The idea that you can trace the history of your rib-eye steak isn’t new, in fact ‘traceability’ or provenance as its sometimes known, is one of the fastest growing areas of the food industry. Premium food brands increasingly use provenance data to differentiate their products and climb the value chain. The idea of traceability however doesn’t just stop at the plate, it now extends into clothing.
The problem with the clothing industry is its moral bankruptcy. OK, maybe not all is bankrupt but a fair portion of it is. No one really cares where their clothing comes from as long as it looks good and its cheap. The clothing industry has one of the worst records of any industry, with water pollution, cheap labour and environmental destruction common place.
One company, Sheep Inc, is on a mission to connect people to their clothes in a very different way, changing the face of fashion while they are at it. Based in the UK, Sheep Inc will sell you a beautiful New Zealand merino jumper, but you’ll have to wait for it. Not because it takes a long time to knit, but because they want you to get to really get to know your sheep first.
Your Sheep Inc experience starts when you ‘adopt’ your New Zealand merino sheep, which could be living on one of two farms in Otago, New Zealand. You’ll get regular updates via email over the months (and possibly years) that follow, tracking every aspect of your sheep’s life – from paddock movements, to animal health treatments, shearing, mating and everything in between. You literally get to walk in your sheep’s hooves. And when then time comes – which it inevitably will – you get a beautiful New Zealand merino jumper with a story that’s very much your own.
To bring the Sheep Inc story to life, the team turned to FarmIQ who were able to provide the granular sheep-level data thanks to their comprehensive farm data recording system, which is operating on the farms selected by Sheep Inc to supply top quality merino wool. Chosen farmers use FarmIQ to capture everything happening on farm – from drenching to shearing via a simple phone app that all gets relayed back to Sheep Inc’s customers.
Edzard van der Wyck, co-founder of Sheep Inc says “it’s a very different way to look at fashion, but we’re committed to helping people understand where their clothes really come from and to building a deep bond between people and their clothes. We believe it’s only when people know where their clothes come from will they truly value them, and we think that’s a goal worth chasing.”
The fashion industry may be in a dark place, but there are pockets of light. Sheep Inc is doing something new and different and nothing would make us happier than seeing millions of adopted sheep merrily doing what sheep do right across New Zealand.
You can adopt your sheep here: https://sheepinc.com