From a humble shearer to a multimillion-dollar business

By Lana Guineay

Iconic Naracoorte company MiniJumbuk started 40 years ago – and has now grown into the country’s largest manufacturer of woollen bedding, a $30 million business with more than 70 staff, exporting SA wool around the world.

Even more unique, it has achieved this in a country town with a population of less than 5000, located nowhere near a major city or export hub.

The business has just marked their four-decade milestone with the launch of a commemorative book, Love Wool – The History of MiniJumbuk.

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The success story began with shearer Don Wray, who experimented with the best local wool varieties to create MiniJumbuk’s first wool quilt in 1975, a time when there were none in the marketplace.

Today the company still uses the unique properties of wool to manufacture high-quality quilts and bedding locally, trading across Australia and exporting to lucrative overseas markets like China. In a textile industry based overwhelmingly on imports from overseas, it’s a unique South Australian success.

Mutual community support has played a huge role along the way, says MiniJumbuk Managing Director, Darren Turner.

“Keeping business local is very important to us. Our rural location reinforces our authenticity and honesty as we expand into the global market. Our loyal staff handcraft our products using locally grown wool.”

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Australia is one of the world’s largest wool producers, producing around 25% of wool sold on the world market, with exports valued at around $3 billion. There’s strong global demand, particularly in China. Australian wool is regarded as among the world’s best.

A major employer in Naracoorte, MiniJumbuk’s vision might be global but their heart is firmly local.

“While we already have strong exports to China, we will continue to push our message to the rest of the world and educate consumers of the health benefits that come from using woollen bedding,” said Darren.

Managing Director Darren Turner presenting the book to PM Malcolm Turnbull

Managing Director Darren Turner presenting the book to PM Malcolm Turnbull

“No matter how big we grow, at the heart, MiniJumbuk will forever remain local and continue production in our favourite country town with locally grown wool,” said Darren.

“Being part of a caring community is the culture MiniJumbuk has created. People care for each other and make every product as if it was for their best friend or a family member.”

Visit MiniJumbuk here.

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