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Australian fine wools find favour with Norwegian manufacturer

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Elite knitwear manufacturer and retailer, Devold of Norway will be using the legend of the Australian wool industry as part of their marketing strategy, in a sales and marketing partnership with a select group of fine wool producers.

Warm woollen undergarments from Devold were part of the expedition equipment for Norwegian explorers Roald Amundsen and Fridtjof Nansen and the company said it used those expeditions as a proving ground for their product.

Devold is still a wool specialist today but as Chief Executive Officer Catherine Stange explained, the company had made a gradual move into a different part of that market.

“We’ve been moving gradually into merino, into the base-layer segment, which is now a very big part of our business,” she said.

“Part of that evolution, to the modern day, lies in the increasing opportunities to manufacture woollen garments, not just for the outdoors and sports, but also moving into other segments of the market, like lifestyle products.”

But that is a big market in Europe and Devold has been looking for a way to market their high end product that will give them a point of difference with other manufacturers and retailers.

And that is where Australia’s fine wool producers come in. In a woolshed in the NSW central west, Devold representatives watched the shearing team harvest Simon Barton’s fine wools.

It is the softness and skin-friendly aspect of Australian fine wool that has brought the Europeans to the hills above Wellington, because it is wool like this they will be using to manufacture their knitwear.

But she has also discovered the people who produce the wool are a big part of the story as well. “We were astonished to see the passion, the care, the quality of operations they bring to what they do, and that is such a good match with what we want to do.”

“That’s when we came up with the idea of a partnership, with a select group of these growers, to get the high quality wool but also to tell the story about the passion and pride they bring to their animals and their product.

Simon Barton runs this farm with his father John. The Bartons have been in the Australian fine wool industry through peaks and troughs.

He sees this sort of single source marketing idea as a good way to differentiate his wool from inferior products and he is happy to have his family’s record associated with the Devold name.

Devold’s Catherine Stange is confident that the Australian woolgrowers are as big a selling point as the softness and durability of the wool they produce.

Source: ABC Rural

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