Those who love vintage fashion often have to venture off the beaten track and duck down tiny back alleys and unmarked side streets in pursuit of ‘new’ old finds to add to their collections.
Although some regard these hunting expeditions and intrepid exploring for tucked-away vintage shops as part of the thrill of the overall experience, it can be frustrating to those who are less keen on the search.
If you count yourself among the more impatient who just want to get there already and browse, you will definitely adore Lost & Found, a place constantly offering gorgeous and hand selected vintage and secondhand clothing for sale. And the best news is that you won’t get lost in dodgy areas or even use a drop of petrol to get there!
That is because Lost & Found is in a place where many people – including, most likely, you – are spending a lot of time already: Online. To be more specific – since the World Wide Web is vast, after all – it’s conveniently located on popular social networking hub Facebook.
The brainchild of lovely Jo’burger Amy Rawhani, Lost & Found is a Facebook group dedicated to “the wearers of art, the devotees of movable beauty, the appreciators of the inimitable, the lovers of vintage, the raiders of cupboards, the treasure hunters”. Every once in a while, Amy holds auctions to sell some of her beautiful finds right there on Facebook. In order to place a bid, customers simply need to join the Facebook group. It has been likened to E-Bay sans the fees and the red tape. As on E-Bay and other auction sites, though, the highest bidder also wins.
Amy, a self-confessed lover of ‘other people’s clothes’, is a former Wits University law student. She actually founded Lost & Found during her broke student days, which is where Lost & Found’s rather unique and cost-cutting clothing delivery policy stems from. Despite having customers from all over the country and even as far-flung as London, Amy eliminates shipping fees – which can often be higher than the cost of the items bought – by having the items picked up in person by the customers themselves (which is easy enough if the customers live nearby), or by sending the goodies with someone else who happen to be travelling to where the customer lives.
As much as this ‘hitching a lift’ delivery policy saves on costs, it also puts Amy’s mind at ease: “I don’t feel entirely comfortable sending it through general mail because the pieces are once off gems, and if they get “lost” in the post or something I’d be super upset that the client didn’t get them,” Amy wrote in an e-mail to us. “Of course, if the client is willing to pay for the cost of the postage, and take on the possibility and responsibility that their item may not get to them, then I leave that decision to the client and send the item through. The underlying thing about it though is that I want the business to be fair.”
This policy of fairness and kindness also extends to the way in which Amy sources the clothes. “I love treasure-hunting for items,” she writes. Without disclosing her favourite haunts, she says that she trawls through secondhand places for the stock, which is mostly secondhand or vintage. “A lot of the people I buy from are in the informal sector of the economy, and I try to keep it that way to support them, because they often come from places where they can’t go back to their own countries.”
For more information and to join the bidding action, add yourself to the Lost & Found Facebook group.