Where there's a wool! CLAIRE'S TOP COATS
New Zealand Woman's Weekly|November 30, 2020
GROWING UP ON A FARM, CLAIRE WILLIAMSON DEVELOPED A LOVE FOR NZ WOOL. NOW THE 30-YEAR-OLD TE MIRO, CAMBRIDGE, RESIDENT HAS HER OWN COAT LABEL, VELMA & BEVERLEY
Leena Tailor

My whole life I thought, ‘Don’t buy this because it doesn’t go with that’, but it actually doesn’t matter. One time I wore three colours – hot pink, orange and yellow – and went, ‘Today I’m dressed as a sunset.’ Everyone laughed, but I was like, ‘You’re going to remember it, aren’t you? How that girl turned up dressed like a sunset!’

Starting a fashion label was far from my mind growing up on my parents’ small farm in Kinohaku. I fell in love with animals early on and we all mucked in as a family. I reared a lamb every year and was feeding cattle by the time I was 10. My first career choice was a vet, but I sucked at science, so did a sports degree and an arts degree. I then managed a squash and tennis club in Cambridge before becoming a mortgage broker, which I still do today alongside Velma & Beverley.

During my teens, I helped my mum Robyn with a project about the challenges in the New Zealand wool industry and as I got older, I realised someone needed to take the bull by the horns and set up a consumer-driven product with awesome ethical and rural-based values.

I wanted to make a beautiful product from New Zealand wool. I also wanted to make New Zealand wool cool again. It was big until the eighties, then synthetic took over.

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