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Beyond the Bale : April May 2009
12 MARKETING April – May 2009 Beyond the Bale A natural instinct for wool marketing ‘Taylor’ and ‘Merino’ are synonymous in the Riverina, and now the family’s passion for wool has moved along the value chain from stud breeding to fashion By Kellie Penfold the Merino industry. When she and her husband david owned Pooginook Merino Stud at Jerilderie, NSW, it was stud stock, and then progressed to the fleece of Pooginook’s clients. Today, with Pooginook now part of the G Macquarie Pastoral Group and the Taylors settled in Albury, NSW, Gill’s passion for wool is undiminished, and her current quest is to put easy-care machine-washable wool into many, many more wardrobes. In 2003, Gill developed the Natural Instinct Wool Company with 30 Pooginook ill Taylor has turned her hand to marketing almost all aspects of client shareholders as part of the Pooginook Wool Initiative, to market Australian-made Merino clothing. The enterprise started enthusiastically with shareholders wanting to target large and wide-ranging markets. Natural Instinct Wool evolved to focus on wool vests, blankets, pillow covers and scarves. In 2006 Gill bought out the other shareholders to streamline operations in line with her motto “keep it simple”. “We had some huge ideas when we started out and there have been plenty of lessons learnt along the way,” says Gill, adding that one of the first ventures was to attempt to have wool products available wool fabric, developed with AWI-funded research, is sourced from Macquarie Textiles at Albury. It is made into vests and blankets in Albury and Melbourne and marketed through the Natural Instinct website, field days and corporate door-knocking. Natural Instinct vests are now worn by the staff of large organisations, including Rabobank and Elders, and many of the natural resource management groups, such as Catchment Management Authorities. While individual orders regularly come in, it is the bulk corporate orders that keep the business ticking, Gill says. The Natural Instinct range has expanded to include baby blankets and pillow covers made from the same fabric as the vests, and scarves made from pure wool shirting fabric, which are often ordered with logos for corporate gifts or conferences. Having come across a wool felt hat bought overseas, Gill developed an Australian bushman-style hat made of 100 per cent wool with a Melbourne manufacturer. Gill now sees the gill taylor with a range of natural instinct blankets, vests and scarves. old “ Wearing Wool is all about safety. i hate to think of families sitting around a campfire Wearing acrylic polar fleece – it burns in an instant. We’ve forgotten the value of Wearing Wool in the bush, or Wool When you Work.” – gill taylor as commemorative garments during the Rugby World Cup. The group quickly learnt their first lesson: for official endorsement on a large scale, and for such events, the product’s attractiveness is all about low price. Wool did not fit the bill. There were other ideas, such as processing the Pooginook client clip as a whole and marketing it through the value chain – again, it came down to volume and guaranteed supply. “What we really wanted to market was an innovative fabric – to show what wool can do – and at that stage the polar fleece vest was taking off and it’s an ideal product to be made from wool,” Gill says. The marketing strengths of Natural Instinct as environmental factors, both as an investment in a sustainably produced garment that will last a lifetime and the health properties of wearing wool. “People don’t understand the value of wearing clothing which allows your body to breathe and that’s a fundamental we have to promote widely,” she says. “Wearing wool is all about safety. I hate to think of families sitting around a campfire wearing acrylic polar fleece – it burns in an instant. We’ve forgotten the value of wearing wool in the bush, or wool when you work. “Selling wool is not only about science; it’s about emotion, and people need to feel wonderful about buying wool.” More information: Natural Instinct Wool Company, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.naturalinstinctwool.com
February March 2009
June August 2009