A note from an owner:
I started working at the Frankenmuth Woolen Mill in 1995 and there were so many things passed down from generation to generation because “That was how it was done.” As a new employee I did what I was taught and didn’t really think about it.
For instance, when we took in comforter launders and if they were very soiled we wrote a #3 in red marker on the tag. This way, the person who did the laundering knew to give that comforter extra attention and perhaps even pre-soak it overnight. One day I asked, “Why number three? What is number one and two?” No one knew the answer. It was just how it was done and it worked. We all knew what the red number three meant and that was fine.
As time went on and I became the manager and later owner with my husband Matt, we started to think differently. While ‘because that’s how it was done’ worked for 124 years, it doesn’t necessarily mean it can’t be improved upon. We made changes, we researched why we were doing things rather than just doing them. We got educated.
Society today is different. We want to know how things are done and why they are done in a certain way. We want transparency, and that’s a good thing.
One of the really interesting things about the Frankenmuth Woolen Mill is that, for over 124 years, we do (and have done) most everything in house and are almost a vertical company. We scour the wool, pick it clean and card it all in the same building, on much of the same machinery, since 1894. Then we make it into bedding stretching fabric and wool on old quilting frames. Some things don't need to evolve ~ some crafts are best doing it a certain way because "That's the way it's done."
The processing of our wool has always been very transparent and while we were confident we were turning out a great product, we felt our wool sourcing should be just as straightforward.
Previously we purchased our wool from brokers who could not verify exactly what farm the wool was from nor report on the ethical treatment of the animals. We needed to find something better.
Last year, one of our wholesale partners introduced us to a wool consortium called Fibershed which is located in California. We have been so lucky to be able to collaborate with Fibershed and be introduced to ranchers who believe in a Carbon Farm Plan with whom we share the same ethical business principles. Last week we were fortunate enough to be highlighted in a Fibershed blog about our new partnership. We are so excited to be part of this new movement of sustainable manufacturing.
To see our featured blog click here at Fibershed.com