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Beyond the Bale : June 2017
Smitten Merino is a family business born in Hobart in 2007. “We had recently moved from WA and loved the climate, the people, the whole island and the sheep,” Carl says. “But we didn’t actually have any jobs, so we sat down at a coffee shop to plan our future. “I happened to be wearing some modern Merino wool thermals from New Zealand and Nicola was talking about how she’d like to start a fashion business. We came up with the idea there and then that we should put the fashion and Merino together and create our own Merino fashion business here in Tasmania. And that’s how Smitten was born.” turnover of $2 million dollars with 22 people manufacturing its apparel in Tasmania. The business primarily sells its products online through its website www. smittenmerino.com although it is also stocked in several retail outlets, especially in Tasmania. Carl and Nicola occasionally exhibit at shows such as the Australian Sheep and Wool Show in Bendigo and Sheepvention in Hamilton where they have not only won best exhibitor awards but also built up a good rapport with the wool-growing community. THE SMITTEN RANGE Smitten uses superfine Merino wool throughout its extensive collection of women's fashion and performance outdoor clothing for men and women. Nicola says about 80 per cent of Smitten apparel is women’s fashion. “We have a large range for women – including T-shirts and tops, knits and cardigans, dresses and skirts, pants and leggings, coats and ponchos – in a variety of colours and sizes. Our best-selling items are our scoop neck tops and cardigans. “For women's fashion, Merino wool is lightweight and luxurious, keeps your body temperature constant and comfortable, it drapes and looks beautiful, and will last for years and years. It is also machine washable. “Merino wool also has unparalleled performance for sports and outdoor adventure while at the same time having the most luxurious feel against the skin.” AUTHENTICALLY TASMANIAN Carl says Smitten designs are inspired by a passion for Tasmania – its incredible landscapes, produce, people and natural playgrounds. “We wanted to support Tasmania and be local; we wanted to create a unique brand, and offer visitors and locals a Tassie souvenir that they could wear for years to come,” he said. “Spun from superfine Merino, our wool is sourced from Tasmanian and Australian premier wool-growing regions and all manufacturing is undertaken in Tasmania. “Our philosophy is to try and keep everything in the business really local, so we can support the local economy as well as our local woolgrowers.” A NATURAL CHOICE Nicola and Carl say that they were originally attracted to Merino wool due not only to its performance and luxurious feel, but also to the fact that it is a natural and renewable fibre. “There are a growing number of consumers adverse to cheap throw away clothing that has been made in sweat shops and eventually clogs up landfill sites in the Western World after being worn once or twice,” Nicola says. “Our customers love to support the fact that Merino wool is natural and renewable. They like to know that the garment will last a long time and get real value in their purchase. They have less clothing doing a better job. MORE INFORMATION www.smittenmerino.com Ten years ago, husband and wife team Carl and Nicola Mason had a dream to design lightweight Merino clothing that was stylish, comfortable and practical – and have it manufactured in their home state of Tasmania. A decade later, their business is flourishing. SMITTEN WITH MERINO Carl, Holly and Nicola Mason – the family behind Smitten. Carl and Nicola Mason’s daughter Holly modelling a Smitten Merino wool drape cardigan and scoop top against a background of Tasmanian Merino sheep. It is still very much a family business. Carl looks after the marketing, Nicola is the designer, and their daughter Holly is the face of Smitten and part-time salesperson. Their other daughter Brooke and son Daniel also lend a hand where they can. Despite its humble beginnings, the business has grown steadily to now have an annual 22 OFF FARM