Woollen bedding continues to turn dreams into reality

4 April 2012

The interest in wool products for the interiors sector is buoyant, according to Woolmark licensees that attended the influential 2012 Heimtextil interior textile trade show in Frankfurt in January.

2012 Heimtextil trade fair for interior textiles
Woolmark licensees that attended the 2012 Heimtextil trade fair for interior textiles reported strong interest for woollen bedding products.

The interior textiles sector – including bedding, carpets and furnishing – supports woolgrowers whose clip is of a broader micron and crossbreed wool.

At the trade show, The Woolmark Company and eight Woolmark licensees showcased the natural benefits of interior textile products made from wool and highlighted a range of new innovative products and technologies.

The annual trade show welcomed about 70,000 visitors from 61 countries. Bedding producers, retailers and journalists were interested in the performance and natural benefits of wool and were delighted to get information about new innovative products and technologies. The Woolmark Company’s Mothers and Babies program raised a lot of interest.

The eight Woolmark Company licensees exhibiting in a special ‘Wool Arena’ at the show were Wool Products Australia, Jaspa Herington, H. Dawson Wool, Bönning + Sommer, DBCwool, Eastcon, Merino International and Nantong Dasheng Honglu Woollen Co.

Producing products made from 100 per cent Australian-grown wool of around 33 micron, under the Woolstar brand, Wool Products Australia Pty Ltd was attending Heimtextil for the fourth year. Managing director Graeme Kerr said he was pleased to find a consistently good turnout in the number of visitors and was amazed with the increased number of enquiries regarding wool.

“It’s been unbelievable,” Mr Kerr said. “It is the best we have experienced in the four years we have been involved with Heimtextil. We have also discovered the return of some countries which were not here in the past two years.

“The Woolmark logo is critical to our product. It signifies integrity. In our case it is Australian made and uses Australian wool. The Woolmark logo adds that comfort and integrity for our consumers and signifies the actual benefit of the product within the wool category.”

Jaspa Herington owner Barry Young said day two at the fair was the busiest he had experienced in his six years of attendance and he was “quietly confident” this would lead to good business. He said while wool in bedding was still only a minor part of the wool industry there was definitely the opportunity for growth across the world.

“When I bought the company 20 years ago, wool in bedding was less than five per cent of the Australian market. Today I’d be guessing it makes up about 50 per cent of our market, yet for the rest of world it is still less than five per cent, so the opportunity to go forward is huge.

“I’m very optimistic. We use 100 per cent Australian wool – why buy wool anywhere else when we have the best wool in the world.”

Like Mr Kerr, Mr Young said the Woolmark logo added to their already “strong brand”.

“It helps the integrity of the product – there are a lot of people who now mix polyester with wool but the Woolmark adds a sticker of approval for 100 per cent pure wool so the consumer knows they are getting the best.”

H. Dawson Wool owner and CEO Jo Dawson also agreed there was a lot of opportunity for growth in the wool bedding sector and there was an on-swell of new demand in this area.

“We’ve had many new customers wanting to try wool and visiting our stand, it’s very exciting,” the H. Dawson Wool owner said.

“Bedding wool is a hot-selling topic at the moment. It’s a very exciting area, because you sleep better when you sleep with wool. I think people are still moving back to wool as it’s a natural, renewable resource and a biodegradable alternative.”

He said there was an opportunity for new development and praised the continual work undertaken by AWI. He also added the Woolmark logo was something which was held in high regard and known as a trust mark.