For over 30 years, Merino Country has been a leading Australian manufacturer of Merino wool clothing and underwear, with a range of comfortable, durable and brightly-coloured products that are naturally suitable for all Aussies.
In the early 1990s in Queensland, severe drought and low wool prices were causing many hardships for rural communities and farmers and it was difficult to find wool products in retail outlets, as easy-care synthetics dominated the market. In response to these difficulties, Merino Country founder, Kerrie Richards established her business in 1993 in the shearer’s quarters on her family’s sheep and cattle station,”Clareborough”, in North West Queensland. Inspired to promote the benefits of wool and wool products to others and to give consumers access to Merino for everyday wear, Kerrie went on to attend multiple agricultural shows and field days, coordinate the Queensland Festival of Wool, and act as a sponsor, judge and mentor to young designers at the Brisbane, Sydney & Melbourne Royal Show Wool Parades and Australian Wool Awards.
Using her knowledge and experience with Merino wool, Kerrie and her husband Malcolm developed a “user-friendly” Merino wool jersey fabric that is comfortable, machine-washable and suitable for both hot and cold climates. In 1997 Merino Country opened their shop in Paddington, Brisbane, where it began selling Australian Merino designs.
Merino Country has continued to champion the health-beneficial properties of Merino woollen clothing and underwear to the Australian market. Wundies is its range of 100% Australian wool underwear, renowned for their comfort, durability and solution for skin conditions such as eczema, chaffing, chemo burns and sweating. The company also developed the Baa Bra – specifically designed for breast cancer patients who have sensitive skin and benefit greatly from the comfort of these natural fibre undergarments.
To ensure a high standard of quality and comfort in each product that goes out their doors, the Merino Country team works closely with their local woolgrowers, processers and manufacturers. Kerrie Richards said she is extremely proud to be celebrating 30 years of manufacturing in Australia. “All our garments are made in-house in our factory in Queensland, by our fabulous team who has been with us for many years. It’s great to have the manufacturing right here, where we can have precise specifications for the locally-grown raw wool, the yarn types and the fabric construction,” Kerrie said.
“We think it’s important that we make our products here in Australia, not only to maintain the high quality of our products, but also to support local jobs, industry, and the community as a whole. Our products aren’t just clothes – they’re Australian Merino products that make people’s lives more comfortable. It’s gratifying to know that we’re helping customers with skin conditions or who are going through medical treatment – helping them to travel comfortably, work safely, or just feel good every day. Everyone has a story and we are very privileged to be a part of those stories with our clothing and underwear.”
Manufacturing in Queensland has meant that Merino Country can respond quickly to market demands, including the development of face masks during the pandemic. In January 2020, Kerrie received a request from Dr Dimity Dornan from the Hear and Say Foundation for a natural, reusable mask for her grandson who had allergies. After working on the design with Dr John Fraser and the University of Queensland, Merino Country launched its 3 Layer Merino face mask, doubling their workforce in the process as demand skyrocketed.
“Our ability to think outside of the box means that our designs are not only innovative and stylish, but also super functional,” Kerrie said. “This has earnt us several government contracts, including Merino Thermals supplied to the Victoria Police, Border Control, Antarctic Division and the Australian Defence Force.”
“We’re very proud to make our quality Merino products here in Queensland. Manufacturing locally is not only important for local jobs, but also to encourage innovation and bolster our skills in Australia. Being able to carry the Australian Made logo on our products really sets us apart from other clothing companies who have gone offshore to manufacture. The logo speaks to the quality of our products, and lets customers know that we are passionate about supporting local people and local communities,” Kerrie said.
“As one of the first companies to promote and sell easy-care, everyday wearable Australian Merino clothing and underwear, we’ve always been at the forefront of new products and making them accessible to customers. We’re proud to support the community and promote all the benefits of Merino wool around the country!”
Find out more about Merino Country’s Australian Made products at their website: www.merinocountry.com