Newspaper Article 2008 – Sheer grit to reach milestone

Sheer grit to reach milestone

Sticking with wool business like running marathon, says veteran

by Joe Dawson
[email protected]

RICHARD Kells started out his wool-broking business wanting to build something lasting, but half expected to be looking for a new job within a couple of years.

Twenty-five years of single-minded determination later, those expectations could be consigned to the rubbish heap.

Last week, Kells Wool opened its Pandora woolshed to clients to commemorate a quarter-of-a-century in business.

Mr Kells said he was not normally one to be distracted from the business at hand to acknowledge milestones but felt this particular one needed celebrating.

“We always feel like part of the team at our clients’ thrms [farms], so we thought it was time to invite our farmers to our backyard and celebrate this milestone,” he said.

“Times have been tough in this industry for several years, so it’s important that we take the time to share something positive.”

Mr Kells said he always planned to get into the wool trade and worked towards it from a young age “juggling things into place”.

Brought up on a farm, before setting up his own company he worked in wool spinning, did a diploma in wool technology at Massey University and then worked in classing and scouring.

“I was fascinated with the whole textile process and with different parts of the world and how they have their different specifications.

“It’s always been a global trade and that was one of the attractions.”

It’s been a slow and steady race, something Mr Kells describes as a marathon rather than a sprint and there were times, like in a marathon, he hit the wall.

“I started (Kells Wool) in a very small way. When I started, the main objective was to make something that would last so I hung on at times when maybe others would have said it was time to look at something else.

“I’m probably enjoying it more now than earlier, there was a time in the middle when it was tougher.

“I think that’s because we’ve grown steadily over the years and now more opportunities are opening up for us.”

Kells Wool bought a Taihape company a few years ago, which Mr Kells said took them closer to where the sheep were –  “the sheep are getting further away from Napier” as the forestry, dairying and horticulture industries grew and took over more land.

Mr Kells was confident of another 25 successful years, but said some changes were needed to ensure the wool industry grew.

“I think wool’s enduring but it certainly needs more targeted promotion.

“There’s no fat in the wool pipeline, so it’s a matter of repositioning it and selling it better.”

“There’s no fat in the wool pipeline, so it’s a matter of repositioning it and selling it better.”
Richard Kells, wool broker

Photo captions –

GLOBAL TRADE: Richard Kells has always been fascinated with the whole textile process in different parts of the world.

HANDS-ON: Kells Wool opened its premises up to clients to mark its 25 years.

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Business / Organisation

Kells Wool

Format of the original

Newspaper article

Date published

16 October 2008

Creator / Author

  • Joe Dawson


Hawke's Bay Today


Published with permission of Hawke's Bay Today


  • Richard Kells

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