GR Direct - Sony - Save up to £300 on selected Bravia OLED & LED TVs
Wednesday 29 May 2024
 12.7°C   ESE Gentle Breeze
Ocean Kinetics - The Engineering Experts

Business / Local wool still attracting good prices despite drop on mainland

Crofter Christine Laurenson shearing sheep. Jamieson and Smith buys Shetland wool from 700-plus local farmers and crofters. Photo: Hans J Marter/Shetland News

POOR wool prices on the mainland are not reflected locally, according to the manager of a local broker.

Jamieson and Smith’s Derek Goudie said the renowned Shetland wool is still attracting premium prices.

Shetland is not part of the British Wool Board, which gathers, grades and sells wool on behalf of around 35,000 UK sheep farmers, meaning the isles usually fare differently than the mainland.

Prices on the mainland for Scottish wool are said to have plummeted due to the rise of synthetic fibres and the impact the Covid pandemic has had on the hospitality sector, which often uses wool in carpets.

There were reports of some farmers even burning wool last year as the industry on the mainland stalled due to Covid.

Jamieson and Smith buys, grades and sells Shetland wool from 700-plus local farmers and crofters, giving them a source of income.

They deal with around 250,000 kilograms of wool a year – usually more than 80 per cent of what is clipped in Shetland – before passing it onto its parent company, the Bradford based Curtis Direct, where it then goes all over the world.

The business – which also sells its own yarn and knitwear – is based on Lerwick’s North Road, with its wool store often a hive of activity.

“In a lot of ways we’re pretty lucky that they [Curtis Direct] have such a strong interest and are keen on Shetland wool,” Goudie said.

“Our prices are kind of set with our parent company down in Bradford, but Shetland is a premium and we pay a premium price for a Shetland fleece.

“I think what you’re seeing on the news, it doesn’t really reflect what we’re doing.”

Grade one Shetland wool is up in price this year, and although grade three and four is down slightly, “it’s still a lot more than the mainland price”.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

 

“We’re pretty lucky we have two pretty good customers that buys a lot of wool for us, and pays a premium price for it being Shetland, so that helps,” Goudie added.

Those are luxury bed business Vispring, and yarn company West Yorkshire Spinners.

Jamieson and Smith have also seen an increase in demand for wool for knitting and crafts.

“I would say it is probably a bit of an increase with folk sitting at home, there’s a lot of folk taken up crafts again. That’s coming thick and fast,” Goudie said.

He added that wool prices in Shetland are a “lot better” than they were a decade ago.

“I’m been here maybe 15 year, and some of that wool [prices] when I started it was abysmal really – but we’ve put in a lot of effort over the last 10 or more years to promote it and increase sales,” Goudie said.

Out on the Westside Jamieson’s of Shetland in Sandness also takes in some wool from local crofters.

It operates the islands’ only commercial woollen mill, and creates Shetland yarn in five different weights and more than 400 colours, as well as knitwear.

In December the company said its sales of hand knitting yarns had increased steadily before lockdown accelerated demand to the point where its existing machinery struggled to cope.

Thanks to funding from Highlands and Enterprise Jamieson’s announced plans to increase capacity and productivity at the mill.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

Shetland News is asking its many readers to consider start paying for their dose of the latest local news delivered straight to their PC, tablet or mobile phone.

Journalism comes at a price and because that price is not being paid in today’s rapidly changing media world, most publishers - national and local - struggle financially despite very healthy audience figures.

Most online publishers have started charging for access to their websites, others have chosen a different route. Shetland News currently has  over 600 supporters  who are all making small voluntary financial contributions. All funds go towards covering our cost and improving the service further.

Your contribution will ensure Shetland News can: -

  • Bring you the headlines as they happen;
  • Stay editorially independent;
  • Give a voice to the community;
  • Grow site traffic further;
  • Research and publish more in-depth news, including more Shetland Lives features.

If you appreciate what we do and feel strongly about impartial local journalism, then please become a supporter of Shetland News by either making a single payment or monthly subscription.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.

 
Categories

Newsletters

Subscribe to a selection of different newsletters from Shetland News, varying from breaking news delivered on the minute, to a weekly round-up of the opinion posts. All delivered straight to your inbox.

Daily Briefing Newsletter Weekly Highlights Newsletter Opinion Newsletter Life in Shetland Newsletter

JavaScript Required

We're sorry, but Shetland News isn't fully functional without JavaScript enabled.
Head over to the help page for instructions on how to enable JavaScript on your browser.

Your Privacy

We use cookies on our site to improve your experience.
By using our service, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy.

Browser is out-of-date

Shetland News isn't fully functional with this version of .
Head over to the help page for instructions on updating your browser for more security, improved speed and the best overall experience on this site.

Interested in Notifications?

Get notifications from Shetland News for important and breaking news.
You can unsubscribe at any time.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

We're committed to ensuring everyone has equitable access to impartial, open and quality local journalism that benefits all residents.

By supporting Shetland News, you play a vital role in ensuring we remain a pivotal resource in supporting the community.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.