Wake up to sleepy Merino

Local Inverell girls modelling Sleepy Merino’s flutter sleeve pyjama top and sleep shorts on Julie Bird’s property, which in the photo is showing the effect of a bit of recent and very welcome rain.

Sleepy Merino is a new sleepwear brand launched by a Merino woolgrower near Inverell in NSW, whose property has been severely affected by drought. The brand was set up as a drought diversification business and sells pyjamas that are made in Australia from 100% Australian Merino wool.

The drought has hit rural Australia badly, very badly – and Inverell in northern NSW has been suffering as terribly as anywhere. The area has also endured bushfires this summer.

“Times are tough in the bush here in NSW – we are in the grip of the worst drought in living memory,” says local Merino woolgrower Julie Bird.

Julie’s family runs Merino sheep producing 17-18 micron wool, on 2,000 hectares of mostly native pasture, shrubs and trees. Due to the drought, the family has had to destock many of its livestock.

“But it is not only the farmers being affected by the drought. We have had many businesses close their doors in our town, including the big end of town.”

If ever there was a time or motivation for those in the bush to consider business diversification then now is that time. “Like many farmers, we have had to think outside the square for additional income options,” Julie said.

Julie started to investigate other enterprise opportunities. She had always loved wearing Merino wool, such as active wear, knits and underwear, but she couldn’t easily source adult Merino sleepwear or pyjamas. Seeing a gap in the market, she decided to set up a new apparel brand – and so Sleepy Merino was born.

“Sleepy Merino builds on my passion for Merino wool, and pyjamas are a fantastic use of Merino wool’s unique properties,” Julie said.

The current range includes three styles of women’s pyjama top (flutter sleeve, short sleeve and long sleeve), sleep pants, sleep shorts and a long sleeve sleep shirt. They are available in a range of sizes and colours (red, grey, charcoal and navy).

Soon to be launched are a men’s pyjama range, a new women’s flutter sleeve sleep shirt, some new colours and women’s and men’s sheepskin slippers.

The brand uses 100% Australian Merino wool jersey fabric of 18.9 to 19.9 micron. It has a weight of 145gsm, which is perfect for both winter and summer use.

The garments are manufactured in Australia by OCC Apparel in Sydney, which is experienced in manufacturing Merino wool active wear and underwear. OCC’s Merino wool fabrics comply with Woolmark specifications and are machine washable.

Sleepy Merino was launched in Inverell, in conjunction with the local Eat Drink Live New England Festival in November.

“We held a fashion parade at a Wine and Canapes event, and a market stall. Despite the tough times in our region, the local community has been very supportive of the new business, and lots of pyjamas were purchased for Christmas presents,” Julie said.

The brand’s garments are all available to purchase online at sleepymerino.com.au, reaching international as well as Australian markets. “Our Aussie made Merino wool pyjamas are proving popular in Britain, and one lady is going to hike across USA with our sleep shirt,” Julie said.

The brand is also aligned with the #buyfromthebush, ‘Buy Regional’ and ‘Go Country for Christmas’ campaigns.

“These initiatives are really helping regional businesses to stay afloat and helping this farming family keep feeding stock.”

In February, Sleepy Merino travelled to Brisbane with its full range to sell at the MindBodySpirit Festival, Australia’s largest health and wellbeing event. In March they attended the MindBodySpirit Festival at Darling Harbour in Sydney. Sleepy Merino also sells at markets local to Inverell.

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