Wool Lifestyle

Our New Zealand wool has impeccable attributes. The integrity of the fibre is outstanding with a lot of effort being poured into its credentials as a truly sustainable material.

None of this matters if we forget to mention how wonderful it is to experience life with wool in your habitat.

Our wool is life enhancing. Wool is a fibre evolved by nature over centuries to provide warmth and safety. It does not melt. Wool won’t attract oily stains like some synthetic fibre.  Wool can breathe and moderate humidity making it great for asthma sufferers. Wool absorbs noise unlike hard floors. Manufactured right 100% wool products will outlast other materials and keep looking good for a very long time.

But what really matters is that wool feels lovely.

People aspire to luxury, and people like to feel good about their investments.  We have the fibre that delivers a luxurious and responsible lifestyle.

anika

 

The Renewable Colour Challenge for 7 Billion People.

7 Billion Cups of Coffee and no Sheep but its OK we can recycle the fishing nets…

Perhaps its time to step back and look at what we are doing?

Before man stared making synthetic fibre and dyes from oil there were far fewer people on the planet.  With only 1 billion people and very few of them in developed economies the world could easily produce enough natural fibre and pigment to satisfy demand.

Well not quite; Rich people had colour and poor people wore beige. The invention of synthetics dyes in 1856 by Perkins and then fibre almost 100 years later meant everyone could afford mass produced textiles. Luxury was affordable and become the norm.

perkins mauve

Perkins Mauve Oil Based Dye.

That was then, in the late 1800’s we though oil was going to last forever. It turns out that mass-producing synthetics was cheaper, but not sustainable.

It has been argued that we cannot go back to natural products, as there are now 7 billion people all wanting modern western lifestyles.

There is simply not enough planet earth to provide natural fibre and colour for 7 billion worthy citizens.

Apparently It is OK to use vast areas of countryside and cheap labour to grow luxury drinks like coffee, but it is not OK to use vast land areas to grow pigments or cotton from plants.   Food takes priority, even if its coffee, tea and cocoa.

This to me sounds like an argument to prolong our addiction to man-made fibre.

Oil based industries need to drive demand so they tell us they are saving the world, giving us a lifestyle that we otherwise could not afford. Unfortunately they have a point.

The challenge in 1856 was to create colour for the masses, which Perkins accidentally solved while trying to make a vaccine.   The challenge now is to create a circular economy and create textiles and colour from rapidly renewable materials.

 The challenge is 7 times greater and 7 times more urgent than it was in 1857.

Where do we begin?   We begin small, niche and high-end.  Perhaps natural fibre and natural colour can only be produced in small quantities, for wealthy people who want something real.   Coffee and chocolate started niche too, but now millions of people around the world earn their livelihood by producing a luxury product that nobody actually needs.

We don’t save the world by using a recycled cup.  We save the world by not using the cup in the 1st place.  Use a ceramic cup and use it 1000 times,  not an oil based cup that’s used once and might be recycled.   Same goes for textiles and carpets,  Wool carpets last longer and are 100% renewable.  Where did your plastic carpet come from?  Is the synthetic fibre company going to plant a new dinosaur for every litre of oil they use?  Maybe they will make it from a plastic fishing net which also never should have existed in the 1st place.   Make those nets from renewable fibres that break down in water and there is no problem to solve.

Lets take a step back and stop creating problems to solve so we look less bad in our marketing propaganda.  Lets just plan to be naturally good.

Coffee Production.

Coffee Production.

Bio Wool – A new era of innovation

Up-cycling is the new recycling.   Rather than focusing on ways to hide waste from manufacturing why not reduce waste altogether.  But when that is not possible up-cycle the left-over’s from manufacturing into value-added new materials and products.

Daniel McLaughlin, a New Zealander studying at the Royal College of Arts in the UK came to visit us to show us his development with wool.   We could see the potential for hundreds of applications for Daniel’s work and offered to assist with sourcing re-claimed fibre from the textile industry.

From our work on Crumbwool we knew that Anglo Recycling were already rescuing wool fibres and creating needle punched materials.  Daniel took this material and created Biowool, which he has crafted into a suitcase as an early prototype.

biowool suitcase

The BioWool Suitcase

By combining wool with bio-resins Daniel has created a substrate that is incredibly strong, completely renewable and at the end of its life biodegradable.

The best part for me is that this is the beginning of a whole new era for innovation with wool.  By moving into new product categories where there are no preconceived ideas about how wool is used and what it’s value might be, we can start imagining the customer experience and design far more exciting products.

The textile industry is full of people that think they know all about how to process wool.  Daniel does not know all these rules so his vision is not constrained by the status-quo.

Biowool suitcase

Daniel’s Biowool suitcase has even been noticed as an amazing new material by gadget magazine Stuff.  Follow this link

Creating Magic

Make your process part of the Story

People want transparency; they want to know what it is made of and who made it. But why?

People want to trust, to feel safe, and to know they got something of value.
Mostly people hate to be ripped off. If you cannot see the value chain, you can’t see the value. How do you trust something that is kept secret from you?

But there is a line. Take Crumbwool underlay. People want to know it is made in the UK from sustainable materials and they help the planet by choosing a sustainable product. But do people really want to see factories? Is it better to keep a little bit of mystique and magic?

We have to remember that a process is just a process; it is not the final product. Products sell when they deliver real benefits to the people that use them. But what if we turn a process into a story?

The wool in Crumbwool gives it sound insulation, heat insulation and it makes it super bouncy. A home with spongy floors that are fire safe and absorb nasty chemicals is part of delivering a customer experience. When your product is invisible as its end up literally under the carpet the message has to be even stronger.

Rather than pictures of a factory, no matter how clean and modern your factory is why not focus on the magic.
I decided to draw a picture of the Crumbwool Creation Process.

The Magical Crumbwool Creation Process

crumbwool creation

Crumbwool is Created

crumbwool tyres

The Amazing Magical Crumbwool Process