If you’re like us, you want to know the farm-to-table story behind the food you and your family consume. You want to learn about the family farm that grew the vegetables, the co-op that sourced milk from grass-fed cows, and the workers that tended the orchards. You want to know because a healthy and ethical supply chain is important to you as a conscious consumer.
As a maker of merino wool wear, the farm-to-garment story is important to us too. So naturally, the question is: where does our merino wool come from? What’s the story behind Mother Nature’s original super soft performance fabric?
For us, it all starts with the merino sheep roaming mountainous meadows in New Zealand and Australia. The merino sheep gather under the sky’s wide embrace, roam grassy meadows, and simply live the good life of a sheep. And, importantly, our merino sheep are never mulsed (a painful and unnecessary surgical procedure).
For the dedicated ranchers who care for these sheep, their efforts are truly a labor of love. One such rancher is Philip Rive, a multi-generation merino rancher with whom I had the great pleasure of meeting a few years back at Cecil Peak Station. I spent the day with Philip and his wife, Kate, on their ranch in the Remarkables mountain range outside of Queenstown, New Zealand. As we toured the ranch, he pointed to hills that he explored as an eight-year-old by pony. To Philip, Kate, and other merino ranchers, taking care of merino sheep is is a way of life (not just a way to make a living).
Because of this level of care, our merino wool is certified by the Responsible Wool Standard (RWS). RWS is a voluntary global standard, subject to independent auditing, that promotes the “welfare of sheep and the land they graze on.” Their mission is to “provide the industry with a tool to recognize the best practices of farmers; ensuring that wool comes from farms with a progressive approach to managing their land, and from sheep that have been treated responsibly.”
In addition, the merino sheep are guaranteed the five essential freedoms of responsible shepherding:
Freedom from thirst, hunger and malnutrition
Access to adequate comfort and shelter from adverse weather conditions
The ability to display normal patterns of behavior
To be handled in a manner which minimises pain or distress to the animal
Protection from or rapid diagnosis of, any significant injury or disease.
From protecting soil health and biodiversity at merino ranches to ensuring the humane treatment of sheep, the RWS allows consumers — and brands like us — to identify conscious companies in the merino wool supply chain.
Our clothing choices matter. Our choice of supply chain partners matters. They reflect our values, our aspirations, our visions.
When you choose our merino wool kid’s wear, your child is living in harmony with nature’s cycles and in reverence for her gifts.