As the global authority on Merino wool, The Woolmark Company has been working towards developing a sustainable supply chain in Vietnam and expand its current manufacturing market by introducing Australian wool into the pipeline.
The Out of Vietnam project has garnered an overwhelming response since its launch in Hanoi in June 2012, and the project’s second phase was rolled out in Ho Chi Minh City in November last year.
“When we embarked on the Out of Vietnam project just one year ago, the original plan was to have 12 manufacturing partners on board by the end of June 2013,” The Woolmark Company’s general manager for product development and commercialisation Jimmy Jackson said. “But because of the keenness of the Vietnamese industry, today we have nearly 50 companies.
“These companies produce an array of different types of apparel products which include sweaters, socks, accessories, sportswear, underwear and quilted products.”
Mr Jackson, who recently returned from a trip to Vietnam with Australian Wool Innovation (The Woolmark Company’s parent company) chair Wal Merriman and board director David Webster, said when the project first started none of the partners knew anything about wool. But through workshops run by technicians from The Woolmark Company covering the production pipeline, and visits from a delegation of buyers, the Vietnamese manufacturers had their confidence boosted.
“We travelled to both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, delivering workshops on Easy Care Wool which focussed on garment washing and shrinkage prevention. We also visited a number of factories, which are using fairly modern equipment. All our partner knitters are using computerised electronic machines in a full range of gauges.
“Some of the companies are now capable of producing good quality apparel products made from Australian wool. Other companies need a bit more help to improve the quality in terms of hand feel and appearance, so we will continue to work with them on this matter.”
During the trip Mr Jackson, Mr Merriman and Mr Webster also visited the Vietnamese Government Department of Trade and Industry, where they had talks with deputy minister Mrs Ho Thi Kim Thoa. Mrs Thoa had already heard about the project and welcomed The Woolmark Company’s continued partnership to assist the Vietnamese industry produce more high value premium products made from Australian wool and to increase the demand for them.
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