24 Dec 2013

Wool, rice product developed

7:34 am on 24 December 2013

A Wellington company which has developed a new upholstery fabric blended from wool and rice straw is expecting to start commercial production next year.

The Formary, a textile design and development company, is proposing to use 70% New Zealand mid-micron wool and 30% rice straw in the fabric, which will be manufactured in China.

The Formary co-founder Bernadette Casey said manufacturing of commercial samples would start in China early next year, with full production by mid-year.

This month, she had been talking to furniture manufacturers and textile distributors in the United States, where there had been a lot of interest in the new fabric.

"We've already built some anticipation in the market for the product," Ms Casey said.

"Then we'll go back with the commercial samples and what we're hoping that this will do is reduce the lead time between launching the product into market and getting our first orders."

There was also interest in Europe, where The Formary introduced an upholstery fabric created from recycled jute fibre from coffee sacks blended with New Zealand wool.