Frequently asked questions

Sheepskin cushion infront of face

How do I clean my Sheepskin product?
Wool is hydroponic, which means it tends to repel or fail to mix with water meaning it resists soiling and releases dirt easily, this makes wool is naturally dirt repellent. A wonderful quality when we are using wool in our everyday lives and in our case, beautiful luxury items for your home.

Please see our Care Guide for specific instructions.

For any liquid spills, the most important thing to note is don’t add any more liquid, even water. The spilt liquid will sit on top of the fibres. Use paper towels or tea towels to blot up the spill until all the moisture is out of the fibres.

Do Wilson & Dorset products fade in the sunshine?
Like all natural materials, sheepskin products will change colour if placed in direct sunlight. Sheepskins do not have the degree of colour fastness of some synthetic products. If you are wishing to avoid fading we recommend that you do not leave sheepskin products in the direct sunlight.

What is the best colour to buy as my living area is so sunny?
Mt Gold or Matuki is the best colour option if you are concerned about fading.

How do I look after my Designer Floor rug?
Vacuum regularly and shake out often. Please see our Care Guide for specific instructions.

Should I brush my Shaggy Bean Bags or Floor Rug?
We suggest a light brush of your Long Wool items occasionally is a good idea.  Keep in mind this process can pull the curl out of the wool, to reinstate the curly wool, spray a mist of water over the wool fibre.

What is the difference between Long Wool and Extra Long Wool?
Long Wool is from a sheep that is less than 12 months old and has not developed incisor teeth. The wool has generally not been shorn by the farmer and still has the original soft wool tip (this is often referred to as baby wool). Extra Long Wool is from sheep that are older than 12 months and have developed incisor teeth. These skins are slightly courser and have been exposed to the elements over the life time of the sheep so are longer in pile length and have more ‘character’.

What are the beans inside?
The beans inside our Shaggy Bags are a micro bean, which is very different to a bean out of a traditional bean bag. These micro beans create a velvety feel in the bag and help to hold it’s shape much better than the traditional beans.

Do you sell beans?
No we don’t sell additional beans for your Shaggy Bean Bag. Our Shaggy Bean Bags can be topped up with regular beans from your local supplier

How many litres of beans are in a Shaggy Bean Bag?
Estimated at 300 litres

How often do I need to top up my beans?
This will depend on how much use your Shaggy Bag has, a good rule of thumb is every two years. Over time the beans do compress and at some point your Shaggy Bean Bag will require a top up of beans.

Do you ship Internationally?
Yes we send our products worldwide. Our freight charges do not include any import duties or taxes. These would be the responsibility of the purchaser once the goods arrive into your country.

Where are your products made?
The raw materials are sourced in New Zealand and tanning and manufacturing takes place in North West of Beijing. Our tannery was set up by one of our founders, Ben Wilson's father Robert Wilson in the 1990s along with our technical director Leroy Parker who now splits his time between Wanaka and the Tannery. Here techniques are approached like a craft and recipes cared for like a secret. The raw materials are sourced in New Zealand and processed in China.

What type of sheep do Wilson & Dorset sheepskins come from?
Our sheepskins are from crossbreed sheep and sourced across New Zealand. We use a variety of breeds. We carefully match the properties of specific breeds with the optimal end products. Most skins come from what we call a half-breed. A half-breed typically incorporates a mix of breeds that may include merinos, romney and border leicester. Sheepskin tanners source skins firstly by specifying the fineness and style of wool that is needed for the specific sheepskin products. It is the features of the wool that is most important rather than particular breeds

Where do the sheepskins come from?
Our sheepskin is a by-product of the meat industry. We take a material that would be considered waste and repurpose it. We feel that it is important to use as much of an animal that is farmed as possible.

Are sheepskin safe for babies?
Please seek advice from your health professional. We recommend only using long wool sheepskin for supervised use and tummy time. If you are intending to use sheepskin for sleep, Plunket advisors "If you want to use a sheepskin, use a short-hair type, and cover it with a sheet." It is important that consumers follow the advice of their local childcare professionals when choosing bedding or comforters for their babies. This advice will vary from country to country.

How many skins are in a Shaggy Bean Bag?
There are up to 10 skins in a Shaggy Bag.

Can a Quarto Skin be a floor rug?
Yes it can. It is large enough to be considered a rug. However it doesn’t have the addition of the suede backing which not only makes it durable, but also non slip.

What is tanning?
Tanning is the method by which our products are preserved. It involves blended recipes that maintain the natural fibre’s colour, shape and construction.

How are sheepskins tanned?
The hide or skin is immersed in a formula designed to bond the collagen proteins that make up the skin. Tanning has been practiced for thousands of years to preserve the natural wool fleece and retain adhesion and longevity of the leather.

Do Wilson & Dorset sheepskins contain harmful chemicals?
No, and our sheepskins are tested regularly to ensure that they do not contain harmful chemicals. Chemical standards differ worldwide and we monitor and manage this process carefully to make sure we are adhering to local and international standards. Our factory executes robust testing protocol to ensure the absence of pesticides and heavy metals.

What dyes are used to colour the sheepskin?
We use a variety of dyeing systems depending on the end use of the sheepskin. None of our dyeing methods use AZO dyes and we are compliant with EU Reach regulations.

Is the production of Wilson & Dorset products environmentally friendly?
Our production process is constantly refined and developed to ensure that our practises have the least effect possible on the environment as possible. We sell excess materials, recycle or reuse water, liquid and packaging at every available point during production.

Why are white sheepskin rugs slightly yellow?
We do not produce pure white sheepskins because we try to retain the natural colour. We seek to enhance the natural colour, which results in a natural ivory shade with a creamy yellow hue.

Are sheepskins bleached?
Sheepskins are not bleached in the way that fabrics are bleached to achieve a white colour. We use minimal bleaching in our washing processes to protect the softness of the fibre. Our tanning process does result in a ‘whitening effect’ on the wool fibres

What does Wilson & Dorset do to balance their carbon footprint?
Our production process is constantly refined and developed to ensure that our practises have the least effect on the environment as possible. We sell excess materials, recycle or reuse water, liquid and packaging at every available point during production

  • Water: - 70% of the water we use is either reused or recycled in production. In the past 5 years we have decreased our water use by 15%pa
  • Energy: - Solar energy heats up to 1,500,000 litres (approximately 400,000 gallons) of water per week.
  • Heat is recycled from drying rooms to produce hot water and the resulting cold air is reused for air conditioning for employees
  • Innovative installation of conveyers and equipment has reduced forklift use and our carbon footprint.
  • Water filtration system has been installed on the boiler chimney to reduce emissions into the environment and capture water to be treated and reused.
  • Our new overhead transport system saves energy by reducing space and time in the production process
  • Chemical reduction: - Salt is recovered from the curing process and recycled into the tanning process, resulting in a 95% reduction in salt purchased.
  • The introduction of enzyme technology has reduced the use of detergents and surfactants by 30%.
  • The reduction in detergents and surfactants reduces the chemical loading in the water treatment facility
  • Emissions: - Our boiler stack has a filteration system that is designed to eliminate emmisons from entering the environment. Excess water is then captured and returned back to the treatmet plant for reuse.
  • We significantly reduce our CO2 emmisions by shipping raw materials and products by sea. We only use air freight when necessary and the majority of our finished products are transported by sea. This results in a significant reduction in our carbon footprint
  • Recycling: - Bio waste is sold for conversion to fertilizer or biofuel and grease recovered from the dry-clean plant is sold for biofuel. Boiler waste is sold for use as a building material.
  • Waste material with any chemical content undergoes rigorous compliance measures, with waste transfer approval processes outlined and supervised by the government.
  • Waste materials extracted from our grey water treatment process goes to municipal plants for disposal as per government regulations and/or is used as a boiler fuel.
  • Wooden pallets, empty chemical drums and containers, plastic and cardboard waste are sold or recycled.

    Our philosophy is to provide safe sheepskin products, of the highest quality, produced with the lowest possible impact on the environment

     

    Glossary:

    Extra Long Wool
    Sometimes referred to as our 'Shaggy' pile. Unshorn sheepskin wool with 60-80mm long fibres, depending on the natural growth.

    Long Wool
    Long Wool is from a sheep that is less than 12 months old. The wool has generally not been shorn by the farmer and still has the original soft wool tip. Usually these skins are around 40mm in fibre length. This wool is in pristine condition as it has not endured the harsh conditions of years out in the elements.

    Medium Wool
    Sheepskin pelts that have been shorn to obtain a dense, uniform 25mm fibre length.

    Short Wool
    Sheepskin pelts that have been shorn to obtain a clipped, textural 12mm fibre length.

    Single
    One single natural shaped sheepskin pelt approx. 90 x 60cm.

    1.5
    One + a half natural shaped sheepskin pelts handcrafted together finished size approx. 135 x 60cm.

    Double
    Two natural shaped sheepskin pelts handcrafted together finished size approx. 180 x 60cm.

    Quarto 
    Four natural shaped sheepskin pelts handcrafted together finished size approx. 180 x 110cm.

    Sexto 
    Six natural shaped sheepskin pelts handcrafted together finished size approx. 180 x 162cm.

    Octo 
    Eight natural shaped sheepskin pelts handcrafted together finished size approx. 180 x 214cm.

    Moa
    An organic shape inspired by riverstones from the glacier-fed waterways of the Wanaka region. Designed with no directional shapes to nestle into small floor spaces and transitional areas creating intimate and playful areas.

    Shaggy Bag 
    A bean bag chair made from sheepskin pelts handcrafted together.

    Lounging Concept 
    The combination of a W&D Rug, Shaggy Bag and Stone Set. The concept of rethinking the traditional furniture systems in our homes and introducing a more flexible lounging system where we are encouraged to come down to ground level reconnect with our bodies and the people around at in our homes. Curate spaces where we can live freely in the moment and make space for life.