Skip to main content

Prince Charles, wool growers and carpet industry converge in new wool brand

On Tuesday, His Royal Highness Prince Charles announced a new international wool program directed at saving the sheep industry by promoting the attributes of wool to textile buyers, retailers and consumers. Next week you’ll hear about how that story dovetails with the floor covering industry when The International Design Guild (a division of CCA Global Partners) launches the Just Shorn™ brand of premium wool carpets the day before Surfaces (the U.S. international flooring show in Las Vegas).Just Shorn Logo

The two stories may appear to be only tangentially related but in fact there has been considerable cooperation behind the scenes to create a new focus on wool, a premium wool fiber brand and a new, branded marketing story to differentiate the fiber directed at retailers and consumers. In recent years wool fiber’s marketing story has been commoditized and overshadowed by synthetics. Next week that will change with the launch of the Just Shorn™ brand.

Last month I posted “Branding to Create Profit Opportunity” where I made the point that brands with a verifiable difference create profit opportunity while assuring the customer that they will receive what they want and expect. Here is a classic example. While working on the Just Shorn™ project over the last six months I learned to appreciate the significant differences in wools. There is such a thing as premium wool that meets standards for color, fiber length and thickness, resiliency and feel. Only premium New Zealand wool qualifies for the Just Shorn™ label and their Verifi TT™ textile tracking technology makes it possible to verify then certify for consumers that Just Shorn™ branded products are made with their high quality fiber. The marketing story is geared to help retailers and consumers understand the differences and benefits. This is a good example of branding to create profit opportunity and consumer confidence.

New Zealand SheepIt’s not often that a royal’s priorities and those of the flooring industry converge and to have the Prince's support is greatly appreciated. While the Prince’s goal may be to create more revenue for passionate wool growers, he and the Just Shorn™ program have created a great new opportunity in floor covering and the International Design Guild will be the first to capitalize on it. The British Wool Marketing Board will show Prince Charles’ Cambridge press event on video at their Surfaces booth starting at 4 pm next Tuesday. Their press release, Major Wool Campaign Launched by HRH The Prince of Wales, summarizes their story.

Prince Charles is a naturalist and protector of the environment. He stresses that wool is sustainable, renewable and biodegradable. Let me add, from a flooring perspective, that wool is a fabulous fiber for carpet. It is better for the environment and because wool prices are so low, it is the best value available in broadloom. While the ends of synthetic fibers elongate, look fuzzy and stringy under heavy traffic, wool carpet always looks fresh and new. That is because wool is like hair. The ends break off after years of heavy traffic creating a “new” fiber end that keeps the carpet looking new. That is why 100 year old Persian rugs can be worn almost to the back and yet still look great.

This all makes wool carpet a great value for the consumer - one that is also sustainable and environmentally friendly. With Just Shorn’s certified label they also get assurance of quality. This feels like a win for the sheep growers, the flooring industry and the consumer - it is surely an over-due development for a product whose time has come.

I’ll be at the IDG product launch and at the British Wool Press conference. I would love to see you there and hear what you think. If you can’t be there I’d still like to hear your thoughts.

Jim

Jim Gould, president and founder of the Floor Covering Institute
jgould@FloorCoveringInstitute.com

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Intelligent merchandising in the floor covering showroom

In a ceramic tile and stone showroom the two biggest challenges for customers are  visualizing how the tile or combination of tiles will look installed in the home and determining which tiles are suitable for their intended application. Figuring out how to address these two challenges should be a priority for every showroom.

Along with that, conveying the features, benefits and limitations of the products is the next challenge. And perhaps the most important piece of the showroom puzzle, is to train sales people so they are knowledgeable and competent showroom consultants (I wrote about this previously on the blog in, How Training and E-learning Can Improve ROI).

Years ago, when I was an importer and distributor with several showrooms I coined the term Intelligent Merchandising to represent the approach we developed to help our customers make selections and our sales people more effective in assisting our customers during the selection process. The challenges we faced back then …

Concrete Moisture Leading to Flooring Failures - Is this an Epidemic?

Sheet vinyl  lifting off concrete substrates that looks like blistered skin from a burn, wood flooring turning up at the edges, carpet tiles emitting foul odors from reactions with “wet” slabs.  All of these failures in floor covering occur daily around the country plaguing flooring contractors and end users.  Is this a flooring conspiracy or something more sinister?  Well, it’s not a conspiracy, nothing so colorful as that, and it’s not sinister unless you consider that moisture lurking in the substrates is skulking around waiting to pounce.

What are the reasons for this outbreak of flooring failures?  Have adhesives changed?  Is flooring material different?  Hasn’t concrete been the same for years?  Why is this all happening now?

Adhesives have changed from when solvent carriers were used but adhesives are actually better now.  Flooring products have changed with the onslaught of non-permeable backings which can trap moisture vapor emissions coming from concrete.  Concrete hasn’t ch…

Corporate culture; what does it say about your company?

Culture at a company (corporate culture) is generally developed through the actions of management.  Employees then follow their lead.  “The boss did it this way so it must be the right way.” I share this obvious observation because sometimes leaders do things that ultimately reflect poorly on the company.  This is particularly so during difficult times.


One of the benefits of working with dozens of companies outside the flooring industry is the opportunity to understand their corporate standards and culture by observation.  I recently spoke at a convention for a couple hundred people.  The food was acceptable as you would expect; but the room was dirty and hideous.  The company chose this room because it was the least expensive room available.  The room was so remote and old that most of us didn’t even know that wing of the well-known property existed.  We sat in a dirty room that communicated the company’s own low standards while the corporate president spoke glowingly about their c…