Greenfleece Fiber Mill, LLC
One of the most significant recent trends in agriculture is the increased popularity of local foods. These trends are part of a growing movement of consumers interested in “lifestyles of health and sustainability” (LOHAS). This movement has the potential to likewise significantly impact the market for fibers and create new opportunities for fiber producers.
This project focuses on identifying market opportunities for products that appeal to LOHAS consumers that are made using wool batting sourced from fiber provided by northeastern wool growers. Wool is warm, but breathable. As compared to synthetic materials, it is a natural product from a renewable source that is also non-allergenic, with fire retardant properties.
Promoting the sale of products made with wool batting will generate revenue for farmers and suppliers, thereby enhancing the sustainability of the sheep industry in the region and nationwide. It will also allow consumers to enjoy the benefits offered by products made with natural wool.
1) Increase income of sheep farmers by increasing demand and prices paid for northeastern wool. This will improve the long-term sustainability of northeastern sheep farms.
2) Generate additional sales opportunities for Greenfleece Fiber Mill, Mid-States Wool Cooperative, and for manufacturers and distributors of products using northeastern wool, thus strengthening the supply chain for these fiber products.
3) Through educational outreach, encourage northeastern sheep farmers to make available more and better quantity wool.
4) Allow consumers to enjoy the benefits of quality wool products.
Description of efforts – Anticipated results
1) Identify products well-suited for using wool batting made from courser, lower quality fibers typical of wool from northeast farms and secure sales agreements to supply manufacturers of these products. This will generate revenue for wool processors and product manufacturers, and increase the demand for northeastern wool.
2) Work with Mid-States to source fiber that meets manufacturer specifications from northeastern producers. This will increase farm incomes.
3) Coordinate marketing with manufacturers to help promote these products. This will include a website, social media marketing, branding and focus on farms that produce fiber used in these products. This will promote the benefits of wool, especially wool from northeastern wool growers.
4) Conduct marketing outreach to northeastern wool growers to educate them on market opportunities for supplying wool and on specifications required of their wool to satisfy these opportunities. Also, work with farms to create opportunities to sell batting direct to consumers for pillows, quilts, etc. These efforts will increase the quality and quantity of available wool.
Greenfleece Fiber Mill
Period 2/2/16 – 6/17/16
During this period significant progress was made in developing a promotional effort for wool batting products.
1. Consultant Jennifer Wilkerson of Aurora Design, working with the project team members, developed a new brand and logo for wool batting called Cozy Up Cozy Up, tagline: Wool Batting, Natural Fiber for Your Comfort, was developed through a deliberative process to convey the attributed of wool batting products as described in the brief. Jennifer will continue to assist in developing a Cozy Up label to go with products containing wool batting (which will direct consumers to the Cozy Up website) and she will also assist in the development of the website presentation.
2. Consultant Nick Viscio of NJ Viscio Films completed video shoots at Kyle Farm in Avon, NY, Greenfleece Fiber Mill, Cece’s Wool store and Herkimer ARC in Herkimer, NY. Nick will proceed in editing over 12 hours of footage into 3 videos, of 2 to 3 minutes each to depict the ‘story’ of wool batting from a Northeastern farm through to pillow products. Clips from the video have already been used for a video submission by Cece’s Wool for a FedEx grant (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a84QkXlIImQ). Cece’s Wool received over 1000 votes in support.
3. Hubshout of Rochester, NY has drafted a new website for Greenfleece and the Cozy Up brand which will be the home for the Cozy Up brand to educate consumers on the benefits of wool batting products via the videos, Cozy Up products and Cozy Up partner manufacturer and farms.
4. Greenfleece has identified a sales and product development consultant to support the Cozy Up brand in getting more manufacturers interested in using wool batting from northeastern farms in their products and assisting those manufacturers by promoting wool batting among consumers of natural products.