Good news today. The British Wool Marketing Board yesterday sold its biggest volume of the year so far. Almost 2.5 million kilos went through the auction system at Bradford, 1 million of which was bought by one merchant – Curtis Wools for their own use. This is the largest weight of British wool ever bought at auction by one merchant for their own use and represents a real vote of confidence in the future.
I’m not an economist nor an expert in international trade but I do recognise a few basic facts. Wool is an international commodity traded around the world and we are not in control of the price it makes on the open market. As a consequence British farmers experience big variations in the price they receive for their wool. The auction yesterday I think (the price is not yet up on the BWMB website) will be slightly up on the previous auction.
So what can we do to keep things going in the right direction? Well, HRH Prince Charles recognised the need to help and founded The Campaign For Wool in 2010. His aim was to increase awareness of wool as the versatile, ultimate green fibre and so drive up demand. He gathered together some of the leading figures in the international world of wool (Processors and merchants such as Curtis Wools mentioned above, industry bodies such as BWMB and AWI (the Australian equivalent), Fashion and Interiors representatives ) under the expert Chairmanship of John Thorley and set about shouting the message, load and clear, that wool is incredible, wonderful and there to be used.
That message has been spread over Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand, China, Japan and S America with major exhibitions and events held in cities across the globe. Here in the UK there has been a whole string of happenings over the 2 years ranging from wrapping Harvey Nichols in wool to the Wool Train event I blogged about earlier.
All of these international and British events have aimed to do one thing – get maximum publicity out there to convert the as yet unconverted and to energise those who are already wool users/wearers. While it’s practically impossible to measure success, we (and I’m privileged enough to sit on the Council for the Campaign) are delighted with the massive publicity boost wool is receiving in all quarters and pretty sure that demand is going up as a consequence.
So, what can we do on our very small domestic scale? Well, with Christmas just around the corner, why not buy everyone on your list at least ONE wool item this year. It needn’t be expensive but do make sure it’s sheep wool and not Alpaca or something synthetic. A simple scarf, egg cosy, I Pad cover or, if you want to REALLY push the boat out there are plenty of posh, top of the range items to choose from.
I’ve bought wool for EVERY person on my list and knowing me, they would expect no less! While they are amused by this they are also made aware. I don’t care how much people smile as long as they realise, through the gift I’ve given them, just what they’ve been missing b by not wearing and using wool. If just half of them go out and buy something else made of wool then I’ve achieved my aim.
You might not wish to be as extreme as me but do think of wool when buying at least some of your gifts this year. Or of course, you could treat yourself! I’m sure you deserve it. I certainly do so guess what I’ve bought myself? A Bowmont jumper! What else!! Available from Finisterre if you too feel like pushing the boat (or the surf board!) out!