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Tasmanian Merino’s rebrand

Roberts state wool manager Alistair Calvert with woolgrower Roderic O’Connor.
Nanjing Night Net

WHEN creative genius Phil Dickinson of Some Ideas, London, applauded the rebranding of Tasmania Merino at the International Wool Textile Congress in Sydney, the mastermind behind the changes knew the region’s woolgrowers were onto a winner.

This month, a new way of marketing wool has hit the headlines and it controversially shuns the traditional ram’s head or yarn logo.

It encapsulates provenance marketing, but rather than pitching the Merino story to consumers, it promotes the luxury of the fibre.

“The Kiwi’s have done a lot over the past 10 to 15 years and I think the market is looking for another New Zealand, only better,” Roberts state wool manager Alistair Calvert said.

“I think we can provide everything NZ can, only fresher, more mystique and fully traceable.”

Roberts state wool manager Alistair Calvert with woolgrower Roderic O’Connor.

Tasmanian Merino was established 20 years-ago as a product assurance brand, however a recent rebranding aims to capitalise on traceability and value add through closer ties with the end user.

The idea behind the brand is to forecast supply and offer a Certificate of Authenticity, whereby the supply chain is monitored from purchase through to processing before it is stamped with the TM origin.

The move is looking to pay dividends, with a handful of clients looking to source Tasmanian Merino wool by December.

Mr Calvert said there had been a lot of change historically within the wool industry with the fibre changing from a commodity product to a niche, luxury one.

“The commodity approach is good to transact the product, but to look at longer-term sustainable prices, I think that we need to actually try and get closer to the end user and the consumer,” he said.

The realisation happened on a trip to Italy last April, when Mr Calvert heard from woollen manufacturers who wanted a point of difference in a competitive market.

Roberts has brokered about 65 per cent of the southern state’s wool clip for nearly two decades, or 40,000 bales annually, following the acquisition of Tasmanian wool broker Webster in 1998.

Mr Calvert said Roberts currently had the capacity to supply 24,000 wool bales to the TM brand, however hoped to represent all of Tasmania’s 14.5-21 micron wool.

“We are less than three per cent of Australia’s wool clip means we are rare – another desirable attribute,” he said.

The aim is to have the equivalent of 5000 bales going into fully traceable, value add programswithin three yearsand the majority of Tasmania’s merino clipwithin five years.

While Tasmania Merino has not included animal welfare standards in contracts, Mr Calvert said offering different status wool would be commercially driven.

“We don’t discriminate, but if the commercial reality suggests one type over another then we need to try and accommodate it,” he said.

The company has registered Natural Tasmanian Wool to represent the broader end of the State’s clip and Tasmanian Polwarth to fill the niche, Polwarth wool market.​

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.