From Big Store to Small Shop with Big Dreams


A retail career lived cheerfully in reverse has landed Silvia Noble in a cozy spot in Artarmon, just north of Sydney, running The Lost + Found Department. It’s an eclectic mix of old and new, where vintage enamelware lives near a potpourri of new goods, including a variety of brushes from Heaven in Earth.

The Lost and Found Department

“It’s a place for all these disparate elements to find a home together,” she said earlier this month in New York, where she visited with Heaven in Earth for their in the United States at the NY Now trade show.

 Silvia (left) and Jocelyn at Heaven in Earth's booth at NY Now

Silvia Noble and Jocelyn Van Hoven at Heaven In Earth’s booth at the NY Now show in Manhattan.

 

Silvia’s retail career started with a part-time job at Wheel & Barrow, a chain of homewares stores in Australia, and wound up managing a store. Then she moved over to David Jones, a traditional department store company in Sydney.

“I never thought of myself as a department store person,” she said, yet nevertheless she soon found herself managing first a department and then an entire store.

“I like working with people,” she said. “I liked creating a team of people. We made it like a bit of a family.”

But then the corporate atmosphere began to wear on her, and she recalled that her parents -- Italian immigrants to Australia -- were self-employed all her life.

“I never knew my parents to work for someone else,” she said. “I think it was in my blood.”

So off she went to farmers and weekend markets with her eclectic collection of goods. Eventually, it all coalesced into the Lost + Found Department, now located in a tiny space rented from Murobond Paints. It’s a place for the unusual, whether it’s new or previously loved.

“That’s why I love what Jocelyn does with Heaven In Earth,” she said. “It’s beautiful, but it’s practical.”

Handmade soap on rope from Heaven in Earth

When the NY Now show was over, she spent a couple of days in New York, gamely trying to find her way in an unfamiliar city (and also trying to find some “nice and textural” woven towels she’d heard of in Brooklyn).

She doesn’t dare predict what’s in store for her later.

“Anyone’s that got a five-year plan is either arrogant or stupid,” she said, laughing. “Life happens.”

 The Lost and Found Department

 


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