By Guest Blogger: Valerie Smith with contributions by Claire Attkisson
Yuglet is a woman-owned outdoor clothing start-up— born from a heritage and love for Shetland wool and inspired by the adaptability and character of the companies namesake, Scotland’s yuglet sheep. Yuglet’s mission is to support Shetland Island crofters and British Isles centuries old sustainable farming communities by creating superior hi-tech wool fleece for the outdoor enthusiast market.
Yuglet Needs Your Help
As a start-up, Yuglet is looking for outdoor enthusiasts to test their products. If you are an avid outdoor adventurer or a weekend warrior and would like to be chosen to test Yuglet products, follow @yugletoutdoadventure and then send an email to email@example.com describing why in one paragraph you would be a great product tester.
But first, read on and understand what sets Yuglet apart and their commitment to people and the planet…
Yuglet Founder, Valerie Smith is from a family of sixth generation Scottish woollen manufacturers. She remembers learning to roller skate between the mills spinning frames on the smooth concrete floors. “You could go really fast as long as you didn’t get wool tangled round your wheels!” Smith is a product developer, textile designer and colourist. She has a special affinity with Shetland Island and when she heard the island was being deeply affected by COVID-19, she decided to put her knowledge and innovative thinking into a new business to benefit the people and ecology of Shetland as well as the sheep — and Yuglet was born.
Smith takes her lead from the Shetland Yuglet sheep to design a unique modern outdoor fleece using a centuries old natural fabric. Turns out, the Yuglet sheep, a so called primitive species, has survived for eons for good reason. The Yuglet’s survival is partly due to their adaptability and ability to keep warm in bitter cold. They graze on poor pasture on high cliffs close to the sea, and thrive in cold, wet temperatures during the winter months. They can conserve energy by retaining as much body heat as possible because of the quality of their fine wool.
This is why Shetland sheep wool is the central fibre used to make Yuglet’s modern high tech outdoor garments. They use a special process that retains and enhances the fibre, creating a far superior warmth to any other wool on the market. For technical and novice outdoor adventurists alike, warmth is key.
Why the world needs Yuglet. Now.
Synthetic clothing mostly comes from oil wells and is not biodegradable. Worse still, synthetic fibers crumble into small pieces that last for ages and wind up in all sorts of places it doesn’t belong, including inside our foods, oceans, mountains and more.
There are real concerns about the methane emissions caused by the global sheep industry. Wool farmers are experimenting with gut vaccines that inhibit gut organisms, and can thus reduce the animals’ methane emissions by up to 20 percent.
However, sheep do eat plants and store carbon in their wool – up to 50% of the weight of wool is pure organic carbon.
And some wool producers are using new dying procedures that might allow for the fabric to be treated at lower temperatures—a small measure, perhaps, but one that reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent.
Overall environmental benefits of wool over synthetics:
- Wool products have long lifespans, meaning they are used or worn longer than other textile fibre products
- Wool textile products tend to be washed less frequently at lower temperatures which has a lower impact on the environment
- Wool is readily recyclable: with a market share of 1,3% of all textile fibres, wool claims 5% within the recycled fibres market share!
- Wool biodegrades readily on land and in water – as a protein-based fibre, wool does not contribute to microplastic pollution
Yuglet wool is ethically sourced and sustainably made
Scottish Shetland Sheep are an indigenous breed to the British Isles. Often used for conservation grazing, this gentle system helps to increase and maintain biodiversity of natural grasslands. They are never intensively farmed, but instead are cared for by local crofters to subsidise their incomes. Wool is completely natural and biodegradable, and our ranchers love the land that supports their own families as well as their animals. Yugelt sheep are purely grass -fed and make use of land (cliffs!) that other crops can’t be grown on.
Yuglet’s tradition and expertise
Yuglet sources its woollen from a family business near Lerwick, Shetland. Since 1893—six generations—this same family has exported their fine woollen goods all over the world. Together, they have created a special blended wool that when spun, gives the Yuglet outdoor clothing line its unique finish and ‘handle’ to knitted fleece. Smith brings her love and taste in colour to this collaboration and has successfully produced gorgeous new colours. According to Smith: “we chose this mill because we know they understand what we mean when we say ‘Yuglet’.
Benefits of Yuglet Wool
Strong and durable, the unique finish works the fibers together so that your garment will last for longer and can be worn for longer too. It’s naturally breathable and resists perspiration. Perfect for your outdoor eco-adventure.
There are many synthetic technical materials on the market which fail to match the wicking performance of wool. And if its cold and you are exerting yourself, sweat can condense on the inside of your ‘technical’ outer shell.
None of these problems exist with wool — snow, light rain, drippy woods and very often heavy rain and sleet, can be completely ignored when worn as a breathable mid layer or extreme outer layer.
Made in Scotland
Home to some of the finest wool fibre in the world, our mill is in Lerwick on the Shetland Isles, north of Scotland and 4000 400 miles (643 km) south of the Arctic circle. There is nowhere quite like it.
Wear Yuglet anywhere
Whether you’re outside in the wild exploring or hunkered down in a mountain cabin, wearing a Yuglet makes you feel protected, warm and cosy no matter where you are. Wear Yuglet even in rain. Wool can keep you warm, even when wet. Woolen garments can hold and hide up to 60% of their weight in water before they even begin to feel wet. Each individual wool fiber can absorb – internally — 35% of its weight in water. This 35% weight gain is trapped within the complex internal structure of each fiber where it cannot touch the wearer. But also, because of the physical shape of woolen fiber, the rough surface of the fibers and their crimp (kinkiness), additional water – 25% of the weight of the garment — can be contained between the fibers that comprise the yarns from which our garments are woven. Fine wool fibers used in Yuglet clothing, not only feel softer against the skin but they absorb a higher percentage of its own weight in water before feeling wet.
Durable and comfortable
Made with super soft wool, you’ll enjoy wearing the Yuglet fleece. The thinnest wool fibers will bend when in contact with the skin, resulting in a wonderfully soft and silky feel. Yuglet wool fleece is both tough and weather-resistant but still soft and comfortable on the skin. It’s made to be worn and to last generations. Yuglet is. bringing back the idea of clothing as a family heirloom to be passed down to the generation.
Wool Wicks like Crazy
Wool picks up the water vapor that is the first stage of perspiration. When perspiration vapor condenses on the skin people tend to notice it. But it doesn’t start as liquid, the body first emits vapor. Wool was designed by nature to capture that vapor, and in a very real sense this is better than wicking because the perspiration disappears even before it condenses into water/sweat and becomes noticeable or can make you cold.
Wear it your way
We make our Yuglet as a generous unisex fit. The sleeves are designed with a ‘turn back cuff option’ on most styles, so you can wear it as you like in your own style.
Repairable by design
Every Yuglet garment is made with care to produce high quality finishes. With increased durability the Yuglet garment will last for longer and can be handed down to the next generation as many Scottish have done before. We know from historical records that woollen garments of fisherman and crofters became family heirlooms.
Wool is odor-absorbant, naturally
This odor-absorption trait also makes wool valuable for clothing because wool can be worn for extended periods without becoming odorous. Wool will absorb, internally, the compounds that create the smell people recognize as body odour.
Perfecting their fleece products
Yuglet is doing extensive testing on how wool reacts during certain wash processes. It has taken a lot of trial and error to get the surface looking and functioning as they want it: To create a hi-tech (think natural Gortex, but better) garment with a soft ‘handle’ to touch. The research phase been very technical in order to understand the structure of the wool follicle and what changes during wash conditions.
Where Yuglet is now
Right now Yuglet is working on colour combinations and styling. They are in close communications with their mills about production. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 disruption the mill in Shetland is working in-line with Government restrictions and Shetland is currently closed to visitors. If anything, Yuglet’s commitment to building their business model has been fired up by the great need for support coming from Shetland’s people and the island they love.
Join the Sustainable Wool Movement
As we stated earlier, Yuglet is looking for people to help them start off right. Follow yuglet: @yugletoutdoadventure and send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and share (in one paragraph) why YOU make a great tester of their beautiful hi-tech woollen fleece. Best of luck.
Thank you, Valerie Smith, for this informative and inspiring guest blog!
—Claire of Live Creative Studio
Live Creative is a sustainable business, marketing, and shopping hub. Our Creative Studio offers authentic marketing, branding, and sustainable business expertise to ethical, sustainable, and purpose brands. And Sustainable Business Team offers sustainability strategy and goals setting as well as sustainable packaging services. And, our Lifestyle Team curates our global Sustainable Marketplace, the Durango Sustainable Biz Guide, and Get Real—our inspiring Innovation for Good weekly newsletter. Follow us on Insta: @livecreativestudios, like us on Facebook: Live Creative Studio and join our FB Group: Sustainable Business Idea Exchange.