Tom's (of Maine) New Company: Ramblers Way, Organic Wool Undergarments


Tom and Kate Chappell, co-founders Tom's of Maine and Ramblers Way. Credit: Ramblers Way

Tom and Kate Chappell, co-founders of Tom's of Maine--which sold to Colgate for $100 million in 2006--have embarked on another environmental initiative with a fine organic wool apparel and undergarment company, Ramblers Way, named after their Rambouillet sheep farm in Kennebunk, Maine. The wool is made into yarn following a unique process and the apparel is made out of the soft, silk-like, odor-repellent fabric.

I was delighted when Tom first spoke of his company, Ramblers Way (full disclosure: Tom's a friend of the family), and I'll be visiting the farm--in my hometown--over the holidays. Click through to preview the men's and women's apparel:
Credit: Ramblers Way

Ramblers Way Rambouillet wool is created for both indoor and outdoor wear to assure the wearer's warmth and comfort. Tom explains, "fibers are parallel to each other when turned into a yarn, as compared to a normal wool yarn that is criss-crossed and has edges poking out that makes the surface scratchy. Rambouillet is the only breed for us because it has a long heritage in America, is available in large quantities for wool, and has the finest of fiber diameter for our lightweight garment."

Tom lists environmental values aligned with Ramblers Way, below.


  1. Use of an available renewable resource.

  2. Made machine-washable by an enzyme process which does not harm the environment. Most woolens are treated with chlorine and liquid nylon. We do not use these.

  3. Local, before global, we say at Ramblers Way. So the product comes from American raised Rambouillet, washed and converted in yarn and fabric here on the East coast, and made into garments in Fall River, Massachusetts. This compares to others that come from New Zealand, Australia, and China.

  4. We have hired a non-profit research firm. Clean Air, Cool Planet, to assess our carbon footprint from farm to customer, to adjust where possible, and to buy green credits for carbon neutrality.

  5. Kate and I have purchased two large parcels of open space (150 acres) in Kennebunk, Maine, which will be used for breeding Rambouillet. We have saved these parcels from development.

  6. Ramblers Way and my family are committed to lowering our carbon footprint with geothermal heat and solar energy working together. Our home and offices are all geothermal and solar, and the farm is getting solar as we speak.

  7. Ramblers Way is available only on our website to reduce distribution impact on the environment. In addition I am pleased that we have created so many new jobs that would have gone to Asian markets with other brands.


Credit: Ramblers Way

Credit: Ramblers Way

Visit Ramblers Way for more.

Check back after the holidays for photos of my visit to the farm. Questions for Tom? Leave them in the comments, below.

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Tags: Clothing | Maine | Sweatshop-Free