Founded in 1865, Minnesota’s iconic Faribault Woolen Mill Co. continues to innovate while tapping its heritage. As the company’s website proudly proclaims, “History is made here daily.” Naturally, wool is the go-to textile for Dennis Melchert, vice president of research and product development.
“To pay for college, I started working at the mill on the night shift, spinning yarns,” he says. “Fast- forward 40-odd years, and today I’m in charge of all product development. It’s my job to ask, ‘Can I take wool and make something possible?’”
The opportunities seem endless: Faribault manufactures everything from recycled wool throws with bright accents to buffalo check pillows, iPad sleeves and tote bags.
“Wool is truly the world’s most versatile fiber,” notes Melchert. “Happily, wool is becoming very popular once more. People are tired of synthetic fibers; they want the real thing. Folks want products that really perform—and perform naturally—and wool fits the bill perfectly.”
—Jason Oliver Nixon