Tiffany Landry and Jonathan Lessard discover thrift-store treasure
Tiffany Landry and Jonathan Lessard are salt of the earth. They’re the soon-to-be-married couple behind Lost Coast, the delightfully weird new junk shop in Kittery. Actually, to call it a junk shop feels like a disservice; it’s more like a meticulously curated mix of vintage fad toys, granny-chic kitchenware, hip used clothing, and dope records, among other things.
Lost Coast is located on that stretch of State Road just before the Kittery outlets. You can’t miss it; the exterior of the building is covered with a remarkable mural by Portland artists Ryan Adams and Rachel Manly. Inside is an inviting and comfortable avocado-colored couch. It was on that couch that I recently sat down with Tiff and Jon to talk about their local style icons, hand-me-downs, and being part of a creative community.
What is Lost Coast?
Technically we are a resale store. We offer hard-to-find and up-cycled items for sale to the public. We consider ourselves curators of future antiques and creators of cool stuff.
Where did the name Lost Coast come from?
Lost refers to lost treasures. We are in the business of finding lost treasures. Coast refers to the stretch of coast along New Hampshire and Maine. Also, the words sound good together.
How does it work?
Tiff: It started with me repurposing items and making things into jewelry and pins. We try to repurpose as much as we can to keep things out of landfills.
Jon: We do thrifting, auctions, flea markets, and yard sales. Recently people have been asking us to buy their funky items when they are moving or cleaning out their homes.
Tiff: We have a logbook in the store. When people come in looking for a specific item we ask them to write down what they are looking for, plus their contact info, so we can help find it for them.
Jon: We like to hook people up with items that are meant to be with them. I think of our store as a place where items are in the process of finding their home.
How would you describe your personal style?
Tiff: My personal style is whatever I feel comfortable in. I think glasses are part of my personal style. I’ve tried contacts and they make me feel not myself. So as long as I have my glasses on and my hair down, I feel confident.
Jon: Her style is Kurt Cobain’s younger, hotter sister (laughs). When I was younger, I didn’t have a lot of money, so I thrifted a lot. I would take the clothes that I found and put patches on them to make them my own personal style. Lost Coast is a further development of that. I’ve always said you don’t need a lot of money to be stylish. If you have ten or fifteen bucks, you can go to a thrift store, grab something cool, and make it your own.
Tiff: And then if he doesn’t want his clothes anymore, I take them as hand-me-downs.
Jon: Yeah. Her personal style is just stealing all my old clothes.
Which actor would play you in a movie about your life?
Tiff: Rachel McAdams with red hair. Or Ellie Kemper, the lead actress in “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.” I love her in that show. She is so goofy.
Jon: I would like a young Jack Nicholson to play me.
What musical artists are you listening to lately?
Tiff: Oh — Du Blonde! She is incredible! Another one I’m passionate about is Father John Misty. He will always be a heartthrob of mine.
Together: King Tuff. Futurebirds. Jacuzzi Boys. Scissorfight. Joanna Newsom.
Tiff: Who’s that guy that I like that sings that song?
Tiff: He does “Beetlejuice.”
Jon: Oh — Harry Belafonte! One of the cool things about selling records is I get to educate myself about the artists. I never thought I liked AC/DC because I had only heard “Back in Black.” I got a copy of “Highway to Hell” in a stack and played it to make sure there were no skips. After listening to it, I was like, “Wait… I do like AC/DC!”
Who do you think has great style?
Tiff: There are so many stylish ladies in this area. Alyx and Taylor Barnes are two sisters that come into the store with their friends. I always love their style.
Jon: My style icons are local too. I definitely look up to Matt Serven. He is one of the founding members of Backstabbers Inc., which is a local hardcore band. Also Zach Tremblay. He is in New York City now. He is the first person I ever saw who could rock a Canadian Tuxedo.
What is something you love about your body?
Tiff: I love my tattoos. Flowers are very important to me. I love that every day I get to see beautiful art on myself and I get to show it to the world.
Jon: I really like my hands. I remember looking at my father’s hands a lot when I was a kid. He works with his hands. Although I work much differently with my hands, they look the same and I know that they are creating things too.
What do you want people to know about your business?
Tiff: It’s 100 percent…
Tiff: Yeah, when people think of our business, I want them to know that we are two young people doing what we love to do. We want our place to be a comfortable place for people of all ages and styles to come, sit on our couch, show us their art, and have some fun.
Jon: It is definitely a group effort. There used to be a lot more funky stores in the area and there just aren’t anymore, and that is why we had the idea to do this. But it’s like anything else — we need people to support us in order for it to work and so we can support others in return. We consider ourselves part of the creative community.
What are your favorite places to shop on the Seacoast?
(long pause with glances and smiles back and forth)
Tiff: My favorite stuff is from other people’s closets.
Jon: When we go thrifting, we sometimes find stuff for ourselves. We go to all the thrift stores in the area. The only new clothes we buy are band T-shirts from bands we want to support. That, and the Levi’s outlet when there is a sale going on.