Once upon a time, before our baby blossom, we lived on the Limestone Coast of South Australia, growing some good cattle and living in a big ol’ crumbling limestone farmhouse. Our nearest big town was Naracoorte (an hours drive from the property where we lived), and on our recent South Australian explorings we found ourselves back in our old stomping ground. And when in Naracoorte, you will find me perusing the lovely woolen wares at Mini Jumbuk…
A rainbow of gorgeous wool scarves, snuggly slippers, toasty socks, mohair blankets, and how’s about that felted farm scene?! A local shop in a country town full of good quality products just makes me happy. Especially showcasing a product that is grown in the area, promoting local agriculture and producers. You really have to preach what you practice in this game – no point growing the world’s best fibres (and we do!) and not getting on your soap box and promoting the heck out of it. Mini Jumbuk does that leg work beautifully for the wool producers of the south east.
Mini Jumbuk began in Naracoorte in the mid-1970’s with the production of little souvenir sheep to promote the local wool industry. The business grew into dabbling in wool quilt production, with local sheep shearer Don Wray experimenting with different clips from wool growers in the area. Wool is fairly amazing stuff – it’s incredibly warm in Winter, cooling in Summer, lightweight yet durable and an completely renewable commodity perfectly suited to Australian conditions. Good quality wool products are absolutely worth their price tag in my opinion, every day of the week I will buy a 100% wool product if it’s on offer. Better yet? One made in Australia, which is becoming pretty rare to find unfortunately. Today Mini Jumbuk has celebrated it’s 40th year manufacturing wool bedding in Naracoorte – pretty amazing considering the ‘made in China’ philosophy and mindset in today’s manufacturing sector.
Entering the Mini Jumbuk flagship store in sleepy little Naracoorte, you could be forgiven for thinking it is merely a shopfront, with the products on offer being pumped out of a far flung factory. But behind the scenes you will find a buzzing production house, which can be viewed from the shop floor, producing quilts, pillows and other wool products. I was surprised to learn that Mini Jumbuk employs over 90 locals, for a little country town this is huge! I don’t think many people buying their new woolen quilts at Myer, David Jones or Adairs in the big smoke know of the product’s humble rural roots, that their cosy doona is being produced in a country town by local people truly in touch with the wool industry at a very literal grass roots level. I love that! Retail manager Oliver showed Eleanor and I around, telling me that they produce up to 400 pillows a day! That’s a lot of pillows. A lot of wool…
Since before I was even pregnant with our baby blossom, when we lived in the south east wool growing area, I knew our little one would wear a pair of little snug wool ugg boots from the Mini Jumbuk store. Back in the area with a not-so-little one year old, I couldn’t leave the store without those chocolate brown boots. Now Eleanor, who had her very earliest beginnings in the sandy soil around Naracoorte, has her very own piece of the wool industry – an industry I hope will continue to grow and thrive just as she will.
Mini Jumbuk wool quilts, pillows, mattress toppers, blankets and other wool products are available through Myer, David Jones, Adairs, Harris Scarfe and in their online store.
The Mini Jumbuk factory outlet shop is at 61 Smith Street, Naracoorte, South Australia. Ask for Oliver – he was so helpful, and loves his wool!