Jerseys created using own Romneys’ wool

Esta and Tim Naylor hold their Romney lamb’s wool, which has been used to create the jerseys in...
Esta and Tim Naylor hold their Romney lamb’s wool, which has been used to create the jerseys in the background. PHOTO: SALLY RAE
You don’t get any more home-grown than Tim and Esta Naylor’s range of jerseys.

The enterprising young farming couple, who have a 400ha sheep and beef farm at Blackmount, in Southland, have launched McIvor Hill, a business creating jerseys from their Romney lamb’s wool.

It was Mrs Naylor who was looking for her next move once the youngest of the couple’s three children, aged now from 3 to 8, started to gain independence.

Their children had been fortunate to have two grandmothers who had knitted them jerseys, vests and hats from when they were newborn, and it got her thinking that there were not many wool jerseys to buy for adults, or children.

That began her journey into all things fashion, design and production and also provided the couple with an opportunity to do something proactive with their wool while strong-wool prices remained in the doldrums.

It took three years to get to this point, McIvor Hill launching a month ago and the first public outing at Southern Field Days last week.

Their wool is spun into yarn at Woolyarns in Wellington before returning south to Otago Knitwear in Dunedin, where the jerseys are made.

Asked what inspired her in the design phase, Mrs Naylor said she wanted colour and also to modernise woollen jerseys and to appeal to urban, as well as rural, customers.

When the first garments arrived, she admitted it was a little surreal and it was very cool to say that they had been made from their own wool.

The couple encouraged other strong-wool farmers to do something themselves with their wool, as it was good to do something new.

Mr Naylor, who comes from a farming background in Central Otago, worked in agronomy and rural banking before moving to Blackmount, those experiences proving beneficial when it came to the farming operation.

The couple had stuck with Romneys on the hill-country farm, sourcing rams from Blair and Sally Robertson’s Merrydowns stud at Waikoikoi. They were limited by the country on the property and Romneys did well for them, Mr Naylor said.


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