East Coast living has given me the need to revamp my wardrobe. I love finding the best new and functional base layers for the cold and brutal winter days. Wearing a thin base layer that functions allows me to dress up without the need for bulk and multiple layers.
DUCKWORTH is my go to company for this! It is so wonderful to have found a company that is passionate not only about their ranch but producing a sustainable product here in the USA. I am now committed to seeing this brand grow! I was so privileged to travel to Dillon, Montana for the annual shearing and get to experience it hands-on. Everyone at Helle Ranch were so welcoming and I have such a great appreciation of how Merino wool is made. And yes, the sheep are French, which made it all that much better.
Here is their story:
Duckworth is the worlds only “single-origin” merino wool company. We use Helle Rambouillet merino wool from our ranch in Dillon, Montana and manufacture everything 100% in the USA, carefully under our management. Duckworth has come together because of the volatile and non-transparent global merino wool market that is becoming more commoditized and uniform. Graham and I had developed 2 merino brands and worked with several of the largest wool producers in the world. When I discovered that some of the worlds best merino wool is grown in Montana I immediately contacted the ranchers to find out what they were doing with it. To my surprise they were selling the wool to brokers who used it to improve the common wools that are typically grown in the US, the majority going to the US military. The largest and best wool grower in the US is our partner John Helle, he is a fourth generation wool grower who has spent the last 30 years improving his sheep genetics for fine wool and growing his wool clip on the down low. By chance, luck or some strange coincidence he was waiting for the opportunity to use his wool in a product he could finally wear and be part of the process and to continue to develop his wool’s marketability to a premium global market.
The sheep that grow this incredible soft wool are called Rambouillet merino, they are descendants of the original 359 sheep that the King of Spain gave his cousin Louis XVI of France in 1786. This was the first time that Spain had allowed the merino sheep to be exported, since the sale of wool from the merino sheep was one of the key contributors to Spanish riches in the 13-1600’s. Without the merino sheep’s wool it is doubtful that Spain could have afforded much of its exploration of the new world. The sheep were then bred at the experiment station in Rambouillet France, hence Rambouillet merino is still their breed.
This bigger, stronger sheep can survive the extreme temperature swings of the northern rockies, -40 f winter and +100 f summers, the fine wool is very curvy to create more insulation against the skin.
This wool is amazing when used for our outdoor gear due to its softness loft and warmth. Of course we have developed several unique, and patent pending technical fabrics to be used by today’s most technical outdoorsmen.
There are endless historical references for how important wool is to humans, from the vikings to modern day surfers. Duckworth is in a unique position to have a direct connection to the source of the finest grown in North America and a technical supply chain in the US.