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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.
DIY Tassel Making Kit.  Make your own large or mini tassels with cream cotton rope and waxed natural coloured twine. Block colour tassels
DIY Tassel Making Kit. Make your own large or mini tassels with cream cotton rope and waxed natural coloured twine. Block colour tassels
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.
1600 Copper pear shaped safety pins for clothing tags, calabash pins for clothing hang tags also in GOLD, BLACK, SILVER
1600 Copper pear shaped safety pins for clothing tags, calabash pins for clothing hang tags also in GOLD, BLACK, SILVER
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 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
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
Purple French Lavender Velvet Ribbon, 1/4" and 3/8". Sold by the yard or Whole spool. R3-122
Purple French Lavender Velvet Ribbon, 1/4" and 3/8". Sold by the yard or Whole spool. R3-122
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.
1" cotton twill tape, herringbone tape, sold by the yard, cotton tape, over 200 colour choices. Cotton sewing tape
1" cotton twill tape, herringbone tape, sold by the yard, cotton tape, over 200 colour choices. Cotton sewing tape
Velvet ribbon 1cm, 3/8" width / Wholesale ribbon / ribbon by the yard, over 80 colours / also available in 6mm 1/4"
Velvet ribbon 1cm, 3/8" width / Wholesale ribbon / ribbon by the yard, over 80 colours / also available in 6mm 1/4"
Copper Rust velvet ribbon, WHOLE SPOOL 3/8" (9mm) 0r  1/4" (6mm) R3-222
Copper Rust velvet ribbon, WHOLE SPOOL 3/8" (9mm) 0r 1/4" (6mm) R3-222
Dusty Rose Velvet Ribbon, 1/4" and 3/8". Sold by the yard or Whole spool. R3-187
Dusty Rose Velvet Ribbon, 1/4" and 3/8". Sold by the yard or Whole spool. R3-187
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"
Red Wine Velvet Ribbon, 1/4" and 3/8". Sold by the yard or Whole spool. R3-042
Red Wine Velvet Ribbon, 1/4" and 3/8". Sold by the yard or Whole spool. R3-042
Ochre Soft Gold Velvet Ribbon, 1/4" and 3/8". Sold by the yard or Whole spool. R3-235
Ochre Soft Gold Velvet Ribbon, 1/4" and 3/8". Sold by the yard or Whole spool. R3-235
Tapestry Green Velvet Ribbon, 1/4" 6mm and 3/8" 9mm. R3-162
Tapestry Green Velvet Ribbon, 1/4" 6mm and 3/8" 9mm. R3-162
Donkey Grey velvet ribbon, WHOLE SPOOL 3/8" on a 33 yard spool OR 1/4" on a 110 yard spool -  R3-354
Donkey Grey velvet ribbon, WHOLE SPOOL 3/8" on a 33 yard spool OR 1/4" on a 110 yard spool - R3-354
Deep Navy Blue velvet ribbon, 1/4" 6mm and 3/8" 9mm. R3-125
Deep Navy Blue velvet ribbon, 1/4" 6mm and 3/8" 9mm. R3-125
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
Ivory Cream Velvet Ribbon available in 1/4" (6mm) and 3/8" (9mm) R3-242
Ivory Cream Velvet Ribbon available in 1/4" (6mm) and 3/8" (9mm) R3-242
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
Deep Burgundy Red Velvet Ribbon, 1/4" and 3/8". Sold by the yard or Whole spool. R3-045
Deep Burgundy Red Velvet Ribbon, 1/4" and 3/8". Sold by the yard or Whole spool. R3-045
Wild Rose Pink Velvet Ribbon, 1/4" and 3/8". Sold by the yard or Whole spool. R3-188
Wild Rose Pink Velvet Ribbon, 1/4" and 3/8". Sold by the yard or Whole spool. R3-188
Deep Persian Purple Red Velvet Ribbon, 1/4" and 3/8". Sold by the yard or Whole spool. R3-028
Deep Persian Purple Red Velvet Ribbon, 1/4" and 3/8". Sold by the yard or Whole spool. R3-028
Purple Amethyst Velvet Ribbon, 1/4" and 3/8". Sold by the yard or Whole spool. R3-027
Purple Amethyst Velvet Ribbon, 1/4" and 3/8". Sold by the yard or Whole spool. R3-027
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
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.
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.
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
12mm Cream cotton braided rope, Natural Rope / Cream Cotton Rope / Rope basket, Rope decoration / Spool of braided cream rope
12mm Cream cotton braided rope, Natural Rope / Cream Cotton Rope / Rope basket, Rope decoration / Spool of braided cream rope
Flat Elastic tape, 10mm width.  Stretch sewing elastic, hair tie elastic, bright coloured elastic, 3/8"
Flat Elastic tape, 10mm width. Stretch sewing elastic, hair tie elastic, bright coloured elastic, 3/8"
Gift for her / Coil rope bowl tutorial and materials. Woven rope basket making kit and instructions DIY / Xmas gift / holiday gift
Gift for her / Coil rope bowl tutorial and materials. Woven rope basket making kit and instructions DIY / Xmas gift / holiday gift
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
1/4" Velvet ribbon 6mm, width / Wholesale ribbon / ribbon by the yard, over 80 colours / also available in 9mm 3/8" width
1/4" Velvet ribbon 6mm, width / Wholesale ribbon / ribbon by the yard, over 80 colours / also available in 9mm 3/8" width
3/8" (9mm) cotton twill tape / cotton herringbone tape, 200 yard roll / sewing ribbon / drawcord / flat cotton tape / sewing tape
3/8" (9mm) cotton twill tape / cotton herringbone tape, 200 yard roll / sewing ribbon / drawcord / flat cotton tape / sewing tape
Waxed leatherwork thread, 1mm x 450 yards, for beading thread, macrame thread, leatherwork, sailing thread, neon coloured thread
Waxed leatherwork thread, 1mm x 450 yards, for beading thread, macrame thread, leatherwork, sailing thread, neon coloured thread
1 roll of jute and cotton mix string 4mm, rubbed finish. 100 yards / twine / natural string / brown paper packaging tied up with string
1 roll of jute and cotton mix string 4mm, rubbed finish. 100 yards / twine / natural string / brown paper packaging tied up with string
3mm Macrame Cotton rope, 100% fine braided unbleached cotton cord 1/8" or 3mm (RS255)
3mm Macrame Cotton rope, 100% fine braided unbleached cotton cord 1/8" or 3mm (RS255)
3/8" Satin Ribbon, Single face, 100 yard spool
3/8" Satin Ribbon, Single face, 100 yard spool
3/8" Cotton Grosgrain Ribbon / Woven cotton tape / sewing tape / cotton tape / Sold by the yard / 100% Cotton grosgrain ribbon
3/8" Cotton Grosgrain Ribbon / Woven cotton tape / sewing tape / cotton tape / Sold by the yard / 100% Cotton grosgrain ribbon
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
Royal Blue velvet ribbon, 1/4" 6mm and 3/8" 9mm. Peacock blue, Kingfisher blue, royal blue, R3-109
Royal Blue velvet ribbon, 1/4" 6mm and 3/8" 9mm. Peacock blue, Kingfisher blue, royal blue, R3-109
1/2" (12mm) cotton ribbon, twill tape / cotton herringbone tape, 200 yard roll / sewing ribbon / drawcord / flat cotton tape / sewing tape
1/2" (12mm) cotton ribbon, twill tape / cotton herringbone tape, 200 yard roll / sewing ribbon / drawcord / flat cotton tape / sewing tape
Elastic Drawcord, nylon bungee cord, elastic bungee shock cord in over 200 colours, polyester elastic cord / 2mm / 2.5mm / 3mm
Elastic Drawcord, nylon bungee cord, elastic bungee shock cord in over 200 colours, polyester elastic cord / 2mm / 2.5mm / 3mm
Green Velvet ribbon, whole spool, Ribbon for Weddings, Bouquets, Invitations, Hair accessories 6mm 1/4", 9mm 3/8"
Green Velvet ribbon, whole spool, Ribbon for Weddings, Bouquets, Invitations, Hair accessories 6mm 1/4", 9mm 3/8"
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 3/8" Cotton Hoodie String / flat ring tape, textile supplies / hollow cotton string / coloured rope / string
100 yards x 3/8" Cotton Hoodie String / flat ring tape, textile supplies / hollow cotton string / coloured rope / string
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
6mm 1/4" Cotton herringbone twill tape / Cotton tape / available in over 200 beautiful colours, cotton drawcord / sold by the yard
6mm 1/4" Cotton herringbone twill tape / Cotton tape / available in over 200 beautiful colours, cotton drawcord / sold by the yard
50 yards x 1" Cotton Twill Tape, 25mm Herringbone Tape, choose from over 200 colours
50 yards x 1" Cotton Twill Tape, 25mm Herringbone Tape, choose from over 200 colours
1/2" Cotton Ribbon, Natural Cotton twill tape, EXTRA FINE herringbone tape or grosgrain tape / fine sewing tape / raw ribbon
1/2" Cotton Ribbon, Natural Cotton twill tape, EXTRA FINE herringbone tape or grosgrain tape / fine sewing tape / raw ribbon
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

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