IN A MOVE to Ballarat, Great Ocean Road Woollen Mill owners Isabel and Nick Renters could increase their yarn output four or five-fold and tap into wholesale market demand.
The pair are in the process of entirely relocating their ethical boutique yarn mill from their property near Timboon to newly purchased land on Remembrance Drive, before Burrumbeet.
Ms Renter said the plans were still subject to council approval but, on land zoned for farming, they aimed to bring the same operations from the south-west to Ballarat - just on a bigger scale.
A key part of this was showcasing the entire yarn making process from the paddock to spinning, kintted products and mill tours.
Great Ocean Road Woollen Mill is the only sustainable-focused, Australian made, yarn spinning business to be Ethical Clothing Certified.
"Most of our customer base is in Ballarat and Melbourne and it makes more sense to be closer, particularly on the expansion side of things," Ms Renters said.
"Where we are on the south-west coast is that little too far away."
The mill is leasing a shed in Delacombe with the aim to seriously start moving in January to the 22-acre property, complete with new spinning equipment from Italy
The Renters started Great Ocean Road Woollen Mill in Ecklin South in 2015 after seeking to make productive use of the fibre from their own alpacas. They started to create their own yarns on site, predominantly from Merino and alpaca wool sourced from farms in western Victoria, excepting linen.
Three years ago they started making knitwear.
The business has been fielding wholesale enquiries that they have been unable to meet under their existing operation size.
Great Ocean Road Woollen Mill has also continued to cultivate a large online following, bolstered by a strong knitting uptake in pandemic lockdowns the past two years.
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Ms Renters said knitting was good for mental health, because the process of knitting helped to take your mind off stressors.
"Certainly on the yarn side of things - all yarn shops have been busier because knitting has been something to do," Ms Renters said.
"Our followers are also conscientious about the processes and traceability. We're also very much about fair wages, for whoever is employed by us, and environmental aspects such as carbon emissions."
The mill has also relied on rainwater and a low phosphate detergent for washing alpaca, solar power and creating mostly natural colours in what the Renters say are sensible and sustainable practices.
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