Behind every problem is an opportunity in disguise. This mentality is central to Finisterre and the way we build product, so when we discovered that there were issues with our year’s yield of premium Bowmont Merino wool, the first question was, where’s the opportunity here?
Baabuk + Finisterre: New challenge, traditional solution
For the uninitiated, the Bowmont Project represents the pinnacle of our wool offering, working closely with Lesley Prior who took on the last 28 Bowmont sheep in the UK in the hope of creating a true British Merino breed.
After over a decade of hard graft refining the genetics, Lesley has not only grown the flock to over 300 sheep, she was also recently awarded the coveted status of being the only certified superfine merino wool grower in the UK.
The Bowmont flock, roaming the fields...
... whilst Yves from Baabuk shows Lesley the finished product.
Suffice it to say, we prize this merino wool highly, using it to create our coveted Bowmont Jumpers – which usually sell out in days. But last year presented new challenges. Due to covid restrictions, the farm was unable to source the shearers needed in time and the wool was left to grow longer than usual.
Unfortunately, once sheared, Lesley found the wool was not to her usual standards. It was full of VM (vegetable matter) that, even with intensive washing, would make it near impossible to spin.
Founder Tom, Lesley and Yves converse in the barn...
... and examine the superfine merino fibres.
Instead of a challenge, we saw opportunity.
Looking to our B Corp community, we struck up a conversation with the fine folks at Baabuk – inspired by their products, ethos, and deep expertise in wool felting. Using traditional techniques passed down through generations of Nepalese artisans, they were able to take the wool and felt it into a thick, durable and luxuriously soft fabric. Combined with a natural crepe rubber sole, the Bowmont Slipper was born.
...to luxury slipper.
We partnered with Baabuk because of their incredible depth of knowledge in wool felting, working with skilled Nepalese artisans whose practice of this craft can be traced back centuries. Over time, wool felting in Nepal has evolved to meet changing demands and trends and has had a profound impact on the communities who practise it. Felt-making cooperatives and workshops have emerged, empowering local communities, particularly women, by providing them with a sustainable source of income.
In 2015, Baabuk started investment in Kathmandu by constructing their own locally operated workshop and hiring a 80% ratio woman-staffed team. Since then, they’ve delivered thousands of units of felted shoes and accessories and fostered partnerships with like-minded business partners – a cohort we are proud to become a part of with this latest collaboration.