Brotherly business all about wool

KAROLIN MACGREGOR

April 20, 2018 12:00am

A LIFELONG passion for wool has seen brothers Robert and Alistair Calvert join forces to set up their own wool-marketing and brokerage business. Wool Solutions kicked off this week, giving Tasmanian woolgrowers another option when selling their wool. The brothers have worked for some of the state’s largest brokers but said now was the time to do something different.

“Rob and I have both been involved in the wool industry for a long time,” Alistair said.

“We’ve both had the feeling we’d like to try and give a little bit more back to the industry in Tassie through a model that is transparent and drives value for farmers on farm.”

Rob said that while their own business did bring some challenges, both were feeling very positive about the move.

“If we treated our roles as a job and just worked nine to five it probably would have been easier to stay employed.

“But we’ve been in this industry for life as have previous generations, so we’re very committed to it. If we want to actually drive outcomes for Tassie wool growers, we’ve got to run our own ship,” he said.

While the business is based in Launceston, the wool will be sold in Melbourne. Alistair said Melbourne was a hub for the industry and having wool in the hot spot would ensure opportunities for buyers and in turn the best prices. Rob said they had engaged a specialist logistics provider.

“They run a very lean and mean set-up, so we will pay a per bale handling fee whether we send one bale or 50,000 bales. That means we won’t be having to absorb a big fixed cost base,” he said.

The business can consolidate smaller lots if needed, while larger straight clip lots will go directly to Melbourne. They will also claim Freight Equalisation Scheme rebates on the wool sent to Melbourne. A focus will be linking buyers and brands that have specific requirements with produ-cers who can provide them with the right type of wool.

“It’s something that I personally feel very passionate about and something that Rob and I agree is a way forward for our industry,” Alistair said.

“We have so many fantastic attributes in Tassie we need to leverage off. It’s not going to be all of our wool but the wool that does end up in programs helps lift the profile of every bale Tassie produces.

“We feel like we’re agile enough to do that so it will be really personalised for both the grower and end user.”