The regional startup six generations in the making

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A lifelong dream has become reality for a family from Wellington in Western NSW, with the launch of a collection of stunning Australian made, limited edition Merino scarves which can be traced right back to the flock on their farm.

The young business, LoveMerino, is the culmination of the hard work of 6 generations of Smiths who have lived and worked on their farm ‘Glenwood’ since 1898.

Co-founder, Pip Smith, said that she and her husband Norm had always wanted to develop a brand using their own super fine Merino to produce ultra-premium products for the Australian and global markets.

“Consumers around the world are becoming increasingly discerning about the ethical and sustainable aspects of fashion. They want to know where the product comes from, how it was produced and the story behind the brand. This has been virtually impossible with Merino wool…that is until now,” Pip said.

“We have an amazing story and want to share it with the world. ‘Glenwood’ is not just a farming business but a way of life as we aim to achieve a harmonious balance between the environment, animals, business and our family.”

“Our Merinos are grazed to mimic nature which has led to the re-emergence of unique species of native grasses thought to be extinct in this region. We are also looking to continuously improve animal welfare and ceased mulesing in 2005.”

our-animals_3_1024x1024LoveMerino has embraced the “slow fashion” ethos by working in small scale production with local Australian manufacturers, artists and design houses to produce limited edition pieces inspired by the land they love so much.

“Our ultimate goal is for LoveMerino to help re-invigorate Australian manufacturing and support the amazing designers, artisans and makers we have in this country.”

“We couldn’t be more excited to launch our first collection of luxury Merino scarves and want to build an inclusive community that share our passion for Merino and feel part of our family,” Pip added.

COLLABORATION

The family has chosen to partner with Australian Merino industry legend, Warwick Rolfe from Woolerina (Forbes, NSW) who processes Glenwood’s raw Merino into yarn and then oversees the machine knitting of the super soft fabric in Melbourne.

made-with-love_woolerina_5f093311-6512-4139-82b9-5d7eecb9138f_1024x1024Part of their vision for LoveMerino is to be able to support up-and-coming Australian designers. For their first range they have worked with Sydney-based Manuela Strano. Manny is a graphic designer and artist wearing many hats, working from branding and packaging to letterpress and watercolours.

made-with-love_manuela_1024x1024They are also working with Publisher Textiles (Leichhardt, NSW) a leading Sydney silk screen printing house established in 2002. Publisher Textiles use traditional methods to hand print their original designs onto the beautiful Merino fabric. Their designs are first put into repeat and then exposed onto a silkscreen with a metal frame. The fabric is printed in 20m lengths by two skilled screen printers who work in tandem down the length of the table.

made-with-love_publisher_e01f18de-9763-4a06-a0df-b5e858864d5b_1024x1024Finally, they are working closely with Shibori (Stanmore, NSW) a creative partnership between Pepa Martin and Karen Davis who use traditional methods of Japanese Shibori dying.

“We have worked closely with this dynamic duo to experiment with colour and pattern on Merino, creating original pieces each dyed individually by hand in Sydney.”

made-with-love_shibori_1024x1024THE FIRST COLLECTION

The first collection draws on inspiration from ‘Glenwood’ with illustrations of flora from the paddocks and homestead. Illustrated by Sydney-based artist Manuela Strano these designs are hand silk screen printed in Sydney by Publisher Textiles.

To compliment these graphic designs we have developed a range of individually hand dyed scarves in collaboration with Shibori, Sydney. Working in a seasonal colour palette these designs bleed softly with the Merino creating gentle tonal variations and patterns.

The range evokes feelings of accessible luxury with easy to wear colours which can be dressed up or down. The collection is limited to a release of only 50 of each style with a certificate accompanying each piece in its black LoveMerino gift box. The scarves are a generous 45 x 200 cm. Merino is trans-seasonal natural fibre which is soft against the skin.

LoveMerino’s first collection is available now exclusively through the company’s new website www.lovemerino.com.au

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Chloe Potvin
Chloe Potvin is a contributing small business writer for Kochie's Business Builders.

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