We realize that our (future) customers are paying their hard-earned money for Yooki garments. In return, you should expect from us the highest quality woolies that we can manufacture as well as some transparency about what goes into making our product. This blog is an installment in giving you a look “behind the scenes” of our budding operation.
When we started this venture many months ago, one of the first steps was to find a supplier for the wool yarn that would eventually become woolies. This sounds relatively simple, maybe a few hours on Google – but believe us, it was anything but!
We had three basic requirements of our supplier and their offering:
1) Fine merino wool that is safe, clean, and certified by a trusted 3rd party
2) Availability of “small” quantities to meet our needs for a variety of color options (side note: for many large suppliers who do millions of dollars in sales per year, it’s just not worth their time to talk to a small shop like ours)
3) A variety of yarn colors and / or custom color options
We identified a handful of suppliers that seemed to be a good fit and requested samples from each. All of the samples actually felt wonderful and we figured we’d have a tough decision to make – and maybe even some bargaining leverage to drive the price down (and the ability to offer even lower prices to our customers!).
But (there always seems to be a “but” when you have a new business and receive good news), things aren’t always what they initially appear. Since safety is our top priority, we conducted our own diligence regarding the safety certifications and chemical content claims from each of the suppliers. This involved requesting their certification numbers and verifying them with the certifiers like Oeko-Tex and others.
Sadly, we found that many of the suppliers who sent us samples had out-right altered, forged, or falsified their certificates and safety documents.
This was frustrating and disappointing to say the least, but a lesson in how careful we would need to be moving forward with all aspects of our supply chain. Our choices were limited, but we are happy to have found a yarn supplier that we can trust to meet our quality standards. (As a side note we were similarly diligent about finding our knitting workshop and plan to share that story in the future!)
We feel that our supplier’s higher cost is worth the assurance and quality that comes with it. The exact same yarn that is used to make Yooki garments is also used to make clothing for several high-fashion designers that charge up to $700 per piece. We’re happy to be able to offer our Yooki garments at a much lower price-point using the same materials.
Our wool has valid and up-to-date certifications that verify the safety and skin friendliness of our products. It has not undergone harsh chemical treatment, de-scaling, coating, or any other artificial modification to improve the hand feel or prevent pilling. This reduces the chemical content of the wool and the environmental impact of the treating process.
The super softness of our wool is completely attributed to the natural fineness of the merino wool, and knowing that helps us sleep well (our cat does too – he falls asleep each night on a Yooki wool blanket prototype).
A QUICK NOTE ABOUT PILLING….
In terms of pilling, no need to worry. Although our wool has not been treated with chemicals, it has undergone a special combing and twisting process that reduces pilling (a purely mechanical process that is chemical-free). That being said, any well-loved and well-worn knit is susceptible to some pilling or fuzziness.
Pilling is a natural process that occurs when loose surface fibers are exposed to a lot of friction creating tangles that are referred to as pills or bobbles (A common area susceptible to pilling would be on the butt of the woolies). A quick shave with a fabric/sweater shaver will quickly and easily restore the fine look of your favorite knits.
Photo of sweater shaving from Lee Anne Michayluk’s blog “Live Explore Enjoy”: https://liveexploreenjoy.wordpress.com/2013/09/28/refresh-your-sweaters-for-fall/