The New Zealand Merino Company (NZM) and Landcorp New Zealand have secured an exclusive deal with Danish footwear firm Glerups to use New Zealand strong wool in its products.
The two-year deal will see a total of more than 90 tonnes of strong wool, farmed on Landcorp New Zealand properties as Pāmu wool, exported to Denmark for production of Glerups indoor shoes. A further 90 tonnes of New Zealand finer mid-micron wool will also be shipped to Denmark as part of the deal.
Glerups indoor shoes are 100% pure and natural wool, sold throughout Denmark and exported to retailers in 20 countries. The shoes, renowned for comfort, warmth and durability, are popular in European markets with colder climates.
Gretchen Foster, NZM Marketing Manager, said the deal showed there were global niche market opportunities for quality New Zealand wool in high-value products. The key was differentiating New Zealand strong wool in the global marketplace.
“We know from our experience with fine wool that certain brands place huge value in product sourced from New Zealand farms. But we can’t be complacent in thinking that the New Zealand story alone will bring these deals in; we need to overlay this with benefits like accredited standards on farm, performance and eco validation and creative concepts to help brands sell.
“We’ll be replicating this approach with strong wool and plan on achieving similar levels of success. Key to this has been our three-year partnership with Landcorp. It means we can guarantee quality and integrity of the product and our customers can have total confidence in the consistency and standards of supply,” she said.
Glerups retail for $189 in New Zealand stores and the company sells approximately 150,000 pairs worldwide each year.
Directors Jesper Glerup Kristensen and Allan Timm visited New Zealand late last year to secure their supply. They were hosted by the entire value chain; New Zealand distributor Bill Carrig of Design Denmark, Chargeurs who process and export the wool, NZM and Landcorp.
“We never knew where our wool would come from before and because we are growing at 20% per year we needed some certainty that we could get the quality we need, at the right time. We are happy that our partners in New Zealand can do this. To have them all together working on making sure we get the best fibre is really a different approach,” said Mr Kristensen.
Landcorp New Zealand Chief Executive Steven Carden said that while Landcorp had always specialised in high-quality products, what had been missing was a connection with the market and tailoring production to those needs.
“This is our strategy in action. We are working towards more partnerships like this one, which is why we’re introducing a new brand for our high-quality, premium products. Our Pāmu brand is about forging partnerships and meeting the needs of our customers with quality, premium products of the highest integrity.”
The Glerups wool will be selected by NZM, processed in New Zealand by Chargeurs and exported directly to Glerups’ felting and production mill in Europe. Glerups are distributed in New Zealand by Design Denmark.
Strong, or “coarse”, wool has a wider fibre diameter (micron) than finer wools, making it most useful in the manufacture of upholstery fabric, heavy apparel and carpets. The natural characteristics of strong wool make items produced from it moisture and odour repellent, as well as exceptionally durable.