Room 1: 1:30pm
Julie Hermitage is the founder of Uan Wool, an award-winning artisan business established in 2015. Specialising in wool pillows providing sleep comfort solutions to asthmatics and poor sleepers with neck or shoulder problems.
Julies love of wool began at the tender age of 4 when helping (or hindering) with rolling the wool on clip day. As a child she enjoyed knitting, tapestry & simple weaving in her creative flare. But it was the farming “bug” and love of home that made her study Agriculture. Graduating with a MSc in Farm & Business Management from Aberdeen.
She did 2 years practical estate work in Stirling before commencing what turned out to be a 20-year career in rural development. She wanted to help people, family livestock farms had been rocked by BSE and later Foot & Mouth. Herself and others were losing the opportunities to return to the family farm. Her role within the then SEERAD, followed by Business Gateway was to support family families to develop new income streams and create opportunities for younger family members to stay within the fragile rural communities.
So how did this make her a “wool geek”. It was a combination of her off farm career, the bad snow years in 2010 – 2013, her own 600 hill sheep, and an asthmatic son not sleeping when someone suggested wool bedding.
The improvement to her son was life changing. This started a 2-year period of hands-on research into different wools, characteristic and properties. How they behaved and worked together to provide loft and support – as it wasn’t really something you could find in a textbook or on the internet.
Speaking and sharing information with other wool experts has given Julie her knowledge that has become key in creating wool comfort.