When Jessica Cross established Southdown Duvets 7 years ago, she totally under-estimated the ground swell of support and interest in wool as a medium for bedding – into duvets, pillows and mattress toppers.
“I grew up in South Africa and as a child learnt about the country’s proud tradition of raising Merino sheep specifically for their wool and the importance of this fleece as an export and earner of foreign exchange. It was only when I decided to go sheep farming myself, here in the UK, that I actually made the connection between wool and vastly improved sleep.”
“I have come to realise just how personal bedding is and how everyone is different. At Southdown Duvets we celebrate that uniqueness and that’s why I spend so much time with my customers establishing exactly their needs. For example, I will ask them about the severity of night sweats, any allergy issues (to dust mite) or asthma, their individual sleeping preferences and indeed that of their partners, the ambient temperature and conditions of their bedrooms and their current bedding so that we can come up with the best shot at settling our customers comfortably, night after night.”
Jessica makes sure her customers understand how the unique physical properties of the wool will benefit her customers. She points out that wool bedding will not prevent the common problem of regular night sweats. But the wool will greatly reduce the clamminess as it wicks moisture away from the body and from there it just evaporates through the duvet. This is quite unlike feathers/down or synthetic materials which trap the moisture around you, causing that clammy discomfort.
In addition, wool is hypo-allergenic, perfect for asthma sufferers or anyone with allergies to feathers or down. Wool bedding reduces the incidence of dust mites which can be a real problem for some customers. This is because in a good wool duvet, all traces of lanolin have been washed out of the fibre, rendering it of no interest to dust mites. And the fact that wool is naturally flame retardant is going to become increasingly important as health and safety and building regulations come under the spotlight.
And for those growing number of customers for whom provenance and ethical shopping is becoming more important, wool stacks up well against the notoriously cruel feather/down industry.
But why especially Southdown wool? Jessica explains it has a very short fibre which makes a light bouncy fluffy duvet with a particularly high warmth to weight ratio. Perfect like no other for bedding – not so good for knitting wool! Her wool is also 100% British and with Jessica’s close association with the Southdown Breeders in the UK, there is full traceability from sheep to sleep.
“Many of my customers say it’s literally an overnight revelation and appreciate the added advantages that wool offers. Our products do exactly as we claim but the most important consideration is our customer care. Southdown Duvets offer a full refund or exchange if a customer finds, for whatever reason, a wool duvet doesn’t suit them – no questions asked. Very occasionally someone just cannot get on with wool but it’s extremely rare. The reassurance that my customers can come back to me at any stage is central to my business philosophy and yes, customers do come back, but not to return a duvet! They come back for pillows, mattress toppers, throws – in short, a full selection of our lovely woolly products.”
“The last 7 years has seen our business go from strength to strength and I am first to concede that I cannot take credit for this. All credit must go to our woolly, proud, teddy-bear like Southdown sheep who produce this amazing fibre in the first place.” www.southdownduvets.com