pencil dranw sample logos and monograms for Woolkind

The Woolkind Origin Story - What Inspired our Ethical Knitwear Brand.

The Beginning of an Ethical Knitwear Brand

Woolkind began with a desire to do fashion and business better.

During the pandemic, like many people, I spent far too much time online, and that led to making impulse purchases I came to regret.


Laurence and Jane standing next to each other
Jane and Laurence, Woolkind Founders


I distinctly remember buying a woollen sweater. It popped up in my Instagram feed – I liked the style and shape, and the price was very good. It came from a London-based brand that made all their products in the UK, and their reviews were all very positive. I took a leap of faith and made the purchase.

My Experience with Fast Fashion 

When the jacket arrived, I noticed immediately that the material felt funny and didn't appear to be wool. I looked at the garment tag – not only was this jacket made from polyester, it was not made in the UK! I was confused and frustrated, but more importantly, I was angry: angry that I had been misled into buying something of poor quality that was not made in line with my values as a consumer.

I returned it, on the grounds that it was not the product as described, and got a full refund.

A similar thing happened with bed sheets – this time it wasn’t so much of an impulse purchase and I had done lots of research into a particular brand, and they had so many positive reviews online. What could go wrong?!

When the bedding arrived, it was lovely and soft – then, after one wash, it had all bobbled! So I complained, and was assured by the store that my experience wasn’t typical, and they offered to send a replacement set. But, to my confusion, they didn't want the originals back… This was very odd to me and led me to think.

Why isn't Fast Fashion Sustainable?

These experiences and others led me to stop trusting brands — their false sustainability messaging, their false promises, and their cheap products. I soon realised there's a bigger issue underpinning this 

  • many retailers don't have any input into their products, never mind make them
  • they just act as marketing agents for manufacturers abroad,
  • and when you purchase their products they are sent directly from the manufacturer.

Dropshipping, as this is known, is a low-risk business model that has no care for the consumer – and the cost to the business of replacing an item is cheaper than them paying for the return postage of the faulty product. Like many people I had never heard of this approach and was not aware how prevalent it now is in the world of e-commerce. These practises do not adhere to a sustainable business model.

three people sitting on a bench wearing custom merino wool knitted scarves

A Sustainable Approach to Online Shopping

I started to second guess every aspect of my online shopping experience. How could I buy anything when I didn't know where it came from, what it was made of, or who was actually involved in the process?

So when my friend Jane and I went to dinner one evening, we found ourselves sharing this sense of dissatisfaction – and the conversation led to the possibility of us starting a new sustainable knitwear business.

I had always wanted to make knitwear, having knitted as a hobby for years, but now I also wanted to create a brand that people could really trust; a brand that didn't hide things, pretend, or mislead. A brand that was transparent in what it did, and was proud of making products that were high quality while doing as little harm as possible to people, animals, and the planet.

The initial concept behind our sustainable knitwear business was created.

What's Involved in Creating an Ethical Knitwear Brand?

Jane and I spent the next few months researching everything to do with knitwear manufacturing: the yarn, machines, and processes. We discussed what was important to us as individuals and what we wanted our business to stand for. We were both clear that inclusivity and sustainability were key to creating the most ethical brand we could. We became very aware of the issues with fast fashion and the harm it is doing to our planet and garment workers, and this led us to the idea of made-to-order, slow sustainable knitwear. 


a white man placing cones of merino wool yarn onto a knitting machine


More than a Logo - Injecting Ethics into the Branding. 

Once we had a clearer view of what we were going to do, we needed help creating the specific elements and visuals that bring a brand together. We also needed a name!

That's when we discovered Zebra Growth, an Edinburgh- and Lisbon-based marketing firm focused on helping impactful and regenerative businesses thrive. We knew quickly that their values aligned with ours, and they would understand our cause.

We worked with Zebra for a few months, as they took us through a series of workshops to help us understand what we were trying to achieve, our goals, and what was driving us deep down. All this information was used to create our name, our brand, and our strategy.

Woolkind was born.

If you're drawn to brands that focus on quality and want to do the right thing, then Woolkind is for you. We make beautifully made, sustainable knitwear for every body. There are no compromises here – and that’s a promise.

Our case study with Zebra can be found here.

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