Consumers want clean, green Australian story of wool

Rachael Ward, wool presser and store assistant, with Fox & Lillie Culcairn branch manager Jenni Turner.

Fox & Lillie Rural will be promoting wool from the paddock to the catwalk at this year’s Henty Natural Fibre Fashion Awards.

The Australian family owned business has operated in wool for 70 years and is in the top three buyers of Australian wool.

Fox & Lillie Rural has donated $500 to the winner of the best knitted or crocheted garment in the awards.

Culcairn branch manager Jenni Turner was part of a 31-member delegation from Fox & Lillie Rural to tour China in July.

Delegates saw the use of fleece wools through to skirtings, short carding types and crossbreds, gaining an understanding of market trends.

“The key message was the interest in provenance – they want to be more connected to wool growers through the clean, green Australian story,’’ Ms Turner said.

“Direct marketing and relationships with end users, not just selling wool as a commodity, is important.

“They are interested in animal welfare and in general, the demand for Australian wool is high.

“Australian Merino wool is genuinely seen as a luxury item and they want it – the active wear market and next-to-skin sportswear is one of the biggest growth sectors for wools up to 20 micron.’’

Fox & Lillie Rural has become a regular exhibitor at the Henty field days and the local staff from Wagga, including Jeff Angel, Dan Charters, Steve Baile, Gary Watts and Hayden Klimpsch with Jenni Turner, will attend to answer wool marketing questions.

Ms Turner will speak on “Women in Wool’’ in the Country Lifestyle pavilion on Thursday, September 21 at 10.40am.

“We enjoy the opportunity to give back – we love wool and are always behind the promotion of it,’’ she said.

Fox & Lillie also highlights a number of Australian wool businesses including Merino active wear and outdoor clothing company Bluey Merino, also an exhibitor at the Henty Machinery Field Days.

There will be a display of fabrics to demonstrate the characteristics of various types of wools.

“We will have members of management and our representative on site at Henty to talk about wool marketing, and relevant trends in the industry,’’ Ms Turner said.

Local trends include growers switching to a six or eight monthly shearing.

Ms Turner said management benefits included increased joining percentages and body condition scores.

She said the 50-70mm length wools were used to manufacture knitwear.

“Six or eight monthly shearing does require good communication and planning.’’

Fox & Lillie Rural can tailor a range of marketing services for their clients.

“We are flexible as a company – it’s all about finding out what growers need for their business rather than a cookie cutter approach,’’ Ms Turner said.

“Growers are becoming increasingly interested in the story of their wool product and with our overseas network and support from our export company, Fox & Lillie Rural can offer clients traceability and knowledge of where their wool goes.

“This allows wool growers and end users to become more connected than ever before.’’