Exploring new and supportive ways to be more sustainable both in our personal and professional lives is an important responsibility of our generation, and as a business owner this is doubled.
When I first set out to create an exclusive and unique delivery style for In The Country, I knew I wanted to offer a luxurious, out of the ordinary touch which hadn’t yet been tried and so the signature tissue paper, confetti and twine gift-wrapping was introduced, finished with our bespoke wooden hearts. But, how environmentally and economically considerate was this really?
Our ITC Wooden Hearts are made by a local, independent and family-run artisan company Manta Makes who I am proud to be able to support throughout the year.
However, our tissue paper, jute-twine and confetti are all ‘pretty standard’ and are sourced via wholesalers, partly in the early stages to keep the costs down. However, I am always on the look out for ways to increase our levels of sustainability as a brand, from bio-degradable paper, tissue paper and confetti, to this latest collaboration.
I was flicking through another magazine I read regularly and came across Twool.
Based in Devon, Twool uses ‘the lustre long wool’ from rare-breed Whitefaced Dartmoor sheep to create super sustainable products, which to my delight includes a versatile 100% twool yarn which is the much more eco-friendly British alternative to jute which we have been using up until now.
British wool is a hugely underused natural material, something which Twool along with hundreds of British farmers are campaigning to change. Since 2010, founder Kim Stead has been committed to sustainability, social value, British wool and also British Heritage manufacturing. This commitment, dedication and passion has resulted in a sustainable range of products made with care and thought for the environment. As Kim puts it, “Treading lighter in the world has never been more important than it is today.”
Wool is produced in abundance here in the UK, but as mentioned before is sorely underused. Using the rare breed Whiteface Dartmoor wool to create twool products, promotes and protects one of Britain’s ancient breeds of sheep. The breed are indigenous to Dartmoor and have been grazing the land since Saxon Times. I was delighted to hear of Countryfile’s Adam Henson’s support for Kim and her trailblazing business when interviewing him for a piece on the importance of preserving rare breeds for Winter’s edition. He is passionate about the need for British farmers to ‘give these rare breeds a purpose’ and Kim is doing just that with twool.
Bringing twool products to market, however, meant overcoming a series of challenges. Having a ready supply of wool was a step in the right direction but, finding the right process to manufacture it in the UK wasn’t easy. “We have lost so much of our textile industry here in the UK, the heart of the industry still remains in Yorkshire, but mills have had to adapt as our demand for finer wool imports increases, this makes processing British wool even more difficult,” explains Kim when exploring a possibility of partnership on Winter’s edition.
“Our wool is collected at source from farmers who practise regenerative agriculture. Good land management promotes the environment and protects birds, insect’s flora and fauna, rotational grazing promotes higher growth rates in grass and increases the organic matter of the soil which in turn captures more carbon.” Kim goes on to explain.
Through collaboration with British heritage manufacturers each of these obstacles have been overcome, thanks to a blossoming relationship between people with unique skill sets – from Dartmoor farmers to spinners and weavers in Yorkshire, everyone has an important role to play in the creation of twool.
“Our hope is that twool will be a modern day thread, linking sheep and wool in a commercial marketplace and be a potential life-line for this rare breed sheep.” Shares Kim.
I am thrilled to be able to offer my support in helping to tell the story of twool, raise awareness for the work and the breed but to support British farmers by swapping our unethical jute-twine, with this incredible, British and sustainable ‘twool Naked twine’ to add the finishing touches to our Winter magazines. Made from Dartmoor wool and a blend of British wool, the naked twine is entirely manufactured in the UK.
Kim’s and twool’s incredible creations don’t stop there no, there is also a collection of fantastic dog leads, collars, homewares and gifts! To view the collection and support British small business and farmers, follow Twool on Instagram by searching @thisistwool click here or ‘like’ twool on Facebook by searching This Is Twool. Keep your eye out for Twool in the Winter edition of In The Country too, as well as on the packaging!
Until next time…
Lots of love,