May 18, 2007
May 18, 2007 - "Wool Marketing through Design and Innovation" was the theme for the 76th International Wool Textile Organization (IWTO) Congress held this week in Edinburgh, Scotland. Much of the discussion among delegates at this year's congress focused on the need to improve demand for wool to ensure the survival of the industry.
One of the culminating events of this congress was the unveiling of the results of the two-year, multi-million dollar Test Marketing Project (TMP) that was carried out in two major U.S. retailers, Saks Fifth Avenue and Dillard's. The results of the project showed that sales increased by up to 12 percent, with a large part of the success being attributed to the education of retail staff.
International Fiber Center spokesman Barry White says the industry now wants to see marketing continue.
"I think everybody was very keen about not stopping here," said White. "I mean, it has developed some momentum, I think they've identified again the fact that there are segments in the market where we can really have an impact and a positive impact, and I think everybody wants to see this continue in the future."
At the 2005 congress, the decision was made to go forward with the TMP to test the degree to which consumer marketing can have a measurable positive impact on sales of wool products. The US$6.6 million project was a collaboration between Australian Wool Innovations, the IWTO and The Woolmark Company. The American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) participated via the IWTO with a small contribution to the program.
IWTO is the international body representing the interests of the world's wool-textile trade and industry. The membership covers all parts of the wool demand chain, from wool growers to the wool retailer. ASI is the official representative of the U.S. wool industry to the IWTO.