Voted New Zealand’s most trusted carpet brand for nine consecutive years, Bremworth is a premium rug and carpet company with manufacturing facilities in Auckland, Napier, and Whanganui. Flooring Magazine recently sat down with CEO Greg Smith to discuss the company’s transformational journey focused on helping consumers bring more natural products into their homes and daily lives.

What is the Bremworth story?

Bremworth is a quintessential Kiwi icon. We have been crafting excellence in NZ made flooring since 1959 when the Bremworth Carpet Company established a small factory in South Auckland.

Our founders Tony Timpson and Grant Biel had a passion for natural fibres. Grant built our first carpet tufting machine, and without yarn to test it, he pulled apart the red woollen jersey he was wearing, thread by thread. The result: the first square of ‘carpet perfection.’

We currently employ just over 400 staff across Australasia, with the majority located at our manufacturing plants in Napier, Whanganui, and Auckland.

How has the business changed and evolved over the years? Take us through your journey from a small factory in South Auckland to a global player in premium wool flooring solutions market.

While carpet trends come and go, one thing for us has been constant: our love for and belief in NZ wool.

Our 60+ years of experience has taught us that wool is not only 100% natural, biodegradable, and renewable, but it is also a brilliant fibre for design, innovation, and overall performance on the floor.

Our wool is 100% grown in New Zealand. It is the perfect environment for sheep to thrive and deliver beautifully clean, white fibres to allow us to achieve better colour clarity in our final products.

Over the last 60+ years we have fine-tuned exacting wool specifications for colour, length, and thickness by product to strike the perfect balance between delivering you optimum softness, design, and overall performance on the floor.

However, we believe that our wool needs to not only be the best quality, but it must be sourced from the best farms. So, as a first step, in June 2021 we signed up to the New Zealand Farm Assurance Programme (NZFAP) which is a government funded independent assurance programme to ensure best practice on-farm in relation to important factors such as animal health and welfare.

Discuss some of the company’s milestone moments.

A major recent milestone was in May 2021 when we celebrated our last ever synthetic carpet production. By exiting the synthetic carpet market, we reduced our annual plastic consumption by about 2,500 tonnes.

And we have not stopped there – one year on from ditching synthetics, we are using science, research, and innovation to find more sustainable ways to bring more natural flooring options for families to love. Watch this space.

What is the Bremworth business philosophy and or mission statement?

Bremworth’s philosophy is that sustainability is not a choice – it is a necessity. Our long-term vision is to become a global leader in designing and creating desirable, safe, sustainable, and high-performing natural interior solutions.

Guided by the purpose of finding a more sustainable way, Bremworth is on a transformational journey focused on helping consumers to bring more natural products into their homes and daily lives.

Bremworth has a substantial environmental policy. Can you explain what this entails?

In 2021, our $4.9M research-based sustainability programme began with support from the NZ Ministry for Primary Industries’ Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures fund.

The key focus of this programme is to find more natural and circular solutions and to assist with this work Bremworth partnered with the University of Auckland and AgResearch to help achieve results quicker.

On average, currently 87% of our woollen carpets are sourced from natural materials (by weight, based on a 42oz carpet). Whilst this is a great starting point, we want to do better than that, so we are seeking new ways to reduce, recycle and eventually remove plastic from our products, our business, and our daily lives where possible. By focusing on green chemistry our goal is to work towards a product that can be upcycled or safely returned to the earth at the end of its life.

What is the product offering at Bremworth? Describe your current collections.

Firstly, wool is a high-performing natural alternative to plastic synthetic carpet fibres – our wool carpets have been tried and tested for generations.

We offer customers three collections of carpets starting with our high-end designer Bremworth Collection which features exclusive felted carpets. Our mid-tier Aspire Collection features a stylish range of loop and cut pile designs. Finally, our Lifestyle Collection is our entry-level wool carpets full of durable designs and on-trend colours.

We have found that most consumers are looking for carpets that offer a textured sensory experience and are neutral in tone. A neutral aesthetic provides consumers with the flexibility to introduce bolder colours via furniture, cushions, throws etc to breathe life into the space. Having said that, we are seeing some consumers selecting playful and bold coloured carpets, to achieve an unexpected, unique aesthetic.

Bremworth also offers wool rugs in custom shapes and sizes to suit every space. So, we have a range of NZ made solutions to naturally soften and elevate our customers’ homes.

Looking ahead, what plans have you got for the future of Bremworth?

We have four key priorities:

  1. Create demand for Bremworth branded product
  2. Super charge the digital business
  3. Optimise operational efficiency and commercial excellence
  4. Prioritise innovation, sustainability, and partnerships

As you can see from above, we have got a lot on, so I will expand on one area only.  We are laser-focused on improving our manufacturing processes.

With facilities in Napier, Whanganui, and South Auckland, the have a strong focus on ensuring these plants are operating as efficiently as possible through the use of technology, innovation and teamwork.

Underpinning this work is our purpose which is to find more sustainable ways to do things– to allow consumers to make more considered product choices and to ultimately lessen our impact on the planet..