Jamie Rosenthal started Lost & Found as a children’s shop after the birth of her son Bennett and leaving her film styling career. The first shop was on a little known block in Hollywood next to Sofia Coppola’s milk fed store. Within a year, another space opened up in the building. After her years as a women’s wear buyer on the East Coast, she thought “What am I doing in the children’s business?” Determined to establish the area as a neighborhood retail destination, she slowly expanded into four additional spaces, each time experimenting with different retail businesses. Over time, Lost & Found evolved organically into the lifestyle destination store and community it is today. Jamie took the time out of opening her newest store in Santa Monica to talk with us.
You just launched the new Santa Monica store, congratulations! What’s different about visiting the new store?
The new Santa Monica store is in an amazing freestanding building with 16 foot wooden ceilings. It was a former gallery space and, unlike Hollywood with six different doorways, one for each shop, this is a large open space that flows effortlessly to showcase women’s, men’s and children’s clothing and accessories. I would say it has a more modern architectural design with cement floors and skylights. There is also a space for a little cafe which will be opening at some point this fall but the best part is the breezy sea air and the ocean view since we are 2 blocks from the beach!
Lunch, plus shopping, plus beach trip sounds like a perfect afternoon. With so many shops in one shop- menswear, children’s, accessories, womenswear- how do you select items for the stores?
I follow my instincts. I hand pick every item I sell and every decision is based on intuition informed by a lifetime of experience in craft, fashion and design. For me there must be a value in each product and a reason to buy it since, ultimately, we really do not need much. I buy all over the world and think a lot about how and where things are made and who makes them. I am interested in forging this global human connection between my customers and the products they buy at Lost & Found.
You recently lent your curating abilities to Anthropologie and created a collection for them. How did that happen?
Anthropologie buyers have been fans of Lost & Found for some time and I happened to be in the shop one day when their team stopped by and they were very complimentary of my product and aesthetic. It was suggested that we develop a project to work on together though they had never previously collaborated with an outside buyer/retailer. We eventually decided that I would develop an indigo based home collection that I would source and produce for them. My hope was to introduce them to some smaller artisanal workshops around the globe that are in need of orders that a major chain like Anthropologie could provide so that they can continue to survive while at the same time making these products accessible at retail to a larger audience. I think we were successful on that level. Since I am such a solo operator, the biggest challenge for me was to work along side the corporate culture. I think we all learned a lot from each other which is the point of any true collaboration.
Note: The collection is available at both LA Lost & Found locations, online at Anthropologie and in five Anthropologie stores around the US.
You started Lost & Found fifteen year ago and since then have had amazing opportunities to grow. How has the retail business changed?
Lost & Found (shops) turn 15 this year but I started working in retail as a teenager on Nantucket! I think the most obvious change to retail is the internet and social media which has made everything in the world accessible and it is now possible for anyone to easily open a store. Personally, I prefer the more intimate and tactile experience that a neighborhood store has to offer. The internet will never be able to fully capture or recreate this. When done well, a retail store is an art form with it’s own individual form of expression.
Last, what’s on your list of summer necessities?
Reinhard Plank straw hat, K Jaques sandals, Local striped tunic dress, Tensira indigo dyed beach bag, Michele Keeler towels and a beach!