Aussie wool in the big

15 Sep, 2006 08:45 PM

WOOL will be revamped in the US this week as part of The Woolmark Company's (TWC) test marketing project (TMP) to capture a new generation of wool consumers.

A new line of Australian extrafine Merino woollen garments has been revealed in the US as part of prestigious New York retailer Saks Fifth Avenue's 'Want It' campaign.

According to TWC executive director Brenda McGahan, it was an exciting time for wool in the US, an excitement not seen in more than a decade.

But Ms McGahan has reiterated throughout the TMP that the project would not be the silver bullet for Australian wool.

"If we want to get our growers a better price, we need to make sure it is available at the beginning of the consumer chain as premium fibre," she said.

"We need to work with the consumer and the retailer and that is the whole idea of the project."

The TMP has established a postcard-sized summary of Australian extrafine Merino wool to help US staff and consumers acquaint themselves with the virtues of wool.

Saks Fifth Avenue featured branded and private labels in womenswear this week, which is new territory for Australian wool.

Ms McGahan admitted woollen garments had not enjoyed a good relationship with US consumers in the past.

A significant amount of effort in the TMP was placed on making the US forget about wool perceptions in the past, through staff education.

"We found the way to get to people the fastest was to get them to think about wool the way they think about fine wine," Ms McGahan said.

TMP research found luxury and softness scores for wool lifted when the word fine was used and lifted more than 90pc when the words extrafine Merino wool was used.

Saks has led their campaign with their womenswear fashions featuring extrafine Merino wool.

According to Ms McGahan, the concept for the TMP was to lead with the best to sell the rest.

"We are trying to create pull-through for all the wool in the store," she said.

Fine and medium type wools were also used in Saks' woollen garments for this season.


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