The Natural Fibre Company is a specialist, vertically integrated mill and the only company we know of which spins both woollen and worsted yarns under the same roof. We have a dye plant and are licensed for organic production by the Soil Association.
Myra Mortlock took The Natural Fibre Company to Lampeter in mid Wales in 1991, continuing the business she bought from Rose Elworthy who launched it in the mid-1980s as the Amy Rose Collection in Merthyr Tydfil, south Wales. At Lampeter, the mill spun wool on a small scale, largely for smallholders. With her husband Philip, Myra carried on producing natural and un-dyed wool spun in the traditional way.
When the Mortlocks decided to retire in 2004, they agreed that one of their customers, Gotland sheep breeder Sue Blacker, should take the business over. Cornish-born Sue, a one-time stockbroker, but more recently involved with economic development in the South West and environmental regeneration charities, approached customers past and present with a research survey to determine exactly what they wanted.
Working on the results, she put together a business plan which was approved for European Union Objective 1 funding in the spring of 2005. The company was taken over from the Mortlocks on 14 November and relocated in a 10,000 sq ft factory at Launceston in Cornwall close to the Devon border, where we have since added another nearly 5,000 sq ft with a mezzanine floor.
Scouring and blending began right away, while the first organic production run was in January 2006. Mohair and alpaca started going through the mill in May 2006; worsted and semi worsted spinning were added in July 2007. In 2008 the company installed a dye plant and launched the on-line shop which trades as Blacker Yarns.