The American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) participated in a roundtable event at The Running Event - the premier conference and expo for running specialty retailers, in Austin, Texas. The seven-year-old trade show is designated one of the 50 fastest-growing trade shows in America with more than 300 exhibitors participating, drawing about 800 retail buyers from throughout the United States and the rest of the world.
Sponsored by SmartWool, the educational session Apparel Technology: Selling the Newest Technical Performance Fiber for the Running Market took retailers through the science behind wool products and why it is a solution for consumers.
Ron Pope, Ph.D., ASI wool consultant, represented wool producers on the roundtable along with a retail representative and an athlete.
Pope succinctly walked through a year in the wool business from a producer's perspective and related how these activities are tied to wool quality. He emphasized to the retailers the fact that real people -- farmers and ranchers -- are responsible for this process. This is their way of life, their livelihood, their profession and their passion.
Sustainability was stressed with wool being produced as a result of natural resources -- grass, forbs and water. This is the fuel that drives the engine. Wool producers have pride in taking care of the land, animals and all the resources they are entrusted while providing a commodity that improves the lives of consumers they will never meet.