Let’s start with you…
We want you to be active, enjoy the great outdoors and achieve your adventurous goals. For that you need clothes that help you perform well and support you in the best possible way (not get too hot, or too cold or too smelly etc. and you can read about all of that here).
However, for you to enjoy the great outdoors there needs to be an outdoors that is enjoyable and not polluted or in any way endangered. Fashion and the textile industry as well as how we use and take care of our garments are a major contributor to harming the environment. So, if we want to support you and if we want to protect the environment, we need to create high performing sustainable garments. And this is where our third passion comes in: Wool.
Merino wool is nature’s technical fibre and is durable, long-lasting and renewable making it the best choice of fibre for your outdoor adventures and for our planet.
And that is why we do what we do at Core Merino bringing all of our passions together.
Our Humble Stumble Beginnings
Most wool brands similar to ours have these compelling founder stories of a truly inspirational athlete who fell in love with wool and started a merino wool company. At Core Merino, we love these type of founding stories as we think we need more athletes who totally dig wool and toot and shout out about wool to all the people they can reach. Selling a brand like Core Merino would be indeed a little easier if we also had this type of a story, but that just ain’t so. Core Merino started out a little bit differently.
As you may know, Core Merino is a brand owned by the company BKB. BKB is South Africa’s largest wool broker handling the majority of South African woolgrowers’ wool clip. Over the years BKB also developed into other businesses including grain, sugar, and real estate. However, BKB’s big love for wool always has and always will continue.
In 2011, a group of BKB staff members observed two things: a dominance of synthetic fibres in the sport and outdoor apparel industry as well as the success of international merino wool companies who promoted, for example, New Zealand or Australian merino wool. Knowing the high quality of South African merino wool and seeing a gap in the market of a South African merino wool apparel brand, BKB started its own merino wool apparel brand called Core Merino. The only issue was, BKB knew everything there is to know about wool but very little about running an apparel retail brand. This meant that Core Merino had high-quality merino wool products for which we tried out different strategies and tactics to find the right spot in the market for our products.
When we were discussing internally our brand and our founding story we were thinking for one second if we could just shave off our beginnings and just tell it as it is now. But then we realised that maybe there is something to be learned from our story.
Isn’t the zig-zag, the stumbling, and the trial and error just how life in general and business in particular is? When does something start out perfectly in life? When are we not faced with adversity or making the wrong decisions and going back to square one?
For example, when we start out training for a marathon, it takes some time for us to find the right training schedule or we may have some weeks when we don’t get to train enough, get injured, or demotivated. In order for us to achieve our ambitious goals, we need to push through these difficult times and learn from our errors until we succeed.
That’s our story and part of our core which has made us stronger and helps us succeed in reaching our goals of serving you and the environment.
A Note From Our Brand Development Manager
While my journey with Core Merino truly began in 2018, I still feel as though it began a few years prior on my first trip to South Africa in 2014, which would be my first encounter with a brand I would in just 4 years time take the helm of. I can still vividly recall my first trip as a young graduate student experiencing the spirit of the African continent for the first time. As I boarded the plane home, I knew that this would not be my last time in this incredible country.
Over the next few years, I would begin to notice a void. Rarely would I find South African wool touted by brands in the same way that others might see Australian, New Zealand, British and even U.S. wool marketed as the key fibre in a number of active outdoors inspired products. I also noticed a lack of understanding of how Merino could be more than just a base layer worn on the ski slopes, especially in warmer climates. So, when the opportunity arose to rectify this I ignored my lack of experience in a country I had spent no more than 30 days in and set out to build a brand that would open people’s eyes to the incredible versatility that South African Merino wool has to offer.
Watching the brand grow and evolve and engaging with our ever-growing customer base makes everyday just as exciting as the day before. From our modest beginnings, we hope you continue with us on our journey to create the very best South African Merino products in the world while upholding a commitment to our communities and the environment.