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April 02, 2019 3 min read

To give context to this I need to quickly tell the story of how we started McIntyre. After taking a year off our fashion industry jobs and working on my father’s sheep farm what really surprised Raquel and I was the way that the wool was sold. After shearing the wool was baled up and sent to the closest capital city to be sold at auction, the sale is handled by an agent and the buyers are generally Chinese or Italian Mills who come to buy up big amounts of wool.

Now, this may not seem that surprising to some but I can tell you that that year when we were 350ks away from Melbourne on the farm and we got an email saying that the wool had been sold its something that had a real impact on both Raquel and I as we felt so disconnected and we couldn’t help but imagine where our wool was going and what it would eventually turn into!  

This disconnect between the farmer and the companies who are processing and designing products with the the wool seemed amazing to us and really got us thinking about how we could start a label that could join these dots together and make great products with Merino wool.

So, armed with this desire to make a change to the industry and to be known as THE Merino wool brand in Australia we started McIntyre.

After reviewing where we could make the products, we chose to make them locally in Australia for a number of reasons.

  1. Supply. Australian produces 345 million kilos of Merino wool each year so there certainly isn’t any shortage of the raw product here. (https://www.woolmark.com/about-wool/woolgrowers/where-wool-comes-from/)
  2. Quality. The factories that are left in Australia (trust me there is not many!) are here because they make great stuff and are good people. This is important for us and our customers.
  3. Efficiency. The ability to go and visit the factories that are making your products once or twice per week is a huge advantage. This means we can work through issues, co-design products together and avoid delays and costs associated with shipping samples around the globe.
  4. Ethical. Being so close to our factories means we can ensure that they follow our ethical standards. This includes reasonable pay for employees, safe working conditions, and overall
  5. Flexibility. Being small the factories we work with don’t mind if we do small scale runs. This means we can do more innovative products, and trial things as we don’t need to commit to huge quantities.

We are now in our 4th season and we continue to make all garments in Australia. For the moment, we are not able to trace our wool back to our family farm ‘Glenoe’. It gets a bit complicated as to why, but basically it comes down to needing to increase our quantities, finding the right suppliers and funding. We are very hopefully that in the near future we will be able to make some (or all of) of our collection with wool from our property, but for now, we are sourcing ‘Australian Merino’ from our yarn supplier and I can assure the quality is second to none.  

Working with small scale local factories does have its disadvantages like the fact that production time is slower, and our factories are not at the forefront of innovation, however for us the benefits far outweigh the negatives and we work within the boundaries of what they can make to produce really great quality products.  

We are proud to say that when you buy a McIntyre product you can be sure that the wool was grown by Aussie farmers and that it was knitted, linked and finished here in Australia.

McIntyre

Australian grown, Australian made.

Written by Founder Ned Scholfield  


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