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CHB Mail - 2021-10-14

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Idea is shear brilliance

TUKI TALK

Gary Hamilton-Irvine

Sometimes the answer to a problem can be staring you right in the face. At least, that’s what Hawke’s Bay shearer Jovian Cummins found while knee-deep in merino wool. Cummins, 25, has come up with a bright business idea to make merino-wool jeans specifically for shearers and farmers, called Woolies Jeans, as opposed to traditional cotton jeans. “I got fed up with wearing hot, sweaty work pants all day,” he said, about his experience working in shearing sheds across the globe. “I thought how could I solve the problem and the answer was staring at me in the face every day — it was wool. “If it works the same for sheep, keeping them cool in hot environments and warm in cold environments, it should work for me.” The former Havelock North High School student has teamed up with two old school mates, Isaac Williams and Felix Watkins, to launch the business and the trio has released a crowdfunding campaign to financially kickstart Woolies Jeans. They are aiming to raise up to $500,000 which will allow them to manufacture and sell the product online. They also hope to set up a base in Hawke’s Bay in the future. “We are planning on releasing hopefully by next winter, mainly online and grow from there,” he said. “We will start with the New Zealand market and I think Australia will follow suit. There is a huge market out there, throughout the world.” He said during the early prototypes he received help from his mum, Jenifer Cummins, who is a teacher in Havelock North but has a background in fashion design. Jovian Cummins has since teamed up with a designer in Auckland to make the product market-ready. He said he had received good feedback from friends who had worn the first pairs of Woolies Jeans, including a farmer working in extremely rough conditions. “He took them out in the snow and said they were awesome.” A pair of Woolies will likely set you back about $250 when they go to market. “I think that is quite reasonable.” He said if you walk into farming shops and look around, you can find quality work pants for that price, or even more expensive. Cummins said they would benefit more than just farmers and shearers, including a range of people such as hikers and hunters. You can invest in Woolies Jeans and find out more by clicking here or by going to pledgeme.co.nz and searching Woolies Jeans. Cummins said people can invest a minimum of $250.

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