Monday, February 28, 2011

Keeping up............

Cold Comfort-Tasmania manufacturers the Pure Wool “Mongrel Tasmanis” brand range wholly in Tasmania, from certified non-mulesed Tasmanian grown wool (April ’11), as well as presenting a range of Australian and imported product.

With wool prices rising by up to 12% right now and we think they’ll easily hit 20% or more, we’re more than a little bit worried.

With PETA actively campaigning against Aussie Wool, we more than a little bit worried.

As small business drowning under convoluted paper work and tax collecting, we are more than a little bit worried.

We are, however, confident in the product and the people in this industry. Not that either can’t be improved on. We need to lift our game. We will........and then will stop worrying. 

The following 2 articles are sourced from  a TCF industry resource I love. It great to keep up with business specific news.

Wool prices hit A&B Knitwear
Fred Seligmann says that he can't recall a more difficult time for his knitwear business, A&B Knitwear in Brunswick.
On top of a very difficult retail market, Seligmann said A&B was being asked to absorb a 10-12 per cent increase in woollen yarn.
And although the 10-12 per cent increase is considerably less than the 25 per cent lift in greasy wool prices in the last three months, he knows the full price rises would eventually have to be absorbed.
A & B Knitwear manufactures the Merino Gold Brand wholly in Australia as well as manufacturing fashion and corporate knitwear in China.
Seligmann said most knitwear manufacturers would buy yarn on forward contract.
He said any sharp rise was generally buffeted by spinners selling out of their stocks.
"But eventually we are going to have to pay the full price," Seligmann said.
While it may be tough for processors, wool growers continue to rejoice in the market rises.
Nick Weeding said he runs about 5000 Merino ewes based on the Wallaloo Park, Petali and Glenlea Park bloodlines.
But after struggling through drought and several years of poor prices, Nick declared that "now was a good time to be back in wool".

released: Monday, 21 February 2011

PETA takes mulesing campaign to the paddock
International animal welfare activists PETA are moving their anti-mulesing campaign from the board rooms to the paddocks.
They've sent the first 500 of 1,500 letters to registered sheep breeders, asking them to breed sheep that don't need mulesing.
Jason Baker, from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) says his group has lost faith in national grower body Australian Wool Innovation to deliver change, and denies PETA has failed with its international campaign against mulesing.
"I think getting the message directly to farmers is the key, because for too long we relied on the AWI and talking to them, and they really didn't have the whole industry's interest in mind," he said.
"There is too much infighting, so we have really given up and gone directly to the farmers."
Australian Wool Innovation director Chick Olsson says PETA has lost credibility globally. He says the letters to growers are an insult, as the national industry is spending $27 million on mulesing alternatives.
"I take it as a sign that we are doing a good job as we have no confidence with them, never have," he said.
"The issue is not so much with PETA, the issue is that this industry is doing all it can to provide solutions to this problem.
"We have spent over $27 million in the last five years looking for alternatives and we are going to continue looking at alternatives."
People for the Ethical Treatments of Animals has campaigned for years against mulesing, where skin is surgically removed from the rear of a sheep.
Sheep producer and breeder Robert Belcher says the letters have a threatening tone, as they promise PETA's endorsement for producers who comply with their wishes.
"I would describe it as a very subtle threat. They are saying that we have no choice in the matter, and that as I breed Merino sheep and can breed the odd Merino ram, it is my responsibility to do as I am told and that is follow the PETA line," he says.
Supporters of mulesing might be tempted to ask what all the fuss was about with wool now fetching high prices, particularly with the expiry of the so-called mulesing deadline two months ago. But those dealing with downstream processors and retailers in North America and Europe are adamant it's a problem that can't be ignored.
Australian Wool Exporter and Processor Council consultant Dr Peter Morgan said the issue was highlighted by the British retailer Marks and Spencer - one of the world's staunchest supporters of Australian wool for many decades.
But like many of the big northern-hemisphere retailers, the last thing M&S wants is to have People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals on its doorstep.
M&S has been very public about its specifications for non-mulesed wool, including declarations and documentation to confirm the status of the wool used in its apparel. Until December, M&S was prepared to accept Merino wool from mulesed sheep that had been treated with pain relief. Now it will only accept Australian Merino wool where there has been a declaration for un-mulesed or that the grower has ceased mulesing.
US retailers are also touchy about the subject, which is why their representative body, the National Retail Federation, has seeked support from Australia to placate or fend off PETA.
Peter Vandeleur, managing director of direct supply marketer NewMerino, said it would be foolish of Australia to ignore those major retailers sensitive to the mulesing issue.
"At some stage, when wool prices are under pressure, Australia is going to need all the help it can get," Vandeleur said.
AWI is also fully aware of the issue, which is why "Australia" is not or rarely mentioned in any of the Prince Charles-endorsed Campaign for Wool or No Finer Feeling promotions which target the non-Asian markets.
"We include Australia in our promotions in Japan, Korea and China, but for obvious reasons Australia is not mentioned in North American and European promotions," AWI director Chick Olsson said.
WoolProducers executive officer Greg Weller is confident Australia can win back the support of the major retailers - provided it can demonstrate it is genuine in its attempt to end mulesing.

released: Monday, 28 February 2011

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Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentines Day

A range of our gorgeous socks, St Valentines Day inspired, made and worn with love.

Big kisses to all our lovely customers!


Monday, February 7, 2011

Good wool and happy sheep

 The news item below is reported by the Textile Source  released: Monday, 7 February 2011

You will be excused for thinking that every Aussie Sheep Farmer muleses thier flock after reading this story. I've just got to say they don't! Especially in here in Tasmania. From April this year all our gorgeous wool will be certified non-mulesed Tasmanian grown. All our pure wool products will carry recognised certification so our customers can be confident and even better our farmers have had to jump through environmental, animal and agricultural hoops to ensure the wool production is ethical & sustainable. From the sheep to the shelf we demand (and get) the worlds best offering. 

Our farms in the pure south of Australia, enjoy a mild climate and lush rain fed pastures = happy sheep!  

Americans lash out at AWI

Six American bodies representing big-name brands, clothes retailers and importers have upbraided Australia's top wool body for failing to heal industry splits over ending mulesing, a practice that has led to retailer boycotts by animal activists in the past.
The group includes the American Apparel and Footwear Association, the National Retail Federation, the Outdoor Industry Assocaition, the Retail Industry Leaders Association, the US Associtation of Importers of Textiles and Apparel and the Wool Working Group.
Gap, Macy's and Liz Claiborne Inc are among the companies that have expressed ''great disappointment'' over Australian Wool Innovation's decision to walk away from an industry group writing a response to the Americans detailing how the practice will be phased out by 2013.
''As the face of Australian wool around the world … AWI's withdrawal now calls into question whether the industry is capable of providing any kind of response and represents, in our view, a considerable setback to any potential progress …'' the companies said in a letter.
Mulesing, surgically removing part of a sheep's rear to prevent potentially fatal flystrike, led People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) to start a boycott in the US seven years ago.
American textile companies have since set deadlines for Australian woolgrowers to find alternatives, leading to deep rifts that have rocked AWI.
It withdrew from the latest attempt to write a response for the Americans after Victorian and Queensland farmers' representatives refused to endorse a draft that deleted all mentions of the word ''mulesing.''
The vice-president of the US National Retail Federation, Erik Autor, who has been a negotiator with Australian woolgrowers, said that the letter to AWI was intended to send a message to the entire wool industry. He has warned that many American retailers and brands were taking ''the path of least resistance,'' directing suppliers to use only New Zealand or South African wool.
He said the industries in those countries, ''whether accurately or not, have [been] successfully promoted as a non-mulesed alternative to Australian wool''.
AWI's chief executive, Stuart McCullough said woolgrowers were experiencing one of the worst flystrike outbreaks in memory.

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