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Beyond the Bale : June 2017
MERIQUEEN VISIT TO AUSTRALIA Meriqueen director Mr Ho Seung-moon and marketing manager Ms Yu Min-jeong visited Australia in February to learn more about the availability and attributes of wool from Australia. While here, they visited Michell Wool in Adelaide to investigate the feasibility and logistics of sourcing Australian wool. They also took the opportunity to visit Allan and Sue Piggott’s property ‘Illoura’ at Tailem Bend to see the source of downs-type wool. Allan is a 3rd generation sheep farmer who runs about 4,000 White Suffolks on his 2,000-hectare property. Meriqueen is the largest Woolmark- certified bedding manufacturer and retailer in Korea, operating 80 retail stores nationwide. The company has been a Woolmark licensee since 1991 and uses the Woolmark logo throughout its marketing to consumers as a mark of guaranteed fibre content and quality assurance. The company uses Australian Merino wool for its luxury pile bedding products, but has in the past used 32-35 micron French wool for its duvets, spreads and comforters – importing 200 tons annually. However, the company has had some troubles with the European wool, such as with impurities that are costly to remove, and so has recently begun using Australian downs-type wool as a substitute due to its superior quality. The company has recently ordered five tons of 32 micron downs-type from Michell Wool in Adelaide (carbonised in Australia and superwashed in China) for a trial production of the duvet/spreads/comforters. The Australian wool products will be launched with a marketing campaign in the upcoming autumn/winter retail season in Korea. The campaign will also showcase the provenance of Australian wool, and will include instore promotions, retail staff training and social media activities. Meriqueen plans to gradually increase its use of Australian downs-type wool for the Korean duvet/spreads/comforter market during the next two years (while continuing to use Australian Merino wool for its luxury pile bedding products). Korean bedding company and Woolmark licensee Meriqueen is increasingly sourcing wool from Australia for its products, due to the superior quality of the Australian fibre compared to that from other countries. prime lamb enterprise, but with improved wool prices over the past few years, income from the wool (which is 30-32 micron) has been an important part of the business. “It’s always a pleasure to showcase our sheep and the natural environment in which they live, because the provenance of products is becoming increasingly important to consumers across the world.” Allan Piggott, sheep producer, South Australia “The downs wool we produce is well suited to home textiles such as quilts and underlays because the broader micron fleece has memory – there is a springiness and elasticity in the wool which doesn’t get compressed. “It was a pleasure to show the delegation from Meriqueen around the property. Despite it being a 40o day, they really enjoyed seeing where the sheep that grow the wool come from – the big open spaces and large properties of Australia are quite different to Korea. The natural environment in which the sheep live is something about which consumers are increasingly interested and something that companies such as Meriqueen can use in its marketing. “We happened to be doing some LAMBPLAN scanning on the day they visited so we had a lot of sheep in the yards, and our guests were very interested in seeing some of the more practical aspects of sheep farming too.” MORE INFORMATION www.meriqueen.co .kr KOREAN BEDDING MARKET AUSTRALIAN WOOL SPRINGS INTO White Suffolk producer Allan Piggott showing Meriqueen director Mr Ho Seung-moon and marketing manager Ms Yu Min-jeong around his property near Tailem Bend in South Australia. Michell Wool CEO Steven Read with the Meriqueen representatives and AWI Country Manager for Korea, Hyunwon Lee. “My grandfather purchased the property as a bush block in 1922, with extra land purchased in recent years. Sheep have always been a very important part of the business mix,” says Allan. “In the past, the wool from our White Suffolks have been more of a by-product from our OFF FARM 31