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Beyond the Bale : March 2011
March 2011 BEYOND THE BALE 13 OFF-FARM FAST FACTS l Woolmark licensees have enjoyed strong interest in their products at the world's largest interior textiles trade fair. l Broader micron and crossbred wool is used mainly in the interiors sector. l The trend towards natural and biodegradable fibres is creating opportunities for retailers to sell more wool products. Woolmark licensees that attended the 2011 Heimtextil international trade show for interior textiles have reported some of the strongest interest in their products for many years. Over 73,000 trade visitors from 136 countries attended the four-day trade show in Frankfurt, Germany. AWI and eight licensees exhibited in the Woolmark Wool Arena -- a hub where AWI and the licensees showcased to visitors the natural benefits of interior textile products made from wool. The interior textiles sector -- including bedding, carpets and furnishing -- supports woolgrowers whose clip is broader micron and crossbred wool. Jo Dawson, owner and CEO of international wool supplier H. Dawson, said customers to the show had shown a lot of interest in wool. These customers included those coming back to the fibre after a period away, as well as new customers that had never used wool before. "It's been a very good fair; we've had a lot of new interest. We've had many customers who have come to us wanting to buy products that are natural, renewable and sustainable -- and wool fits the bill. So we're very pleased and we're looking forward to developing these relationships in the coming months," Mr Dawson said. "While there are many wool producing countries, our prospects are all closely aligned to each other -- the common enemy is synthetics. "The Woolmark enables the wool industry to put out consistent marketing messages including the natural theme. The Woolmark also provides quality assurance and product policing which is really important." Barry Young, the owner of Australian company Jaspa Herington Pty Ltd, was equally buoyant that customers' growing interest in natural fibres will benefit sales. "This has been one of our better fairs for interest from potential clients -- we've had more interest in this show than the previous three, so we're pretty optimistic. Natural fibres are getting mentioned a lot by customers, so we'll continue to use as much natural fibre as possible," Mr Young said. "We use 100 per cent pure Australian wool. My belief is that Australian wool is the best in the world, so if we're going to make a product let's make it as good as we can possibly make it. "The Woolmark logo is important for us because it says to the customer that we're selling quality. With the strict testing that Woolmark does, the consumer knows that they're getting 100 per cent pure wool." Graeme Kerr, the managing director of Wool Products Australia Pty Ltd, which produces wool products under the Woolstar brand, said his company is experiencing more demand from international buyers rather than domestic buyers. "This is our fourth year at Hemtextil and we're finding this year is certainly better than last year. This year has been good because we've had a lot of enquiries from a range of countries -- such as Russia, Italy and Norway -- we haven't experienced this Demand for natural interior textiles Customers are going ga-ga for wool interior textile products. sort of enquiry before," Mr Kerr said. "We're experiencing a good demand on the international stage rather than in the domestic market. Australia seems to be very focused on product that is price driven, such as imported products out of China. Overseas markets are focused more on sustainable and traceable products -- and Australian wool certainly fits into that. "We have a lot of enquires about the Oeko-Tex® certified product, which we've been producing for the past three years. While there's been a very slow uptake in demand for it in Australia, there's certainly been demand for it internationally and that theme will continue." In addition to H. Dawson, Jaspa Herington and Wool Products Australia, the other Woolmark licensees exhibiting in the Woolmark Wool Arena at Heimtextil this year were Baur Vliesstoffe, DBCwool, Hey- Sign, Protex and Van Riel. More information: View interviews with Jo Dawson, Barry Young and Graeme Kerr on the Woolmark channel on YouTube at www.youtube.com/woolmarkonline http://heimtextil.messefrankfurt.com www.wool.com/interiors www.hdawson.com www.jaspa.net.au www.woolstar.com.au