Photographs by Jared Flood
Jamieson & Smith Shetland Wool Brokers Ltd. purchase Shetland wool from over 700 of Shetland's crofters and farmers, and transform it into high-quality Shetland wool products including yarns, knitwear, blankets and carpets.
Shetland wool is an incredibly natural and sustainable fibre, and is world renowned for its fineness and warmth. Shetland Sheep graze on the islands' hills and beaches eating wild heather and seaweed. This diet, along with the not-so-great weather, makes Shetland wool soft, strong and warm. Shetland Wool is also very diverse: it's perfect for hand-knitting both Shetland Lace and Fair Isle, as well as for knitwear manufacture and weaving. We hand sort and grade our wool and, to make sure that we do not waste anything, the coarser parts of the fleece are used in carpets and mats.
Everything we do at Jamieson & Smith is with the aim of enhancing the profile of Shetland wool, so as to raise the prices for local wool producers. A 2009 trading standards investigation revealed that we purchase over 80% of the wool produced in Shetland. Therefore Jamieson & Smith's activities play an important part in sustaining Shetland's fragile crofting industry, as well as our textiles industry and heritage. To ensure the future of the Shetland wool industry we work closely with key organisations, collaborate with new designers and are dedicated to textile innovation and experimentation.
Jamieson & Smith have been around since the 1930s, when it was founded by the Smith family of Berry Farm in Scalloway, on the east coast of Shetland. In the 60s, we re-located to our current premises overlooking the harbour in Lerwick. Our little cluster of buildings on the North Road includes our wool sheds, a renovated church - which is now our yarn store, and a 1920s police station (complete with two cells) - which serves as our carpet store and showroom.
In 2004 the Smith family retired and we joined with Curtis Wool Direct in Yorkshire. Jamieson & Smith continues to be staffed by Shetlanders - there are six of us - and Eva still visits. We remain a stand alone company, in that the profits received from the sale of Real Shetland Wool and Real Shetland Wool products come back into the Shetland economy and are passed along to our number one priority, the wool producer.
All of our products carry the 3 Sheep Logo, which signals that the product is manufactured from 100% Real Shetland Wool from pure bred Shetland Sheep that are born and bred on the islands.
Something else you'd like to know?
phone 01595 693 579