J S GerberSouth Africa’s economy is marked by an inequality in which part of the population lives a well-developed life in line with developed nations, and the rest of the country lives in extreme poverty. Innovative economic development is essential to reduce this inequality. International Wool Textile Organisation highlights one merino wool brand that is making great strides in creating jobs and uplifting communities, all while producing wool products of exceptional quality.

A Vertically Integrated Merino Wool Business

Founded in 2017, Gerber & Co. is a vertically integrated merino wool brand that covers the entire wool production and supply chain, from the business’s picturesque farm in South Africa’s Namaqualand region to the wardrobes of consumers around the world. The business owns merino sheep, which are shorn on which are shorn on site. The wool goes to be carded and dyed at a small knitting company in Cape Town.

According to the company’s founder, JS Gerber: “We are all about helping the local community to use their skills and making them feel part of a bigger story, our Gerber and Co story, from our farm to your back. From improving the lives of our farmworkers to helping our embroiders grow their business. Our 12-month plan is to set up our own washing and carding plant 120km from our farm, adding our bit to the nonpollution of the environment. Wool is 100% biodegradable and our offcut wool is used to plant fruits on our farm, improving the quality of the Namaqualand soil.”

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Wool, Jumpers And Other Products

Gerber & Co’s output includes a wide variety of wool-related products. It has its own line of apparel, including jumpers, shirts, jackets, hats and more. It also produces a line of lanolin-based products. 100% organic, Gerber’s lanolin is gently extracted from hand-sheared Namaqua Merino fleeces, and refined and stability-tested to the most exacting standards. From this natural product the company has developed a line of lanolin-based body creams. Gerber & Co. has also, more recently, branched out into selling other agricultural goods that popular in the region, such as olives and wines.

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