How Two Friends Who “Lost & Found” Each Other Led to Creating Their Bali-Inspired Sustainable Brand
One of the best things about interviewing fashion business owners is learning how they got their start. Taking the incredible leap of launching your own sustainable collection is something that not many people have the courage to do.
Today’s featured interview with Jenny and Jessica Friedman (no relation) of Lost & Found is truly a unique story. Their serendipitous meetings over a course of ten years finally led them to connect over their shared passion of beach-inspired life and creating the lives they’ve always dreamed of.
Their story definitely seems like a bit of “the universe trying to tell you something” sort of theme.
Both entrepreneurs come from some strong fashion and PR backgrounds working with some of the most well known brands in the fashion industry, so it’s no surprise that they decided to team up.
Having recently just launched their second collection, you can definitely see that these two are not novices in design and branding. From their beautiful fabric selection and modern silhouettes, this “beach/resort” brand is meant to blur the lines of what is “real life and time off”. Who doesn’t love that mentality!
CANGGU DRESS & BALI PANT IN SKY & BLACK GILI GIFTED BY LOST & FOUND BY J FRIEDMAN
On Getting Started
GG: Why the name Lost & Found By J Friedman?
The name Lost & Found By J Friedman is very personal for us and the meaning is really two-fold. Firstly, the line is inspired by some of our favorite, understated beach destinations around the world, like Bali, where our line is produced. To us, these are the places you go to both lose and find yourself. Lost & Found By J Friedman is also the story of how we met and how the line was created.
As friends who share both a first initial and last name, we had lost touch yet continued to find one another serendipitously over the past ten years… whether it be on a random NYC street corner, an out of the way Montauk bar or on a remote beach in Tulum.
How did the brand actually get started?
In 2016, while living on opposite coasts,we reconnected, over a shared vision to create a clothing line inspired by our travels to some of the world’s most captivating beach destinations. It was during a joint trip to Bali that the Lost & Found By J Friedman brand was created. On this initial inspiration trip, all of the pieces started falling into place from finding a sustainable fabric studio to meeting a production manager and slowly our vision started coming to life. Bali still serves as our ultimate inspiration for the brand.
Tell us a little bit about your journey thus far?
Last summer, we launched our collection in Montauk, NY doing both wholesale and pop up engagements which gave us the opportunity to be in front of our clients and hear firsthand what they liked and what they thought could be improved upon. Listening and learning from our customers has helped with the development of our second collection which we are launching Spring 2018 on our website and in retail stores across the country.
What is your background? What did you do before starting the brand?
Jenny Friedman: Prior to Lost & Found I worked in fashion design and public relations for some of the most established, reputable brands in the industry including Jimmy Choo, Carolina Herrera, Roberta Roller Rabbit, Akris and Ralph Lauren. Most recently I had partnered with a new boutique, “The Shop”, in Rowayton, CT curating and merchandising their assortment including the full Lost & Found collection.
Jessica Friedman: I come from the world of advertising and brand strategy where I have worked at top-tier agencies in both NYC and Los Angeles including R/GA, Publicis and Deutsch. I have worked on creating and building creative strategies for some of the biggest and well known brands in the world.
Do you consider Lost and Found a sustainable or ethical brand?
Yes Lost & Found By J Friedman is the essence of a sustainable and ethical brand. Most of our beautiful, natural (cotton, linen and hemp) fabrics are also handmade utilizing eco-friendly manufacturing processes with local plant leaves, barks and even seeds used to create the natural dyes.
We produce our entire collection in Bali with a small group of incredibly talented women seamstresses and a group of Balinese fabric artisans who work on looms in a studio outside of Ubud in the rainforest. Our earth inspired color palette lends itself perfectly to the bohemian spirit we hope to capture in every collection.
How do you go about creating a sustainable brand?
We look to partner with artisans and craftsman who are creating sustainable fabrics. We visit their studio and see firsthand the natural and organic processes used in creating these fabrics. It is very important that we partner with people doing it the right way.
Who do you look up to in terms of business?
We really admire the brand Faherty. They are a family run brand started by two brothers who dreamed of creating a clothing line for life’s great moments, the ones “spent by the water, around the bonfire, catching waves or watching sunrises." We have the same mentality and believe our clothes are meant to be worn and enjoyed while doing the things in life that mean the most and bring you happiness. In addition they too create clothing from unique and sustainable fabrics and know the importance of providing high quality products.
Describe an interesting startup story when building Lost & Found.
This past summer we popped up throughout Montauk, NY and at times it felt like we were traveling salesman literally selling out of the back of our cars. Our cars were always packed to the brims with clothes, racks and tents. Often we popped up on a windy beach and found ourselves chasing a runaway tent or picking up a fallen rack. Many a days it would be raining and we would be sitting under our small changing tent in seek of shelter. These were not the most glamorous moments but par for the course when we were trying to get as much exposure as possible.
Who is the Lost & Found by J Friedman customer?
Lost & Found By J Friedman appeals to all those who value the real essence of a beach-inspired life. For the most part, the Lost & Found woman can be of any age, but more importantly they share our mentality as we look to blur the boundaries between “real life” and “time off”.
We also cater to a range of sizes and everything we make is one size….really! We work with draping, wrapping and drawstrings to create timeless silhouettes that look truly flattering on variety of shapes and sizes. The key for us is to make sure that there is always something amazing, eye catching and unexpectedly sexy in our designs.
What has been your biggest win?
In February we were featured on Moda Operandi as “Best in Beachwear: 5 Brands We Love”. This was a great honor for us as we really admire the assortment and brands they offer. To be included in that category amongst other more established brands was very humbling.
What’s been your biggest struggle so far?
Our biggest struggle so far has been to make sure we are growing at a strong, steady pace but not to over extend ourselves so we are unable to keep up with the demands of a expanding business. We want to make sure everything we do results in the highest quality product..
What advice would you give to entrepreneurs just starting out in this business?
Just follow your heart and the rest will follow