5 Feb 2010

Companies promote wool to US market

2:04 pm on 5 February 2010

New Zealand sheep farmers who took part in the launch of a new wool carpet brand in the United States this week have come away feeling optimistic about the outlook for strong wool.

The farmers were part of the Elders Primary Wool team that unveiled the 'Just Shorn' brand at a carpet retailers' convention in Las Vegas.

Hamish de Lautour from Hawke's Bay says there was a highly enthusastic response to the promotional focus on the natural qualities of wool and its sustainability.

Making the connection with farmers has appealed to retailers, he says.

Howie Gardner from South Otago is confident that the new range of 'Just Shorn' carpets and rugs to be released in the US later this year will bring better returns to the growers.

Meanwhile the competing New Zealand carpet wool marketing venture, Wool Partners International, has also been busy in Las Vegas.

Chief executive Ian Abercrombie is at the annual Surfaces floor covering trade fair, promoting its new Laneve brand, which is also highlighting the natural benefits of wool, and its online information system for retailers.

Mr Abercrombie says Wool Partners now has about 36 carpet manufacturers signed up as brand partners in Europe and the US, as well as four large retail buying groups in the UK.

He says manufacturers in the US have been hit hard by the recession but they are now starting to buy wool again.