We love to talk about our wooly friends, the merino sheep. And we love to extol the magical qualities of their wool. What we don’t always do is explain exactly how that amazing fiber gets from the sheep’s back to yours and, critically, what happens in-between.

So, let’s do that now, shall we?

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our sheep

As we’ve shared before, all of our wool comes from farms and ranches that are certified by the Responsible Wool Standard program. This means they all meet the program’s stringent animal welfare, land management and social welfare (worker health and safety) requirements. So, all the merino sheep who share their wool with us are sure to be pretty happy ones, contentedly grazing on grasses anywhere from Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Argentina, Uruguay and even the United States.

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our fabric

Once their wool has grown long enough, the farmers and ranchers who care for our merino buddies will sheer that wool from their backs. Then our partners send the fabric on to our two factories in Vietnam. The first one, which has OKEO-Tex certification to ensure that no dangerous chemicals are used on the fabrics, cleans and dyes the wool. When that’s complete, the wool goes down the street to another factory where it is cut and sewn into all the goodiesyou and your kids have come to love so much.

our packaging

At this point it’s ready to ship to our fulfillment center in Salt Lake City. Once it arrives there it’s wrapped up neatly in 100 percent recyclable and
biodegradable packaging in order to reduce our carbon footprint while we get it to you!

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our resale program

After what we hope are too many incredible adventures to count, you can (and we hope you will) pass your gear from one little iksplorer in your family to the next. Or maybe it goes to your neighbor’s little iksplorers or your cousin’s or your coworker’s or…you get the idea. Alternatively, you can always re-sell it on our new resale site! Check it out! Because, of course, we always intended iksplor to be the most hand-me-down friendly clothes in your closet.

our lifecycle

That said, we know, like all things, there may come a time when your gear has just seen too much love to be loved any longer. Which is when you can compost it yourself, or in a pinch, send it back to us and we’ll compost it for you. Added bonus: we’ll give you a 20 percent discount on your next order! But here’s what may actually be the best part. Not only is this a full circle lifecycle, creating as little waste as possible along the way, but it actually helps regenerate the earth. When we compost wool and it biodegrades, itslowly releases nitrogen into the soil, an essential nutrient for plant growth. Wool also contains potassium, sodium, iron and phosphorous, additional nutrients that are among the key ingredients in fertilizer.

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our happy planet

Some of those plants (and grasses) become food for our merry merino buddies and as they chomp away, they too help regenerate the earth. When their grazing is managed properly, meaning they are moved through different areas to eat grasses at the right times and for the right amount of time, the sheep mimic the patterns of wild animals. That is, they don’t overgraze and degrade the soil. Quite the opposite. They eat grasses, trample others, leave their dung and urine and then move on in a process that allows sunlight to get to the plant roots and the soil to capture rainwater effectively. Which, of course, allows even more plants and grasses to grow.

It's an elegant, natural system that not only yields some of our favorite shirts and beanies around, but inherently helps to protect and heal the planet. If we had designed this lifecycle ourselves, we couldn’t have come up with anything better. And humans have tried! But nature, man, she’s got all the answers already. So amazing, no?


So, the next time you rock your iksplor gear, know that it comes to you in the cleanest, most sustainable way possible. It really is magical for so many reasons.