Merits of merino plugged overseas
THOUSANDS of Russian children could be wrapped up snugly against harsh northern winters with Kiwi merino, if two sisters have their way. Amy Whetu and Becky Sharman are drawing on years of experience growing up on a Waikato sheep farm near Matamata to create their range of children’s clothes.
Since 2007 the sisters have produced long-sleeved T-shirts, trousers, hats, booties and blanket wraps made from merino sourced from Levin. Last month they added clothing for premature babies to their range.
Mention merino fibre and the pair start extolling its benefits such as regulating body temperature and its ability to withstand the rigours of active children.
‘‘It is absolutely the best thing for children,’’ Ms Whetu said. ‘‘Considering how often their chests get wet, with cotton the damp just stays there. With merino it is drawn away.’’
The business formed after they discovered a niche in the market for children between three and 10 years old but soon realised it came with its own challenges. The cost to produce the clothing was on a par with creating adult gear.
The small margins meant attempts to wholesale into stores were unsuccessful.
Last year they moved their stock entirely online.
Contacts with distribution agents in Russia, China and the Baltic countries could see their product shipped around the globe.
Ms Whetu said it was an exciting time to be pushing their product and educating offshore purchasers.
The duo will host a bush-bash tour for international visitors during the Rugby World Cup on their parents’ farm near Matamata to establish more business contacts.
Entrepreneurial mums: Becky Sharman, left, with Tabitha and Amy Whetu with Rodie are planning on taking their merino product to the world.