Sustainable products that benefits upland farmers
British carpet manufacturer, Wools of Cumbria Carpets, have launched a range of luxury wool carpets from the wool of the rare and distinctive sheep found on the fells of Cumbria and the Yorkshire Dales.
A fair deal for upland farmers
The business grew from a successful yarn spinning project set up to find a good use for the wool from Herdwick sheep; a rare breed found in the Lake District. “The textile industry had shunned the characteristic dark wool in favour of softer and paler fleeces to meet the ‘neutral’ demands of interior designers,” said John. “This meant that a Herdwick fleece was essentially worthless at auction. Many farmers chose to burn their fleeces because the cost of transporting them to the auction market was greater than the money they could make from their sale. We wanted to show that the hard-wearing Herdwick wool could be blended into a soft and beautiful carpet.”
The popular Herdwick ranges have recently been joined by Swaledale wool products and John has plans for other rare breed wools to be introduced later this year. John and Sally are passionate about helping preserve the traditional way of life of upland farmers in Cumbria and the Yorkshire Dales. A royalty of £0.25pence for every square metre of carpet sold from the ‘Graphite’ and ‘Colourwash’ ranges is paid to the respective Sheep Breeder’s Association to help local farmers continue their way of life for future generations.
A new way to buy carpet
Wools of Cumbria Carpets have taken the bold move to sell their carpets and rugs direct using their website. Customers choose the products and colours they like, and swatches are dispatched free of charge. The rationale behind this approach is based on a desire to offer competitive pricing on a luxury product and to be able to interact with customers throughout the carpet buying process.
John Barraclough, managing director of the firm explains: “Our carpets are made using traditional manufacturing methods and we are involved in every stage of the production. We wanted to extend that close involvement through the sales and fitting process to ensure all customers have a wonderful carpet-buying experience as part of their purchase.”
“This decision has been a great success. We find customers really like having a direct relationship with the manufacturer. Plus, we’re able to offer a really competitive price on a luxury product compared to buying from a retailer. “
Simple process to test and buy carpet
Wools of Cumbria Carpet have created a simple and enjoyable method for buying carpet. Colours and product descriptions are clearly displayed on the website www.wocc.co.uk. From here customers can arrange for swatches to be sent directly to their home at no cost or obligation.
“We normally find there is lots of discussion and interaction with our customers. When we speak directly we can offer advice and ideas to suit the particular situation or need. Once the customer is completely happy with our quotation and has finalised the selection, we arrange for one of our trained fitters to measure and eventually fit the carpet,” says John.
“We get many lovely letters from people who write to tell us how delighted they are with their new carpet. It’s not just a carpet. There’s a story behind the soft wool on their floor and they are involved in helping preserve the traditions of upland farming,” he added.
Pictures available on request
For further information on Wools of Cumbria Carpet, please visit www.wocc.co.uk
Or please telephone John on: +44 (0) 7979 640131. Email: