Woolmark takes centre stage in Vietnam with Merino Wool Awareness Day

17:48 | 25/06/2018

Woolmark has launched the Merino Wool Awareness Day to boost its footprint in Vietnam. John Roberts, general manager Eastern Hemisphere of The Woolmark Company, discussed about the firm’s strengths and future plans in the market amid growing demand.

woolmark takes centre stage in vietnam with merino wool awareness day
John Roberts, general manager for Eastern Hemisphere of The Woolmark Company

The Woolmark Company has been in Vietnam for five years. What is the purpose of Merino Wool Awareness Day launched on June 22?

Considering Vietnam a key emerging market, The Woolmark Company has been working here for five years, witnessing the country’s growing interest in the use of natural fibres and its potential for the production of quality wool products, as the country’s economic and social environment evolves.

We believe that Vietnamese consumers are now ready to buy such luxury products on the back of Vietnam's steady economic and pay growth.

The event highlighted the benefits of Merino wool and provides guidance on how to access and process the fibre in innovative ways in the future, as well as giving domestic companies an opportunity to showcase their wool products and connect with more than 80 supply chain brands in Vietnam.

Over the past five years, we have collaborated with 95 partners in Vietnam, including those in the textile and manufacturing industry. During this time, we helped them understand how to use wool and to integrate wool into their collections.

Most of our work has focused on supply chain development and manufacturing rather than consumers. But now we see Vietnam as more than just a place of cheap conversions. As the demand for high-quality products grows significantly, we are shifting focus towards consumers, retails, brand management, and designers in the future.

What is the competitive edge of Woolmark in the market?

Our competitors are other fibres. And the competitive edge of Woolmark lies in the properties of our wool. Australian Merino wool is the remarkable result of years of evolution. Its benefits include breathability, temperature regulation, softness and fineness, odour resistance, elasticity, UV protection, fire resistance, and versatility of use. Recently published research even shows the therapeutic power of superfine Merino wool for those suffering from the eczema. Especially, the wool has minimal impact on the environment.

The Woolmark Company is the global authority of Australian Merino wool. Through our extensive network of relationships spanning the international textile and fashion industries, we highlight the position of Australian wool as the ultimate natural fibre and premier ingredient in luxury apparel.

What is more, the Woolmark logo is one of the world’s most recognised and respected, providing assurance of the highest quality and representing pioneering excellence and innovation from farm to finished product.

As the global authority on Australian Merino wool, The Woolmark Company has been working towards developing a sustainable supply chain in Vietnam. We launched the ‘Out of Vietnam’ project in June 2012, aimed at developing new manufacturing supply chains for wool products, and we have now established collaborations with more than 80 partners in the country.

Our heritage in wool research and development together with Vietnam’s solid background in the textile industry make a perfect combination that promises high-quality and sustainable ‘Grown in Australia–Made in Vietnam’ wool products, as well as strengthening the partnership between the two economies.

What do you think about the potential consumption of Merino wool in Vietnam? What are your future plans in the country?

Having established a foothold in the market more than five years ago, The Woolmark Company considers Vietnam a highly valuable market thanks to the country’s political and social stability, established textile manufacturing infrastructure, the abundance of skilled and low-cost labour, as well as reliable water and electricity supply, and the country’s accessibility due to numerous free trade agreements and cross-border partnerships.

Australia produces 95 per cent of wool apparel globally, with China now consuming 80 per cent of Australia's wool. As an effort to reduce our dependence on that market, we would like to strengthen our presence in Vietnam market - not only in terms of manufacturing but also consumption.

Our plan in Vietnam begins with creating awareness. Because we cannot expect Vietnamese consumers to be ready to use and pay high price for the products without knowing the benefits. That is why we kicked off the awareness programme today.

We also plan to extend our cooperation with Vietnamese businesses. For small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), which accounts for large part of them, we have considerable working experience in many countries. It is not always about volume, but influence. We are very happy to partner up with enterprises, SMEs or not, to change people's perception about wool and drive demand.

Bich Thuy

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