbon, 1/4" and 3/8". Sold by the yard or Whole spool. R3-189
Denim blue velvet ribbon, 1/4" 6mm and 3/8" 9mm. R3-086
Denim blue velvet ribbon, 1/4" 6mm and 3/8" 9mm. R3-086
Deep Majestic Purple Velvet Ribbon, 1/4" and 3/8". Sold by the yard or Whole spool. R3-135
Deep Majestic Purple Velvet Ribbon, 1/4" and 3/8". Sold by the yard or Whole spool. R3-135
Pink Velvet Ribbon, for hair bows  1/4" and 3/8". Sold by the yard or Whole spool. R3-293,  gift wrap ribbon
Pink Velvet Ribbon, for hair bows 1/4" and 3/8". Sold by the yard or Whole spool. R3-293, gift wrap ribbon
Pale Peachy Pink Velvet Ribbon, 1/4" and 3/8" Sold by the yard or whole spool. R3-004.
Pale Peachy Pink Velvet Ribbon, 1/4" and 3/8" Sold by the yard or whole spool. R3-004.
Azalea Bright Pink Velvet Ribbon, 1/4" and 3/8". Sold by the yard or Whole spool. R3-012
Azalea Bright Pink Velvet Ribbon, 1/4" and 3/8". Sold by the yard or Whole spool. R3-012

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