Wuru Client Spotlight
Picture this: clear alpine views. The spring wildflowers are beginning to paint the hillsides. The sky is blue, empty, and the breeze is cool. You’ve driven up to the trailhead. It’s colder than you expected. You switch your cotton t-shirt for a woolen long sleeve shirt, lace up your shoes with bits of wool on your blisters, and start to run. The trail is soft rolling loam. Your shoes glide. You glide. Your thoughts concede to the immediacy of rock and tree, forward and sideways in minute redirections. It is good. When you return to the car, your head is clear, and your blisters feel fine.There isn’t a thought in your head as you drive back into town. You meet up with your friends at the bar. You don’t need to change. Everything is right. The Wūru wool shirt was all you needed.
Conceptions of wool are tied to grandpa sweaters and thick winter socks. Matt Disney, founder of Wūru, is changing that. Wūru is an apparel and performance company that is revolutionizing the idea of merino wool by combining outstanding USA made quality, durability, and versatility in all their products. It started far away, in the Southern Hemisphere.
Wūru began on a honeymoon trip to New Zealand. Matt and his wife Kathryn were hiking the Milford Trail and tried a local solution for hiking blisters. They put thin pieces of wool directly onto their blisters and were amazed at how well it worked. Matt saw an opportunity. Some fortuitous conversations and a few trans-pacific flights later, and Wūru had begun in late 2018. The name came from the Māori word for wool, in tribute to the company’s New Zealand origins. To learn more about Wūru’s start, check out their full story here. What you won’t see if that from the beginning, nothing was simple.
The first obstacle came 5 weeks before Matt began selling. When he woke up one crisp Wasatch morning, there was 749 kg of wool on their doorstep. That’s over 1,650 lbs, straight from New Zealand. Matt got to work. By the end of the 5 weeks, he was ready. He’d established enough retail partners, packaging, and warehouse connections to begin selling Blister Wool. This ability to be protean without sacrificing quality would be integral to the next step in Wūru’s journey: apparel.
Apparel was always an end goal of Wūru, because better apparel was an end goal for Matt. His biggest inspiration was dissatisfaction with traditional running and hiking gear. While the synthetic clothes and performance wool worked well enough, they were missing something off the trail. They only looked good on the mountain. For a t-shirt that could cost $50 or more, this wasn’t a compromise he was willing to make. Matt wanted to design multifunctional shirts that could be worn from a hike to brunch or the bar. If they have odor wicking technology, why not use it? A desire for a simple, stylish, and effective wardrobe still informs the aesthetics of Wūru. Their multifaceted, high quality pieces are deliberate. The benefits are more than surface level, as they’d find out in 2020.
When the pandemic hit, Wūru was able to pivot. Their robust domestic supply chain and direct to consumer format meant that they were uniquely poised when the pandemic came. Unfettered by the supply chain problems of other apparel companies, coupled with their ability to respond to challenges creatively meant Wūru was able to weather the beginning of the pandemic as a small business. Matt credits a commitment to quality for their success. The foundation is all in the materials they use.
Wūru uses Nuyarn technology from New Zealand sheep. It is a merino wool-synthetic blend that is breathable, durable, odor wicking, and looks damn good. The apparel is American made, but they search far and wide for the right materials and technology to ensure a product that performs at the highest level for the longest time.
The sustainability of Nuyarn lets you consume less. A shirt that can be taken anywhere with odor wicking technology means you can take less camping and buy fewer pieces. Even though the pieces aren’t cheap, they pay for themselves. Their durability means that the pieces can last a long time. Wūru is striving to do the same as a company in the future.
The business strategy of Wūru’s is simple: get the best people, and maintain methodical, strategic growth without sacrificing what makes them great. They want to create more pieces for casual use, rooted in the outdoors. The multifaceted qualities of merino wool means that the possibility of Wūru aren’t limited to the mountain. The small team that Matt has created keeps crafting pieces that reflect the company’s philosophy: create high quality, durable, and multifunctional pieces for outdoor enthusiasts and everyday users alike. Akers Digital is proud to partner with them and proud to function as part of the Wūru team.