THINGS have been getting woolly in Wyalkatchem lately after local girl Mikahla Wells finally weaved the beginnings of her business Lana Vello together.
Ms Wells is from a family farming background and while she "loves the farm" and expects to be involved in farming throughout her life she wanted to take a different tangent for a while and do her "own thing".
After attending boarding school in Perth, she "pushed on to university, not really knowing what I really wanted to do in the way of a career".
"I dived into a Bachelor of Science majoring in Zoology, because of my passion for animals, hoping it would lead somewhere," Ms Wells said.
"I enjoyed the practical side of my degree, trudging through the genetics units and probably not getting into the full uni life - only visiting the tavern once - but I still left proud of my achievement and still with not much of an idea of what I wanted to do."
After uni she moved back and forth from the country as opportunities arose and ended up buying "a run down house at an auction and a dog,and really loved being back in that sort of environment and close to my family in Wyalkatchem".
Ms Wells' "own thing" started in 2018 when she decided she would like to design fashionable activewear from Australian Merino wool - a product she was familiar with from her childhood on the farm.
She wrote on her online blog in March that "this was the perfect way to tie my passions of sport and exercise and farming and couldn't have come at a more appropriate time as I was going crazy not knowing exactly what I wanted to do with my life!"
After 18 months of research - looking into materials and manufacturers, locally and internationally - she finally found a company in Hong Kong called Aussco, which had "the equipment and experience to make this style of clothing with Australian Merino wool".
The first shipment of clothing arrived from the manufacturers in July and she has been actively promoting it since then - even attending the Avon Valley Toyota Field Days in the Shire of Northam.
"I went to create some exposure and I sold some garments and got some followers to my social media pages," Ms Wells said.
She hopes to be able to attend the Yerecoin Markets in November and Make Smoking History Wagin Woolorama next year.
"I've heard they have great turnouts at Yerecoin and Wagin would be awesome in terms of exposure," Ms Wells said.
As with all businesses these days Lana Vello can be found online via her website as well as on social media.
Visitors to the site can see Ms Wells doing her own modelling due to COVID-19 impacting her plans for an official launch and a proper model to showcase the range - not that anyone would know.
She said the product range was a "cross mix of suitable stylish fitness wear that has good breathability and odour control as well as offering UV protection, to name a few benefits".
This budding entrepreneur wanted to produce sustainable fashion that was biodegradable and eco-friendly.
"I wanted it to be comfortable and beautiful to wear in a leisure setting," Ms Wells said.
She draws inspiration from the natural environment in Australia and wanted to have all the garments made locally, but in the end that became unrealistic as it was "too hard" to find a local manufacturer.
Her first collection of athleisure wear includes leggings, tank tops and T-shirts.
On the website it states that the clothing is made with an "Australian Merino Wool blend and inspired by the extensive red dirt roads and crisp clear night skies of regional Australia, this collection was designed to be the basics everyone needs".
The Merino wool is blended with tencel - which is also a natural fibre.
"Lana Vello is a platform to take regional Australia to those that already love it, those who haven't yet experienced it and those that wish they were a part of it," Ms Wells said.
"Traditionally wool was used to keep you warm, but did you know Australian Merino wool is an active fibre and can adapt to your body temperature?
"This means not only does it keep you warm when it is cold, but it will keep you cool when it is hot.
"It is also a fabric which is 100 per cent natural, renewable and biodegradable, ticking the big boxes of the environmentalists out there, including myself."
Ms Wells is not mucking around when it comes to introducing new products to her range.
A second line is expected to arrive from the manufacturers before Christmas or early in the new year.
She is also working on "a different line up including bike shorts, a crop top and a muscle tank for the ladies".
There are plans to introduce men's wear but not until later.
"Eventually I would love to be able to buy local farmers' wool for the products and one day have my own mob of sheep to supply the wool for the garments so there is complete traceability," she said.
"I hope I have the magical moment one day of seeing someone wearing Lana Vello at a shopping centre or running laps and I hope they don't mind if I chase them for a photo like a crazed fan."