Tuesday, 02 August 2022 14:55

Consumers growing wool demand

Written by  Jessica Marshall
Allwool Ltd's Harry Urquhart-Hay (left) and Angus Hansen. Allwool Ltd's Harry Urquhart-Hay (left) and Angus Hansen.

In a bid to meet growing demand for its three ingredient products, Allwool limited has recently purchased a wool plant at Te Poi, in the Waikato.

The company, owned and run by the Hansen family, has its origins in 1890s Gisborne when William Henry Smith set up the area’s first wool scour and formed W H Smith Ltd.

The company has not been without its challenges, between two world wars, low strong wool prices and the Covid-19 pandemic. It has weathered its fair share of storms – as well as going through multiple name changes along the way.

During the pandemic, the company turned towards using wool to engineer a new fibre – Wisewool. The product is engineered by using the wool from farmer suppliers in Tairawhiti, Gisborne, to intertwine wool fibres together to make small buds and blankets.

Chief executive Henry Hansen says the purchase of the Waikato plant is well-timed for the company.

“We are planning a large new factory and new machinery for our company base in Gisborne. However, that project is realistically two to three years away,” he told Rural News.

“The Te Poi plant will enable Wisewool to immediately start supplying our ingredient products to the New Zealand furniture market and affiliated industries, satisfying the growing demand for our new products,” Hansen says.

He adds that the market appears ready to start replacing synthetic ingredient products with wool products.

Harry Urquhart-Hay, who manages the company’s sales and marketing, says the demand for the product is bigger than anticipated.

“The demand for wool seems to be growing by the month,” he told Rural News. He believes the demand continues to increase, particularly within the last year.

Urquhart-Hay says large businesses like Bremworth have helped to fuel the growth by getting the word out about wool and its benefits.

“I think people are realising the damage synthetics and plastic does to the planet,” he says. “Returning to natural fibres is making more and more sense in consumer eyes.”


More like this

Snowflakes love wool!

Perceptions of wool are changing, according to a recent study by carpet manufacturer Bremworth.

Govt invests in wool

The Government says it is investing to create new product categories and new international markets for strong wool and is calling on Kiwi businesses and consumers to get behind the environmentally friendly fibre.

Pillow talk takes action

A call from her daughter prompted well-known Hawke's Bay wool broker and enthusiastic wool promoter Philippa Wright to set up a new venture - making wool pillows.


Everyone's a winner

Hot on the heels of Bremworth claiming a "win" in its ongoing court case with rival carpet-maker Godfrey Hirst, the…

Carpet battle far from over

Despite claims by NZ carpet manufacturer Bremworth that an international rival has abandoned a court battle about the benefits of…

Feilding boy made good

Malcolm Bailey grew up on a dairy farm near the township of Feilding in the lower North Island.

Winter grazing headaches

A Hawke's Bay-based farm consultant reckons there will be a need for farm system changes next season in order for…

Machinery & Products

New disc cultivator launched

Väderstad has introduced a new disc cultivator – the Carrier XT 425-625 – featuring rotating disc axles, that optimizes results…

JD unlocks its digital system

As a long-term advocate of digital technology, John Deere has taken the route of mass data capture, rather than concentrating…

» The RNG Weather Report

» Latest Print Issues Online

The Hound

Full of it!

OPINION: Your old mate was told about some research that proves that what consumers claim and what they actually do…

A better deal?

OPINION: This old mutt has been contacted by a number of members of rural insurer FMG expressing concern about the…

» Connect with Rural News

» eNewsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter