Local Wool Products & Community – Echoview Fiber Mill

At 17,000 square feet, the Echoview Fiber Mill, which opened in April of 2012, is an unexpected find in quiet Weaverville, NC. It took two years to build, a process that was made a bit longer due to the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification process. The building attained the first Gold LEED certification for a manufacturing mill in the country. Toward that end, the mill has 196 solar panels on the roof, which, in the summer months, produce about half of the electricity needed to run the facility. And beneath the building are a series of geothermal wells that provide the water needed for processing fiber.

LEED Certified Mill

Embracing an age where community means something deeply local, while also involving people all over the globe who share an interest and passion for the beauty of handmade things. Being just 15 minutes outside of downtown Asheville, North Carolina and with social media friends, Echoview is constantly connecting and collaborating with endless creative folks as they push the boundaries of the modern craft movement. They also work with friends who have been farming these rich mountains and beautifully crafting simple home goods out of locally sourced materials for generations. One hand in the past, with their eye on the future.

Wool Dryer Balls

Environment
Echoview is dedicated to doing their part to stop putting an unnecessary tax on the environment for the sake of a few bucks. The pace of consumerism is vastly out of step with our planet’s natural resources, and they believe in taking responsible steps towards the future. On an average day, their entire operation derives 50% of its electricity from the solar panels on their roof, while working to source materials locally and domestically from renewable resources, saving and reusing waste from the manufacturing process, all the while researching new ways to make changes. They hope that their products serve as ambassadors of their mission by lasting longer, serving multiple purposes, and encouraging people to make things themselves so they, too, can help slow the pace of mass production.

It is important to us that we are a living wage certified company. Making things for fun is fun, making things for a living can be really hard work. In our industry, ethics are often sacrificed for profit, and manufacturing has moved further and further away at the expense of jobs, the environment, and even workers lives.

There are no excuses for factory collapses like Rana Plaza for the sake of cheap fashion – somebody is always paying the cost. We work hard to ensure that Echoview is as safe and healthy a workplace as possible, and ensuring a fair living wage is part of that package.

Process
Process matters – in more ways than one. Environmentally, Echoview has achieved something quite remarkable in reducing the carbon footprint of our products by creating a space where fiber can go from a raw cut to a finished product in one building. Process also matters when it comes to creating a high-quality end product.

Products
Echoview Mills Wool Dryer BallsEchoview products are unique because they are asking you to participate and interact with them by making something that you’ll cherish. By participating in their making, they believe you’ll end up buying fewer things that you toss. By being a part of a community of inspired makers and individuals, you foster a new age of thoughtfulness. By having them in your home, you hold the end product of their process, which is working to slow down an unsustainable system.

Their top selling products are Wool Dryer Balls, which help clothes dry faster and make clothes and linens feel soft and yummy. They also have a line of wool, alpaca and Organic Cotton knit items, including Blankets, Throws, Pillows, Ponchos, Scarves, Sweaters and Socks. The third part of the Mill is Yarn. Lovely yarns are made from USA wool and Alpaca to support American farmers. They also carry a line of Naturally Dyed yarns and have a Community Dye Garden, where community members help from seed to dye. They can come participate in Dye Days with their own yarns or fabrics in exchange for helping with the Garden.

All in all this is the kind of company ethic I hope to see spread for our future, committed to the sustainability of their products and the involvement of the community.

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