AN ANGUS sheep farmer has been inspired to use wool to create a range of bedding after finding it helped her asthmatic children get a better night’s sleep.
Julie Hermitage, who has received backing from the University of Dundee-led Design In Action initiative, will launch her business, UAN Scotland, at the Royal Highland Show in Edinburgh on Thursday.
“I want it to change how people think about wool as a natural fibre and demonstrate its benefits to improving sleep for all,” said Hermitage, who is targeting the domestic market before planning to expand into the hotel sector and overseas.
She added: “My own children showed significant improvement after we started using the wool for pillows. That inspired me to commission further research to investigate the natural antimicrobial properties within different Scottish breeds of wools.”
Wool is naturally flame- retardant and helps to regulate the body’s temperature, making it ideally suited for use in pillows and other bedding.
According to the charity Allergy UK, duvets made of wool have been found to be free of house dust mites, a major trigger of asthmatic symptoms.
Hermitage is now seeking a “seal of approval” from Allergy UK – a process that would involve independent laboratory testing to show whether the products live up to their claims.
The Design In Action project, launched three years ago to highlight how creativity can help firms improve their results, backs emerging ideas with grant funding of £20,000. Its partners include art schools in Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow, as well as St Andrews and Abertay Dundee universities.
Georgina Follett, director of the initiative, said: “UAN has built a business that meets the needs of its customers, is environmentally sensitive, and delivers a quality range of products that exemplify the capacity of Scottish businesses to innovate using the strengths of the local economy.
“UAN will add value to the economy, support other local businesses and demonstrate the vibrancy of the rural economy to innovate.”