W&W Woman - The interview series featuring Ali Wood, founder of Jude Knitwear

Introducing Ali Wood - founder & director of JUDE KNITWEAR the beautiful
Merino baby blankets on W&W.  
As well as a dedicated Mother to 2 little people, Ali recently made the move from Sydney to Newcastle to run her business.  Inspired by her wool-producing family heritage she designs beautiful Australian made knitwear, using the finest quality Australian wool.
As Ali says, "Its time to bring good quality wool back into everyday life"
We couldn't agree more. We sat down with Ali over tea.


Tell us about yourself and your journey towards living more sustainably:

I’m a mother to two beautiful children, son Otis (3) and daughter Finley (1). Being a parent to two little ones I am perplexed by the staggering amount of packaging and waste that comes with the territory, and I struggle with it daily! The toys, the clothing and all the throw away products of convenience…. Its a bit scary, but I do try and minimise the use of these products as much as I can. It makes me more determined to create products that are as eco-friendly and sustainable as possible, and that last for a life time. That’s why I love working with wool (Merino)….. Merino is grown year-round by Australia’s 70 million Merino sheep, consuming a simple blend of water, air, sunshine and grass.

When Merino fibre is disposed of, it will naturally decompose in soil in a matter of years, slowly releasing valuable nutrients back into the earth. Every year Australian Merino sheep produce a new fleece, making Merino a completely renewable fibre source.

Why buy sustainable?
Buying sustainable where we can to me is a no-brainer. The less stress we can place on our surrounds, the better. For some it isn’t completely achievable to be conscious all the time, but if everyone made one considered and conscious decision as a consumer, a little bit can go a long way. I’m loving the fact that the people are moving away from the fast fashion and throw away culture…. My mantra is to buy better, buy less, choose wisely and hold onto good quality items for longer. 

You are relatively new to Newcastle in the Hunter region, how does it differ from life in the city and what have you learnt from the change of location
I’ve learnt to slow down, to enjoy the simple things in life. Newcastle is a creative and vibrant city, however it is also very laid back and low key. People seem to have an outward focus rather than an inward focus, by that I mean it’s all about the surrounds; the beach, the outdoors and where you are, rather than the house you or your neighbour lives in or the car you drive. 
Where do you love to hang out in Newcastle in your spare time
The beach. My husband surfs and my little children love exploring the beautiful beaches near our house. Redhead beach is a family favourite, as is Burwood Beach and Merewether. 
One of the new exciting additions to our e-store is your beautiful brand Jude Knitwear, tell us a little bit about Jude and what led you to launch it?
Jude was inspired by my time spent on my Grandparents' sheep station outside of Tenterfield in northern NSW. We went there every year for holidays as children and stayed in the Shearer’s quarters on the property. These holidays gave me some of my most fond childhood memories. My Grandmother used to take some of the raw fleeces after shearing, boil and dye the yarn herself over a wood fired stove, and then hand spin and knit her own beautiful creations that she sold at country fairs and shows. She taught me how to knit, and this whole process made me completely in awe of how to create something so beautiful from a natural source, with her own two hands. So I guess you could say that from my earliest memories I have been around wool and have grown up with a great appreciation for it as a fibre and as an iconic Australian agricultural product. I really wanted to work with wool in a modern and fresh way, so I created Jude.
As a busy working Mum of two have you got any time saving life hacks or advice you swear by?  
For me, coping with the extra demands that being a working mother bring is all about head space... Adjusting the expectations you place on yourself is key! The one thing I have come to grips with is in parenthood, and in work, you can’t cut corners, I strive to do both with care and consideration. And it sort of relates back to the less is more philosophy I spoke about before, be conscious about how much you take on, and try to keep a good balance in life. It definitely doesn’t always go that way for me, but it is a good objective to strive for!
Do you have any favourite natural home/skincare or beauty brands? 
YES! I have been using a skincare brand called Annod (www.annod.com.au) for years now. I found it when I moved up to Newcastle. It is created and made by a skincare magician and Newcastle local, Donna Ireland. She makes all the batches herself in her specially built kitchen in her beautiful house, and although that sounds very backyard, I can assure it is not! The result is pure and luscious products that have totally saved my skin through two pregnancies, breast feeding and toddlers. 
* While synthetic fibres are produced with non-renewable oil, Merino is an entirely renewable natural resource. It’s not only soft against the skin but also gentle on the planet. 80% of the world’s fine Merino is produced in Australia, and ours is regarded by many as the best in the world.
* Merino is better at protecting you from UV radiation than most synthetics and cotton. So the whole family will be safer wearing it on sunny days. You are also safer in Merino because it is flame retardant, and even self-extinguishes when the source of flame is removed.

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