Shop spotlight on The Lost Lanes. You’ll find plenty of unique gift ideas and gifts for your home at this online gift shop. It’s a creative marketplace where creative people sell creative things. The carefully handpicked wares are made in small batches by independent designer-makers. There’s a great mix of home accessories including cushions and wall art plus mugs, plates, tea towels, oven gloves and more. They also stock jewellery and selected fashion items for men, women and kids along the lines of T-shirts, sweatshirts, sunglasses and bags. This business is owned by a couple who love travelling and discovering secret shopping lanes in the old towns of Barcelona and Lisbon. I caught up with the enterprising duo to find out more about The Lost Lanes.
Chippy Blue and White Bone China Mug by Home Slice
Meet The Lost Lanes Owners
The Lost Lanes is owned by Michael Wallace and Raquel Wallace. They met some ten years ago through work and have been married for over four years. Michael was travelling through Europe and doing a stint of work in London when their paths crossed and he never made it back home! Raquel also did her fair share of travelling in South America (Peru, Bolivia and Argentina). She tells me, “I took up a jewellery course in a small village in Peru and generally travelled finding new places, new crafts and making new friends. I enjoyed chatting with street kids about their plans, how they see life and their future, which made me appreciate every opportunity we have in this country.” Michael and Raquel now live and work in London but still find time to travel, which is also for business purposes these days!
Michael Wallace and Raquel Wallace
Before starting The Lost Lanes, Raquel was an events manager for over ten years. She tells me, “I worked for a civil engineer publishing house where I managed conferences, book launches, workshops and roadshows.” Michael’s background was predominantly in IT as a system engineer, he says, “I have dabbled in all kinds of businesses including an online restaurant booking website, a wine company in Sydney during the dotcom boom and within a financial institution.” With Michael’s IT background, Raquel’s marketing knowledge and their shared travelling experience; they certainly possess the necessary skills for an online business. Michael does a lot of the technical work and the graphics while Raquel takes care of PR, marketing and customer service. They both had a hand in sourcing new designers whether that’s at markets, trade shows, exhibitions of through online searches.
Ricemon Print by Noodoll
They tell me how they decided to launch their venture, “for years we found ourselves discussing the idea of starting up a business. It never felt like the right moment, so we kept putting it off, and our day jobs kept taking priority. In 2013 we both found ourselves rethinking this after the economic crisis resulted in Michael being made redundant. So we embraced the situation and turned it into a positive. Instead of falling into another job and always thinking ‘what if …’ we took the plunge. It’s hard work, but it’s gratifying. We were so used to doing what we did in our old roles that we’d become complacent. Owning your own business means you learn so much more than you ever thought imaginable. That’s what makes it exciting, no one day is ever the same, and you’re continually striving for the next achievement, the next goal!”
Donkey Blue Candy Striped Cotton Pom Pom Cushion by Pickwell Studios
The Lost Lanes name stemmed from their love of getting lost in little laneways while on holiday. They reveal, “we love wandering around quaint and meandering lanes on vacation because you’re guaranteed to stumble upon a cute boutique or a great little coffee shop which feels undiscovered. We have some favourite laneways in Melbourne, Lisbon and Barcelona. So when it came to deciding on the name for our business, it was no contest. Besides, it did fit with our proposition of discovering beautiful products that you might not come across if you stay on the main thoroughfares!”
The Lost Lanes Collection
In a nutshell, The Lost Lanes is a creative marketplace, where creative people sell creative things. They elaborate, “we have an eclectic, colourful collection of gifts from fashion to homewares for kids and adults. Most of the items are made to order, available for customisation, exclusives, limited editions or produced in small quantities. We handpick every designer-maker with a focus on independents creating unique products. We think this is what keeps the website fresh and our product offering is certainly different from what you’ll find anywhere else. Our typical customers tend to be young urban 24-35-year-olds who appreciate creativity and design-led items.”
Anchor Mug by Holly Rance
To give you an idea of the delights online, Michael and Raquel have selected five items for you to admire. First up is the ‘How You Doin’ Print by Sam Pierpoint. Sam is an independent illustrator and 3D paper engineer from a graphic design background. Located in the Dorset countryside, Sam works from a log cabin (lucky thing!). This print has been made by photographing an original handcrafted 3D paper sculpture. It would make an excellent gift for someone who loves Joey from the TV series ‘Friends’ and anyone who appreciates typographic art prints. There are two sizes with A4 costing £16, and A3 priced £21.
How You Doin Print by Sam Pierpoint
The Batman on the Toilet wall art print has been made by Wyatt 9, a company based in Nottingham. Andy Scullion is the owner who often combines drawings with bicycles. This has to be the best picture to hang in your bathroom. I like the fact that even superheroes get the urge to sit down and do their business while reading a comic! A humorous gift for anyone who loves comics, superheroes and toilet humour! It’s available in A4 for £13 and A3 for £21.
Batman on the Toilet Wall Art Print by Wyatt 9
The Book of Everyone For Birthdays is a personalised gift made by The Book of Everyone. This company is obsessed with books and will gather information and images to make you a bespoke edition which sums up a person’s life. All you have to do is complete a mini questionnaire, and they will do the rest. You’ll receive a book bearing the recipient’s name along with glossy images and personalised facts plus stats about their life. These books measure 21cm square and contain 50 pages printed onto a high-quality paper. You have a choice of the softback for £19.50, hardback for £29.50 or the deluxe version for £49.50.
The Book of Everyone for Birthdays by The Book of Everyone
This personalised Macrame Bracelet is made by Oh Someday, a small business based in a little shed in South East England. The maker uses hand tools and UK materials to produce customised jewellery. This bracelet is available in a choice of wrist band colours. The plate comes in brass or solid sterling silver and can be personalised with a stamped message, name or date which is then blackened, so it’s easy to read. This is a lovely gift idea for your best friend or lover. It’s available in two sizes 15-19cm and 20-24cm. The brass version is priced at £15, and the sterling silver is £25.
Personalised Macrame Bracelet by Oh Someday
I love this fabulous and funky Gold Burger Ring. It’s made by Goldie Rox who is otherwise known as Roxanne Rajcoomar. She has two obsessions; fashion and food, which she has cleverly combined for her jewellery collection. Roxanne studied at the London College of Fashion and then became the youngest person to value rough diamonds at DeBeers. This Burger ring has been handmade from solid sterling silver which has been plated with 22ct gold. It has exceptional detailing and even has sesame seeds on the bun! The ring is available in three sizes and costs £169.
Gold Burger Ring by Goldie Rox
Buy The Lost Lanes Products
If you’re searching for a unique birthday gift or want to treat yourself to something exciting, you can shop at The Lost Lanes. You can pick up something to suit a range of budgets, and they have plenty of items priced between £20-40. The Gift section has numerous tabs which are designed to make gift buying a lot easier – price points, gender, occasion, personality, etc. They also ship overseas, which is excellent news and have a 28 day returns policy.
Author: Homegirl London. Photographs: The Lost Lanes. Thanks: Michael Wallace and Raquel Wallace.