A hearty hello, and welcome to this week's missive!
Today, The Wool Channel is 21 weeks old. Last week's ode to wool cozies prompted some feedback. It knocked me off my tracks. I decided we should sit down together—especially because we have so many newcomers—and revisit the principles of this newsletter and this work.
What is this newsletter? Why am I writing it? And what's this about wool shorts?
First, it has a name: Wool Shorts.
The name suggests that this email is intended to be a short read, two to three minutes max, highlighting cool, creative things that use wool in non-traditional ways. These are innovative uses of wool that broaden our perspective on the utility of wool and the animals who grow it.
I want to get people to think about and see wool outside of the box. I want to drive consumers to companies that have been bold enough to take the risk and invest in wool innovations. They deserve and need our support. If you're here, I suspect you already think so too.
Where do the products I write about come from?
This was the heart of last week's feedback. A few of you thought I collect money from companies to write about their products here. No. Not now, now when I started writing about wool 21 years ago. That type of work holds no interest for me.
I currently buy everything. Quietly, usually online, and with zero contact with anyone inside the company. Once, a Foundation Flock member sent me a Lego game as a gift—but she had zero financial ties to the business. Should I ever receive an item free or at a discount from the business itself, I will make that fact clear right up front.
That's The Wool Channel's secret superpower. Because it's member-supported, I have total editorial independence. If you read something here, it's because I'm excited about it. And that's it. Period.
Occasionally Wool Shorts may be about something besides a product—say, a word whose roots are linked to sheep or wool (like "starling" or "bellwether"). Or they could cover a recent news item, or share highlights of a scientific study, or introduce you to the latest episode of The Wool Channel's podcast, Voices in Wool.
Everything is intended to be short form. Not a Tweet, but more like a chunky Instagram post.
The Balancing Act
Wool Shorts is the free, public-facing advocacy portion of The Wool Channel. The meatier, geekier stuff—including bonus livestreams, interview extras, and deep dives—gets shared with the Foundation Flock, whose member support provides the underpinnings to this entire endeavor. If you're reading this and you're already a member of the Foundation Flock, thank you.
Over the last 21 weeks I've learned that it's not always easy to keep these shorts short and set aside the meatier nuggets for the Flock. The desire to please is both a blessing and a curse. Nevertheless, that is the goal, and that's how I've structured it for now.
We'll return to our regularly scheduled content next week, starting with a different take on wool shoes, followed by an interview with someone who tortures wool for a living. But I wanted to have this converastion with you first.
As life is a work in progress, so is The Wool Channel. I am honored and delighted to have you here for the journey.