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Education key to put wool back in the home say manufacturers

Feb '10
Working alongside bedding and carpet manufacturing partners, Woolmark is marketing the merits of wool as part of a healthy home.

At Heimtextil, the world's largest home textile trade fair in Germany, Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) created a “wool arena” under the Woolmark banner, where eight Woolmark licensees exhibited their products and the natural benefits of sleeping, walking and sitting on wool. Additionally, the products of 13 other licensees from Asia and Europe were exhibited by AWI at the Woolmark Stand as part of selling the benefits of broader wool in the interiors sector.

The latest in wool blankets, underlays, doonas as well as new felted products such as cushions and bags were exposed to over 70,000 retail buyers and wholesalers from all over the world. The ability to machine-wash many of these products is a major point of interest to a significant number of European retail buyers.

Exhibiting at Heimtextil, Australian bedding manufacturer Jaspa Herington's managing director Barry Young said educating retailers and wholesalers about wool's naturally superior temperature and moisture control, anti-allergenic and anti-bacterial properties was very worthwhile.

'Europe and the United States bedding markets are like the Australian market some 20 years ago, when wool had very little market share, but I now see that changing with education. Once retailers see and feel the benefits of wool they don't look back. Wool now makes up about 50 per cent of the bedding market here in Australia because people know it outlasts and outperforms the competition.'

Belgian bedding wool specialist DBCwool's director Dominique Blandiaux agreed.

'Wool was in the air at Heimtextil. We were pleased to work with Woolmark and have received an increased level of enquiry from quilt producers wanting to know more about wool as a result.'

Increased interest in wool was also a theme from the Domotex floor covering expo, also held in Germany. Here Woolmark met with over 20 licensees from the Indian subcontinent, Belgium and the Netherlands to discuss further marketing and education opportunities.

'Broader micron wool still has a strong market presence in the Interior Textiles sector but ongoing retail and consumer education is required to continue to regain lost market share. We need to keep selling the messages about wool home textile products being naturally more durable, safer and more fire retardant, how wool is anti-static and naturally resists dirt and stains,' AWI product service manager Mahua Das added.

Australian Wool Innovation Limited

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