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NZ Merino inks one year deal with US manufacturer Smart Wool to supply 600 tonnes NZ wool

YarnsandFibers News Bureau 2015-04-15 16:00:00 – New Zealand

The New Zealand Merino Company has inked an $8 million one-year deal to supply 600 tonnes of New Zealand fine and medium micron wool to US sock and apparel manufacturer SmartWool.

NZ Merino which markets the nation’s wool to customers on behalf of suppliers aims to boost sheep grower returns from wool through supply agreements with companies such as New Zealand outdoor clothing brand Icebreaker and Danish slipper manufacturer Glerups. The SmartWool supply contract continues an 18-year partnership which has been worth $150 million to NZ Merino growers.

NZ Merino chief executive John Brakenridge said that the SmartWool contract is testament that a new way of doing business can work in their commodity-based primary sector. It brings producers closer to end-users and that’s important in making sure they supply a premium offering. It means NZM growers get the best possible return.

Colorado-based SmartWool’s parent company, VF Corp, counts The North Face, Timberland and Vans among its global brands. SmartWool started as a ski sock brand in 1994 and has since diversified into performance and lifestyle apparel, selling products in 40 countries.

SmartWool’s customers were increasingly interested in the company’s ‘brand story’, particularly fibre that was accredited through NZ Merino’s ZQ programme which requires standards for animal welfare, environmental care and social sustainability, as well as the high quality of the wool. said SmartWool president Mark Satkiewicz.

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