Url: https://www.johnlewispartnership.media/news/jlp/25082021/from-sheep-to-sleep?brand=jlp

From Sheep to Sleep

  • Our new John Lewis sustainable mattress range is made from wool sourced from Waitrose UK sheep farmers
  • Demand for wool has dropped in recent times but now the sustainable natural fibre is no longer going to waste
  • Hope move will drive demand for British wool and raise its value for the benefit of all UK sheep farmers

John Lewis, in partnership with suppliers Hypnos, H.Dawson and Dalehead,* is launching a new range of mattresses** this week that, for the first time ever, will be made with wool provided by Waitrose sheep farmers.

Once a highly valued commodity in the UK, wool has been under-utilised for decades, with the price offered not even covering the cost of shearing, let alone transportation, forcing many farmers to dispose of it.

This issue is not common knowledge among British shoppers, with two-thirds (66%) claiming to be unaware so much wool was going to waste. But showing they care, over half (52%) said they’d be happy to pay more for products that use British wool, with 41% saying they’d be prepared to pay between 5-10% more and a third saying they’d pay as much as 20% more.

Drive demand for British wool

Now, by partnering with Waitrose’s long-serving sheep farmers, this highly sustainable and natural fibre will once again be put to good use, in a move the John Lewis Partnership hopes will raise awareness of the issue, drive demand for British wool and - in doing so, raise its value for the benefit of sheep farmers all over the UK.

Jake Pickering, Senior Agriculture Manager at Waitrose, said: “Wool used to sustain entire economies but it has declined in value so dramatically that British farmers are now in some cases having to dump it. We are in a fortunate position in running a Partnership that operates both a supermarket and a home department store, so we saw an opportunity to make a difference to our farmers and the environment by ensuring the quality wool they’re producing is not wasted.

We hope that in doing this, we will raise awareness of this issue and restore British wool’s status as the highly valued and high-quality British commodity it used to be.”

Patrick Loxdale, one of the farmers involved in the initiative, said: “The wool market has been tough for a long time and now, with exports to China halted because of the pandemic, it’s even tougher.

My hope is this initiative will kickstart a resurgence in interest in British wool. We’ve been farming in Aberystwyth for 250 years and if I have anything to do about it, we’ll be farming here for another 250 years.”

Richard Naylor, Sustainable Development Director at Hypnos, said: “As well as making comfortable beds, it’s becoming increasingly important to the public that what they’re buying is not only economically sustainable, but socially and environmentally sustainable too, and wool ticks all these boxes.

Wool is natural, renewable and fully biodegradable so great for the environment, and it is also extremely comfortable thanks to its temperature regulating and breathable qualities - meaning people can sleep easier for many reasons.”

Jo Dawson, Chairman of H Dawson and The Woolkeepers®, said: “It is a privilege to be a partner in this new supply chain where the main focus by all parties is to re-establish the long-term value of wool for the farmer, whilst delivering an exceptional product to the end-user which makes the most of the environmentally and physiologically positive attributes of this 100% traceable wool.”

Nicholas Coleridge, Chairman of The Campaign for Wool, said: “Farmers worldwide nurture their flocks 24/7, every day of the year, to ensure healthy, happy sheep and land regeneration. Each season sheep require a ‘hair cut’ and this wool is used, depending on the fibre type, strength and fineness for fashion, the home or to insulate buildings. The Hypnos wool mattress from John Lewis guarantees complete traceability of the wool from farm to store.” 


Sheep to sleep

Farming Minister Victoria Prentis said: “The UK has a proud tradition of wool production going back many centuries. We have a growing and creative sector using British wool to make new, sustainable products, which directly supports our sheep farmers.

I’m delighted that Waitrose and John Lewis are taking this step, to use an environmentally-friendly resource whilst also supporting British lamb producers.”

NFU livestock board chairman Richard Findlay said: “It’s fantastic to see Waitrose and John Lewis support Britain’s sheep farmers and champion British wool, one of the most natural and sustainable products available, and it will be a significant boost for those sheep farmers who supply Waitrose.

“We encourage all initiatives that promote and add value to British wool, particularly as we have unfortunately seen the value of wool fall over time. At a time when we are all thinking about how we can reduce our impact on the environment, it makes complete sense to use this natural product as much as possible, whether that is in mattresses or across the building trade in carpets and insulation.

I hope to see more companies, as well as the government, consider how wool can be used more in the future, in place of less sustainable man-made products.”

The John Lewis Classic wool mattress range starts from £599 and the Hypnos Luxury Handmade Collection starts from £899****


Notes to Editors

Please download our film HERE.


*Hypnos = bed manufacturer/ H.Dawson = wool processor/ Dalehead = lamb and wool producer

**Waitrose wool will be used in the following John Lewis and Hypnos products: 

  1. x3 mattress types in the John Lewis branded “Classic Wool” range.
  2. x6 mattress types in the Hypnos branded “Luxury Handmade Collection” - exclusive to John Lewis. This includes 3x Luxury Wool (Wool and Adaptiv springs) and 3x Wooltex (Wool and latex).

***Research among 2,000 British shoppers, conducted by 72Point on August 20th 2021.

***Links to mattresses:

John Lewis Classic range

Hypnos Luxury Handmade Collection

Why wool is great for making comfortable and environmentally friendly mattresses

  • It is temperature regulating and breathable - allowing the sleeper to have a comfortable night's sleep.
  • Naturally biodegradable and 100% recyclable after its life cycle; we offer a return and recycle scheme if customers repurchase the same bed.
  • A renewable source that would otherwise go to waste.
  • Sourced in the UK, with wool exclusively from higher welfare and fully traceable farms.
  • Naturally Flame Resistant - meaning no chemicals have to be added.

About Waitrose’s relationship with its sheep farmers

  • We have a long and close relationship with our farmers - many extend beyond 25 years and that's very unique within the industry.
  • We know all our farmers and visit them regularly
  • All producers belong to produce groups, meaning they have regular communication up and down the supply chain and also means they have an active say in developments, including regular meets with the Waitrose team.
  • We reward producers for quality.
  • We have been named Best Retailer for animal welfare by CiWF for three awards in a row since 2015 (they take place every other year).
  • Producers share a vast amount of data with us regarding their sheep enterprise.
  • Over 50% of our producers generate renewable energy on farms.

Contact Details:

For more information please contact:
Matthew Clemens - [email protected]

About the John Lewis Partnership
The John Lewis Partnership owns and operates two of Britain's best-loved retail brands - John Lewis and Waitrose. Started as a radical experiment over a century ago, the Partnership is now the largest employee-owned business in the UK, with over 80,000 employees who are all Partners in the business. The Partnership is purpose-driven, existing to create a fairer and more sustainable future for our Partners, customers, suppliers and communities. Our Purpose not only inspires our principles, drives our decisions and acts as our guide to be a force for good, it steers us to do things differently and better - all in service of creating a happier world for everyone and everything we touch.