We just received this common question in an email. We thought that it would be a good idea to share our reply here:
Hello Jennifer, that's a good and rather common question. There are 3 main differences between a decor sheepskin rug and our baby lambskin rugs.
The most notable difference is that a baby lambskin is slightly smaller in size. Our's are approximately 3 ft in length, vs the 3.5ft length of our decor rugs.
A more subtle difference is that being from lamb skins (a by-product of the New Zealand lamb-chop industry), they have virgin wool which has never been shorn. Even the 'clipped' wool on the short wool lambskins has been trimmed to 1.25", but it has never been shorn. This means that the merino wool is that little bit softer with more natural lanolin for a silky smooth finish.
The third and most important difference is in the tanning process. The lambskin hides are intended for a baby to sleep on and are tanned without the use of any chemicals. This tanning process takes extra time and cost, but we wouldn't have it any other way. The reason that our baby lambskins are not white (another common question) is that there is no way to make a sheepskin rug white without the use of some form of mild bleach detergent in the tanning process. This is why many rugs are offered as "off-white", "cream", or "champagne", as this is as bright as a rug can be made without the use of any bleaches. Although the levels used in white rugs all over the world is quite safe (and some companies do sell white baby lambskins), we like to ensure that no bleach has been used in the process. As I mentioned, the white rugs are very safe and this is more so for the parent's security and product knowledge as it is a safety concern. The "pale lemon" or champagne colour also helps to hide stains that are much more common on a baby lambskin than a decor rug.