A former Milford Track hiking guide is putting in the hard yards building his innovative merino wool plaster business into a global brand.
Lucas Smith suspected antimicrobial, hypoallergenic and moisture-wicking merino was special, and in-field testing of his wool plasters proved this was the case.
The results proved superior to incumbent plastic plasters, and paved the way to Lucas producing the world’s first merino wool adhesive bandage.
His company WoolAid was founded in July, as an evolution from his six-year-old business Walk On.
Demand for the product has been overwhelming since its first production run hit South Island stockists in August. “We went from zero percent to sold out almost overnight,” says Lucas.
The young entrepreneur has his sights on international expansion, and admits he is running full pace.
“It’s progressing a little faster than I’d like it to. We’ve had a lot of interest from the United States, Europe and Australia. It’s exciting but the demand is a little daunting.”
As with any young business, there are challenges to growth. Potholes in the road include having to guide medical manufacturers to work with a luxury material instead of single-use plastic, and needing to pioneer scientific data on why wool is superior as a medical textile.