Home > Updates > Nexia client spotlight: True Fleece Merino
Family-owned and operated True Fleece produces a wide range of sustainable, traceable and natural garments using ZQ Merino wool – the world’s highest-quality ethical wool.
We chatted with founder, owner and sheep farmer Carl Uren for a discussion about the world of sustainable fashion and how rethinking the way a business operates helped the brand thrive during the pandemic.
The True Fleece story began when Carl and his wife Victoria were trying to find a natural alternative to their children’s synthetic school uniforms. Unable to find anyone offering exactly what they were looking for, they took matters into their own hands.
“We didn’t want them to have to settle on synthetics like polar fleece, which are uncomfortable and bad for the environment, when there’s an amazing natural, warm comfy alternative like merino wool,” Carl said.
“We’d already made them merino dressing gowns to keep them warm when they were little, so we thought why not do the same thing for their uniforms.”
The children loved their new uniforms and soon other parents began to take notice, asking Carl and Victoria if they could make some for their kids. As word spread, the couple found themselves making uniforms for several local schools.
“We didn’t set out to start a business, we just wanted our kids to wear something comfortable and environmentally friendly. But when we saw the demand there was out there for our garments, we knew we were onto something and True Fleece was born,” Carl said.
That commitment to sustainability, quality, and local sourcing and production has remained consistent as the business has begun to branch out into new markets and products.
“For us, it was so important that we never compromised on our original vision. Whether it was those original dressing gowns we made or our newest collection of adventure lifestyle wear, we wanted to know exactly where the wool came from and the people involved in its production. That accountability is crucial to our business,” Carl said.
“We only use ZQ Merino wool, which is not only extremely high-quality, it’s also environmentally sustainable and produced with a focus on animal welfare. These are all values that were important to us as farmers and now we want to show people there’s a better way of producing clothing.”
Producing long-lasting and sustainable clothing isn’t cheap, however True Fleece manages to keep overheads down by maintaining a lean core workforce and bringing in trusted subcontractors when they’re needed. They also encourage their team to work flexible hours from their own home.
“We have young kids of our own, so we know how valuable spending time with them is. As much as we wanted to keep costs down by not needing a large workspace, it was equally important to us that our staff can maintain a good work life balance and aren’t stuck in peak hour traffic or being stuck to a rigid 9-5 schedule,” Carl added.
“This flexible arrangement put us in a strong position when the pandemic struck. While other businesses were scrambling to get their teams working from home, or shift to domestic supply chains, we’d already been doing that for almost a decade.”
True Fleece has seen a jump in sales over the past 12-months, as people look for other, more sustainable things to spend their money on now that international holidays are off the table, at least in the short to mid-term.
Carl says that the business is ready to take things to the next level and begin its exciting next chapter.
“We’ve been working very closely with Nexia on expanding our presence in the American market. They’re an integral part of our growth trajectory, helping with everything from strategy and budgeting, right through to introducing us to the right people over in the States.
“Nexia have been a part of the True Fleece story from day one, so it’s only fitting that they’re now by our side as we embark on this journey into the US market. I really don’t think we’d be where we are without their holistic support.”
As consumers become more aware of the impact their purchases have on the world, True Fleece and its ethical, environmentally friendly approach is proof that the model can work – and that’s something we should all take comfort in.
If you’re interested in finding out how we could help your business grow or expand internationally, please get in touch.