It’s an easy equation: super-happy sheep = best quality fibre = kitten-soft Smalls = a luxurious snug, stylish difference you can feel next to your skin!
But how do we find those superhappy, healthy sheep? Easy: they’re the ones with a high ZQ!
ZQ is the world’s leading wool brand. It comes with certification standards requiring producers adhere to a higher code of practice; one that is ethical, sustainable and traceable: the ZQ Grower Standard.
Covering key categories (animal welfare/health, fibre quality, social responsibility, care for the environment and programme management), it means sheep enjoy the best possible quality of life and produce the finest quality wool. It’s also aimed at improving conditions for the growers themselves - and the planet.
To ensure your Smalls are of the finest possible softness and quality, we only work with producers who’ve earned ZQ certification. This means they care for their sheep in accordance with five freedoms:
Freedom from thirst and hunger
ZQ sheep always have access to clean water and are allowed to forage freely with access to good nutrition.
Freedom to live naturally
ZQ sheep are free to act naturally, roaming across vast open pastures, with loads of space (although they do prefer to stick with their mates!).
Freedom from discomfort
Although the sheep can survive and thrive in varying – often extreme – conditions, ZQ growers go further to protect sheep from distress and ensure they have adequate shade and shelter available at all times.
Freedom from distress
Whenever they handle the sheep, growers must avoid inflicting any unnecessary stress and pain. For example, ‘mulesing’ – a painful procedure used to prevent flystrike disease - is banned on ZQ farms. Farm facilities are also to be properly maintained to avoid risk of injury to the sheep.
Freedom from disease
Growers are to regularly monitor their flocks for any health issues. Many growers have sheep farming in their DNA, so this knowhow has often been honed and passed down through generations.
So wherever ZQ sheep are grazing freely – in our case it’s the high country hills of New Zealand (but they could be in the outback of Australia, on the plains of South Africa or the mountainous terrain of South America) – we know that they are being treated well, being fed well, living natural and healthy lives.
And in return, we get the most gorgeous wool so you can luxuriate in the softest, most durable Smalls next to your skin this autumn…