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

 

Just a Drop

Wool makes beautiful fabrics.

In fact really good wool, with smart design can create stunningly attractive materials that perform brilliantly, as evidenced by Synergy, Camira Fabrics latest range of upholstery fabric.

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The Synergy range is made up of 75 shades, each constructed with a high content of pure New Zealand wool.  Some in combinations of subtle mélanges, others in piece dyes solids.

Textile manufacturing does use a lot of water for cleaning wool and colouring fabrics but luckily Wools of New Zealand and Camira Fabrics both have the luxury of being in parts of the world where water is in plentiful supply.

New Zealand wool factory

Wool growing in New Zealand

We know that not all parts of the world are so fortunate with an estimated 750 million people without safe water.   Camira has invited Wools of New Zealand to donate to international water aid charity Just a Drop, for every metre of fabric sold.

For a start, together and with the help of others in the Synergy supply chain we will build a water tank at Ikalaasa Primary School in Kenya to provide clean water to 460 pupils.

All the details about Synergy are here.

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Pupils at Ikalaasa primary school in Kenya

Synergy just feels nice doesn’t it!

Working with nature.

Some very famous brands have been talking to us recently about ethics.

Concerns have been raised about the wool fibre grown for their products. Animal activist groups, and lets be fair, who don’t really have a good reputation so far as unbiased and honest report go, claim that humans eat sheep. This is true; their claims are a worry in that they also claim that sheep are treated cruelly during their life on the farm.   At this point please be clear that they are not accusing New Zealand farmers!

 Here is the truth.

Sheep are grown all around the world. Local customs and local environments mean that standards and practices vary.

In New Zealand there are strict laws on animal welfare, good environmental management and social welfare. It’s a modern society with lots of checks in place to ensure that everything is done in a nice way.     The clean and green New Zealand brand is fiercely protected. The last thing Kiwi’s want is to be seen as out of sync with nature.

New Zealand farmers are animal lovers that enjoy working with nature. Sheep are grown for food with wool being a relatively small part of the farmer’s income. The sheep are kept in large free-range properties, are sheltered, well fed and well looked after. A happy healthy sheep is a more productive animal.

The wool is taken from sheep once or twice a year depending on the type of sheep and the type of product the wool is grown for. During the shearing process the sheep are held in pens while they wait for their haircut. The sheep are held by the shearer in a relaxed state, and do not resist this process. They then go back to the paddock.

The farmers look after the land so that it can be passed onto their children and they look after the animals so they will be productive and keep giving us wool.

Not all parts of the world are as plentiful as New Zealand enjoying as much rainfall and sunshine and a moderate climate for wool.  Third-world farming communities need our help and support so they too can reach maximum potential.

Rather the calling for a boycott on wool, which hurts the good growers, why not work with these communities and show them how it’s done. Shunning third world farmers out of your own ignorance does not make the world a better place.

Campaigns of anger create tension; destroy livelihoods and ultimately force people to do desperate things to feed their family.   These extremist need to put down their digital placards and become part of the solution.

The video below illustrates the shearing process. Which as well as not causing any discomfort to the sheep, provides a livelihood for many hundreds of thousands of people in the textile industry around the world.

Wool Reputable

“Integrity trust and transparency are the core values that create long lasting partnerships.” That’s part of a tweet paying tribute to our very valuable relationship we have with the Society of British International Design or SBID.

It was a reply to a quote by Prince William “One thing that I think we all value about New Zealand is the integrity of its institutions”

You cannot under-value integrity, and it is getting more valuable. The interior designers that we are working with are curious about where things come from and who made them. The story of the product is almost as important as form and function.

Trust comes from acting with integrity, consistently over time.   Once word gets out you have a reputation and that leads to new business opportunities.

Earn your reputation by being reputable; build a product with a real story.

Integrity and happy sheep

Happy SheepNew Zealand has a reputation for producing clean white soft lovely wool.  Recently via Facebook someone asked “Yeah that’s all OK but how do you treat the sheep?”

I think this was a fair question, although it did get some social media responses as it was read as a little insightful by some.

The short answer of course is “Really well” Our farmers want their animals to be healthy and happy.  They sign up to a wool growing integrity programme with important rules on the environment, social responsibility and Animal Welfare.

Our animal health and welfare manual has firm objectives to ensure that our wooly friends are provided with five basic freedoms.

1. Proper and sufficient food and water.

2. Adequate shelter.

3. The opportunity to display normal patterns of behavior.

4. Physical handling in a way, which minimizes pain or distress to the animal.

5. Protection from and rapid response to any significant injury or disease.

Our wool growers are very aware that if carpet buying people have uninformed views on animal treatment it can put them off purchasing animal fibres.

The growers’ practices are externally verified through an audit process, which they gladly do in order to qualify for our Integrity programme.

Farmers tend to be animal lovers, they don’t want to see any animal suffer and they know that healthy happy sheep grow better wool.

Happy Sheep in New Zealand

Happy Sheep

Camira’s Wool Grown Here..

It has been a few weeks since my last post – sorry!  Coming soon will be a few pieces about my travels through New Zealand to meet with wool growers.  Attached is a picture of A Laneve farmer and Wools of New Zealand Chairman, Mark Shadbolt, with the Creative Director of Camira Fabrics, Cheryl Kindness.

Cheryl knows exactly where her wool comes from.

Expect lots of sheep pictures soon…

Camira Wool

Camira Wool

Guest Post – The Feldman Perspective

I’d like to introduce you to Brooke Feldman.  Brooke looks after digital marketing for Nourison who make brilliant rugs from New Zealand wool.   Brooke and I have been working together on some new ideas that we can share more details on soon.  In the meantime I thought it would be nice to get some fresh insights and views from a talented young American woman who is learning to love wool…

Here is what Brooke has to share…

Brooke Feldman

Brooke Feldman has something to say..

When the word rug or carpet comes in mind, what does it make you think of? For me, I go back to my grandma’s old house. She had this amazing white carpet that was soft to the touch and very plush. I loved to lay on it with my feet dangling in the air while I watched TV. Those memories in that little house come into my head now and then. As a digital marketer for Nourison, I’m thinking of my audience constantly and what an impact of a specific product or design we carry has that creates memories.

Nourison Industries is a leading multi-category resource in today’s floor covering markets. We specialize in area rugs, broadloom, home accents and have a whole hospitality division. We create everything from the everyday home design, to luxurious patterns seen in some exotic destinations in the world. It’s incredible the amount of collections we have and to see what our designers come up with every day.

I find myself walking around our showrooms running my fingers through different rugs. Why? Feeling and seeing our rugs gives me a sense of each customer and what design might fit a chic New Yorker, or a the adventurous sailor in Cape Cod. How each of these “finishing touches” is important to decorating: the icing on the cake to any room.

We think as a company about sustainability not just for the environment, but how a product can reflect a personal style and last for many years to come. That’s why we choose wool. First and foremost, over 95% of our floor coverings (over 64 individual collections) are made from wool and wool blends. As a carpet fiber, wool is non-allergenic, produces low emissions, and actually has air-purifying properties. Wool is natural, biodegradable, and renewable resource that is produced using environmentally friendly, energy efficient and safe methods.

The other factor we consider as a company is the positive impact of using wool, and how it helps us give back. Nourison’s wool processing provides sustenance for thousands of people in hundreds of villages throughout the world. Where sheep herding and cotton farming are a way of life, the animals are treated in these villages with care and respect. The natural materials are harvested and process with pride. Also, the best part about using wools from Wools from New Zealand is that they are universally acknowledged as the purest, whitest wools on the planet. Makes me want to have a pet lamb of my own that sits by me at my desk…either that or take a trip to New Zealand.

For us at Nourison, using wool has a double benefit. We care about the needs of our customers; what they need to make their home trendy, as well as provide a product that will never fail in quality. Likewise, using a natural fiber is a way of giving back to the environment. With a conscious eye on the sustainability of a collection, we continue to produce rugs that will never fail each of our customers. We’re going green whenever possible, how about you?

You can follow Nourison on Twitter and Brooke on Twitter…

Nourison’s website is here..

nourison logo

Click for amazing rugs.

kiwi sheep

Kiwi wool in Akaroa New Zealand