The Australian cricket team jumpers now feature South Australian wool.
Manufacturer Silver Fleece started using pure South Australian Merino wool this year to differentiate the brand from international competition in an attempt to stay financially viable. About five Merino wool producers from the southern Flinders Ranges area are servicing the Adelaide company, which also makes school uniforms for about 300 schools across the country.
Owner Cathy Barton said in the past five years she had noticed a significant market share of garment manufacturing had shifted to Asia. “A lot of big companies started taking over school shops and all their products came from offshore and everyone loses,” Mrs Barton said. “We have had a significant drop in sales because, while we had built good relationships with customers, these big companies offered cheaper deals.”
She said with the help of Adelaide wool processor Michell Wool, Silver Fleece found a group of farmers to promote the industry and improve her company’s image to attract more customers. “We’ve always used Australian wool but now we’re focusing on South Australia and the great wool this state produces,” she said.
“These farmers are very ethical in the way they do their farming and the way they treat their animals is sustainable.
“If we can make a better story about what we are giving to our customers we can seek to improve the state of manufacturing in Australia.”
Mrs Barton said a positive image for the 50-year-old brand was important.