Synthetic products ‘kick in the guts’

Nenthorn farmer Georgie McGregor is passionate about highlighting innovative New Zealand...
Nenthorn farmer Georgie McGregor is passionate about highlighting innovative New Zealand companies that manufacture products using New Zealand wool. She is pictured with her children Belinda (2) Maggie (6) and Bertie (5). PHOTO: ALICE SCOTT
When it comes to supporting the New Zealand wool industry, East Otago sheep and beef farmer Georgie McGregor reckons there needs to be a new hashtag started for synthetic apparel: #senditback.

"The big farm retailers not only stock synthetic clothing and hats but they also run these promotions and send what is essentially a plastic bush shirt to us for buying a certain product in bulk.

"It’s one thing to stock this cheap synthetic product, but to give it away to farmers who are out there every day trying to make part of their living out of wool, well it’s a kick in the guts really.

"I just think we should all start sending back this plastic stuff they give us and make it their problem. If we don’t say anything, nothing will change," she said.

As well as working alongside her husband Duncan on the farm, Mrs McGregor has also been self-employed for the last 20 years running a landscape architecture business.

The move six years ago to the Nenthorn Valley and the arrival of three children made Mrs McGregor keen to slow down her work commitments.

"This year I have finally wound it all up. It’s time to move on and focus on family and things closer to home."

A cottage on the farm opened up a new income stream. Next season is shaping up to be very busy with more bookings than she had this time last year.

"New Zealanders are keen to get out and tick off adventures in their own backyard."

It was late one Saturday evening recently Mrs McGregor was on her phone in bed and researching New Zealand wool duvet inners.

"I wanted a new duvet for the cottage, to walk the walk so to speak, and showcase woollen products for our guests.

"I found out about a Dunedin company that manufactures these wool duvets and I thought wow, if I am a conscious consumer of New Zealand wool products and even I don’t know this company existed, which is just over the hill from me, how on earth is anyone else in the general population ever going to find them?"

Late that night, before she had time to talk herself out of it, Mrs McGregor started a Facebook group called NZ Wool Products.

"There are a few social media platforms for wool out there, but a lot of the forums are bogged down by gripes about the cost of shearing and peoples’ issues with how little they are getting for their wool. We all know about that.

"I wanted to create a platform specifically just to showcase the innovative companies we have in our country that manufacture their products using New Zealand wool."

The response has been "awesome", gaining 2000 members in the first week.

"It’s basically just a directory of New Zealand wool products and I am very strict about that — otherwise all those products get lost in a newsfeed of questions and comments."

Mrs McGregor has faith that high volume demand for New Zealand strong wool will see its day.

"The benefits of wool are so superior to synthetic, we all know that. It’s crazy that it’s not in fashion.

"It’s just about educating people, generating a demand for it and making it easily available.

"It’s up to us to make it happen," she said.

- Alice Scott

Comments

Thanks so much ODT for helping get the word out. The link to the group for those interested is https://www.facebook.com/groups/586322445593009. Hope to see you all exploring the amazing NZ Wool Products available and next time your are given a synthetic freebie, please say no thanks!

Disgraceful that this government is dishing out billions to the provinces for pie in the sky projects.The tax payer money would have been better targeted at reopening the woollen mills. Why have the greens not been pushing this wonderful NATURAL product?