Clothing line ties in family, farming

Jono and Sarah Reed model hoodies and beanies made from merino wool. PHOTO: SUPPLIED BY SARAH REED
Jono and Sarah Reed model hoodies and beanies made from merino wool. PHOTO: SUPPLIED BY SARAH REED
Faced with the realities of rural isolation, Sarah Reed has created her own clothing line.

The former nurse and mother of three launched "The Grumpy Merino" line of clothing in June after a little lockdown soul-searching.

"At the end of Covid, I was at the point where I needed something else to focus on. I needed a new identity."

Mrs Reed believed rural women needed to find something to sink their teeth into.

"It’s really hard with little kids and being isolated. You kind of lose yourself, but you’ve got to get your swagger out."

Mrs Reed farms at The Grampians, near Culverden, with husband Jono and his parents, Graham and Anne Reed, running 5500 merino sheep and 400 head of Angus cattle.

"Life has got a lot more intensive. I probably didn’t realise that, but when you’re working on an online platform you’ve got to be really active, so it takes a lot of time.

"It’s made life pretty busy, but it’s what I wanted."

The family was already supplying merino wool to Norwegian company Devold, which is passionate about traceability by labelling garments to identify where the wool comes from.

"The traceability factor is becoming more important to consumers and sustainability is becoming a big factor," Mrs Reed said.

"You want to wear garments that are going to keep being made.

"Wool has such amazing properties so we just need to keep promoting it."

Many of the garments sold by The Grumpy Merino were labelled to say the wool came from The Grampians.

"It depends on what’s available at the time. But it’s all made from merino wool from New Zealand growers, if we can," Mrs Reed said.

Living on the farm was a world away from her career as a nurse, where Mrs Reed worked in paediatrics.

After having three children, the commute was no longer practical, she said.

"That’s the good thing about this job. It works in with family life and it’s flexible and it’s diversifying off our farm business.

"It’s giving me my spot in our operation. All we have to do is produce our wool and send it off and then I order what I want.

"Essentially I’m the retailer for Devold of Norway, but finishing our supply chain for our wool."

"The Grumpy Merino" is a combination of The Grampians and Graham Reed’s nickname of "Stumpy".

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