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An interview with Honest Wolf

An interview with Honest Wolf

Just A Couple Of Honest Wolves.

This week for our interview series we had the privilege of sitting down with Sophie, the owner and founder of New Zealand brand Honest Wolf.

Sophie and her husband Sam have been shearing and caring for sheep ever since they can remember. Their 3,300 hectare property has been thriving for more than 80 years. Their Papanui Estate Wool is well looked after and sustainably farmed. They have over 25,000 happy, healthy sheep who graciously let them remove over 170 tonnes of wool every year. That’s why they decided to design and craft the range of Honest Wolf fashion and accessories. An ethical line of Papanui Estate Woollen pieces that’ll tie into every wardrobe and every occasion. 

We were lucky enough to catch up with Sophie to talk about what her business journey, design process and what she's looking forward to most in 2022.

1. What does a typical work day look like for you?

Each day is different for me as I juggle working from home with two wee one's. Most days I would get work done early morning and in the evenings when they are asleep, and fit in what I can during the day. It would involve a mixture of production planning and design, logistics of stock movement and chatting with our customers.

2. What are the highlights and challenges of running your own business?

As we live in a remote area, the challenge for women to find a job and continue their career can be tough. So a highlight has definitely been that in the last two years since launching we have not only created a job for myself but also two other girls who live up our valley. I love that we are creating roles for them and hope to add a few more to the team over the next few years!

3. What has been a standout achievement from your business journey?

This is hard to measure, but I hope a message we are sharing about the amazing natural fibre that is wool is getting shared across New Zealand to people that may have never known much about the fibre before coming across us. We hope to share this message far and wide about not only our products but other wool products as well and that more wool is used in more people's day to day lives!

4. Which upcoming project or endeavour are you most excited for?

We are soon to open our first retail store! We wanted to be even closer to our product and customers, so we are opening up a retail/online distribution store in Hunterville (which is a wee town on SH1 between Wellington and Taupo). So excited for this, and hoping to see many new faces in our store as people drive through our wee town on their travels north or south!

5. Do you have any advice for other entrepreneurs or women and men trying to start a business?

Don't be afraid to ask questions! I think we would have launched alot quicker than we did if we had asked a few more people for help along the way. To navigate your way through starting a new business is a scary thought, but their are people who have done it before and can help with a variety of the tricky questions!

6. How would you describe your design process?

My husband Sam and I design all our range (and have had no previous design experience at all, so you could say initially we were winging it)! We are very selective about what products and colours we bring into our range. Only bringing in colours that are natural to our environment where the wool is grown for example. The products we bring in are not for a specific time in one's life where you would use it - we have made lifetime pieces that you can take through each stage of your life. For example, we haven't made a 'nappy bag' but a bag that can be used as a Nappy Bag with convenient pockets for all the things needed but you can also use this bag for the next stages in your life when you no longer need to carry all the Mummin things!

7. Work life balance can sometimes be a huge challenge. How do you mange this and how do you unwind after a long day at work?

Still trying to work this one out with two wee ones and a business I run from home on the farm! But I do try my best to keep work separate from family life where I can, as a main reason to start Honest Wolf was to be able to work from home amongst family life so I never want to lose sight of that no matter how crazy things can get! At the end of a long day, I try to get out on the farm for a walk as this always helps to put life into perspective!

8. What are you looking forward to for the rest of 2022?

We have just had our baby daughter, so we are soaking family life as a team of four over the next few months! I also cannot wait to open up our retail shop. The renovation stage we are in at the moment is so exciting - the transformation of the building has been a big process but now we are nearly open its so cool to see it all come together!

9. Lastly what are your favourite Papier hq pieces?

I love your custom design pieces for family/kids bedrooms! To be able to personalise art makes it even more special and I have a few items on my wishlist!

Follow Honest Wolf on instagram or visit his website


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