On more than 30,000 acres in Central Oregon, Jeanne Carver and her husband Dan run Imperial Stock Ranch, a family owned and operated ranch. Established in 1871, the ranch comes with a history (its headquarters are actually a National Historic District) and the Carvers manage not only a successful ranching operation, but the notable fiber line Imperial Yarn. The company was chosen to provide the yarn for the Team USA Opening Ceremony uniforms at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, designed by Ralph Lauren.
Focused on sustainability, the Carvers have built a successful business focused on the health of the earth that their operation depends on. In the process, she and her husband have made using American-grown wool a reality for individuals, designers and companies, both big and small. We caught up with Jeanne to learn more about what drives her as a businesswoman and what she sees as the crucial steps for driving sustainable fashion forward.
What drives you as a businesswoman working in the world of wool?
Jeanne Carver: I don’t think of myself as a businesswoman; I think of myself as part of a team of ranchers. My husband and I have been working side by side daily for decades, managing and tending the relationships of soil, sunlight, water, grasses and grazing animals. We sold wool, along with other harvests from the ranch, as commodities for many years. That’s the way it had been done for about 130 years on our place. When selling wool as a commodity was no longer an option (1999), it forced us to think differently and the journey began down the road of value added wool product, and a new way of doing things. It also changed our lives, and taught us many valuable lessons.
What drives me? Opening my eyes every day to the views of nature — the incredible landscape the animals who thrive on it — is the greatest inspiration you could have, motivating you to carry on every day no matter how great the challenges. When you live this close to nature, you are constantly reminded of the gifts we’ve been given, and the need to honor those. That is our daily work. You need no other motivation…
Read the full article by Anna Brones here.