AlpacaNation

The Original
Online Alpaca Marketplace
Alpaca Forum at AlpacaNation
Alpaca Forum at AlpacaNation
Home | Profile | Register | Active Topics | Members | Search | FAQ
Username:
Password:
Save Password
Forgot your Password?

 All Forums
 Alpaca Discussion Forums
 6. Farm Facilities & Equipment
 tumbler vs sorting
 New Topic  Reply to Topic
Previous Page
Author Previous Topic Topic Next Topic
Page: of 2

johnson

219 Posts

Posted - 08/05/2013 :  10:13:44 AM  Show Profile  Visit johnson's Homepage  Reply with Quote
[i]It would be great if someone like Craig had the time to write up something like this.
Bob


I am not sure what I could write that would help folks learn how to market and sell their fiber products. I am also not sure I am a good enough writer. I have published and do up keep a web page with information included, I have been featured on the Pennsylvania Cable Network 1/2 hr. television program. I do hold educational seminars (with very little participation). Developing a market for your products takes passion. That's it, PASSION. There it is summed up in one word. When I go to markets to sell our product that is the one word I hear all the time, "you are passionate about what your doing". Another word is believe. BELIEVE in what your selling. I believe alpaca is usable in many variations not just the super soft yarn that most farms are seeking to sell to a limited customer base.

[i]What I feel mainly is going on when people say in generalities "you should do this" is they feel that they stumbled through the trial and errors in developing use and markets for their fleece and expect everyone else should have to do it too. Maybe they just look at more people as competition.

I think the generalities come from a forum like this where you walk a fine line between marketing and general talk. Trust me when I tell you I am an open book on all aspects of our business. I will talk about alpaca products until your ears fall off. In fact I have talked so much that my business plan has been utilized twice by folks who have open their own mills and are very successful. We have and continue to stumble through trial and errors. I do not consider any person or farm or mill as competition. I firmly believe that there is that much of a market out there.

[i]I am the first to admit that when it comes to developing any fleece use I just feel inadequate 180 degrees from making breeding decisions!

If we are not making breeding decisions based on fleece use then please explain to me the sustainable aspect of why we are breeding?

Please let me ask you another question. This is a long one sorry up front. If I create a cria, male or female that at 3 years old holds a 25 - 30 micron fleece with average guard hair and lets say multi colored with a slight hump back and minor splayed legs. This alpaca is healthy. Call this Cria A.

At the same time I breed 18 micron male and female and create Cria B that has 18 micron fleece, perfect fleece, typey head, straight legs, back etc... blue ribbon winner for sure.

I take Cria A and B to the alpaca show along with product I made from both to sell at my table.

Cria A product consists of shoe inserts, dryer balls and some mid line priced yarn ($15 per skein)
Cria A brings home a 4th place ribbon because the fleece has average guard hair and minor conformation issues. All the product from Cria A has sold out, folks love the color, feel, look etc... and buy it all.

Cria B brings home a blue ribbon. Since Cria B fiber is 18 micron, feels soft and has a lot of brightness I decide to make it all into a beautiful 3 ply yarn. I price this super duper blue ribbon winning alpaca fiber at the high end ($25 per skein).

I come home with a pocket full of cash from Cria A and a 4th place ribbon.
I come home with a tub full of yarn and blue ribbon from Cria B.
I clearly made a profit from Cria A but not from Cria B.
This continues throughout the year at various shows, markets and festivals. At the end of the year I have 1/2 of Cria B product remaining in my inventory but all of Cria A product has sold out.

Who should I breed next year ? Furthermore. If an alpaca buyer arrives at my farm and looks at both Cria A and B for purchase. They ask my opinion on who they should purchase. What should I tell them ? Should I sell the high end cria because of its slow selling 18 micron, high priced yarn or would it be ethically correct to sell Cria A based on the amount that I know by experience the new buyer can make each year from the alpaca.

I think that we should be selling alpacas based on the actual amount of money they can generate for the indiviual buyer. Therefore breeding decisions should be made based on this, the plan for fiber use and profit potential from the product made and sold.

I better stop for now. This was a long one again. I told you if you get me started......

Craig

Craig & Jane Johnson Worthington Acres Alpacas
FeltPAC LLC.
Unityville, Pa.
ff1730@dishmail.net
www.worthingtonacresalpacas.com

Edited by - johnson on 08/05/2013 10:17:21 AM
Go to Top of Page

johnson

219 Posts

Posted - 08/05/2013 :  10:29:43 AM  Show Profile  Visit johnson's Homepage  Reply with Quote
[quote]Originally posted by Shadowberry
You could always try selling yarn at a fair or farmer's market. That could lead to an interest in dyeing yarn. You will meet other vendors, gain new ideas for products and venues. I have learned a lot from llama and sheep people who have been doing this longer than we have.

There is the nail on the head ! You have to get out there. Pack up your goods and get out there and sell it. Fairs, markets, festivals, flee markets. The more your out there the more folks will look for you. Your client base will grow.

A story regarding Craig's helpfulness: Some time ago I arrived at Craig's fiber mill with several bags of fiber that had been "officially" sorted as "Texas Rug" quality. I asked him to make it into felt. Craig told me that he could make decent yarn out of this "Texas Rug" stuff and so he did. I took the resulting yarn, dyed it various colors, and began crocheting beanies. I sell these little hats almost as fast as I can make them. And beanies are a lot easier to sell than rugs.
I do this all the time for customers. I am not afraid of trying and normally trying yeilds a usable product. Would I have told you to make a high end shawl with this, no. But what your making is a very nice knitted product that obviously people are looking for. So happy to help and that this is working out.

So, if you have a mill within a reasonable distance, take your fiber in and ask for suggestions as its best use. I'm sure they would be more than willing to help you if you do not make unreasonable demands on their time.
100% correct. No mill that I know will turn you away if you are bringing fiber and want an honest evaluation on what to make with it.


Craig & Jane Johnson Worthington Acres Alpacas
FeltPAC LLC.
Unityville, Pa.
ff1730@dishmail.net
www.worthingtonacresalpacas.com
Go to Top of Page

bobvicki

2967 Posts

Posted - 08/08/2013 :  2:05:18 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Craig,

Just a few comments:
quote:
I think the generalities come from a forum like this where you walk a fine line between marketing and general talk.

I wish that were true, but I was actually talking direct email correspondence when I wrote this. I do think the forum rules allow what many would consider "marketing" when responding to direct questioning. Judith could possibly clarify that.
quote:
Furthermore. If an alpaca buyer arrives at my farm and looks at both Cria A and B for purchase. They ask my opinion on who they should purchase. What should I tell them ?

You already know the answer to this, you tell them the truth and let them decide which way they want to go, high end fiber or fiber that sells.

I guess the biggest problem many people face is finding the the places (and who to contact)that process different types of fiber into different types of items. For example, I have seen wonderful felt hats and purses at shows sold by venders who make them. We have bought them for our daughters, but last year I saw professional cowboy hats by a professional hat company made out of alpaca fiber at a show being sold by a vender. That really made an impression on me.

My daughter tried her hand at making a cool over the shoulder felted purse, it didn't turn out right so the next time we were at a show the lady who had a booth and had several of them took the time to talk to my daughter who was 15 at the time and after that my daughter did another one that was great, she used it all the time for her school things. There are great crafts people in the alpaca world.
quote:
If we are not making breeding decisions based on fleece use then please explain to me the sustainable aspect of why we are breeding?

It is one thing to understand breeding decisions for better fiber, quite another to develop the fiber product. 10 years ago you could rely on selling just an average cria to pay farm expenses, today you need to put that fiber to use. We shear 50 alpacas, there is no way I am going to spin that myself and make products so I need to get it developed. I don't believe I am alone in this.

Bob

Bob & Vicki Blodgett
Suri Land Alpaca Ranch
10371 N 2210 Road
Clinton, Oklahoma 73601
641-831-3576
alpaca@htswireless.com
www.alpacanation.com/suriland.asp
Go to Top of Page

johnson

219 Posts

Posted - 08/09/2013 :  1:40:22 PM  Show Profile  Visit johnson's Homepage  Reply with Quote


I wish that were true, but I was actually talking direct email correspondence when I wrote this. I do think the forum rules allow what many would consider "marketing" when responding to direct questioning. Judith could possibly clarify that.

That said. I our farm, processing mill and product development business is very helpful to anybody who calls, emails or stops by in person. We will be candid and forthcoming with any and all information as long as the visitors are the same. I consider each and every person as a future customer of ours. This falls under our Karma theroy of what comes around goes around. Seeing others succeed is good for us and good for the entire alpaca industry.

quote:

You already know the answer to this, you tell them the truth and let them decide which way they want to go, high end fiber or fiber that sells.

Your right. I did know that answer. We are on the same sheet of music with this. My suggestion however would be both. Why not hit every market that you possibly can. I suggest that if it fits into their business plan then put it in. If not, at least make the plan modular enough to expand with new ideas and concepts.

I guess the biggest problem many people face is finding the the places (and who to contact)that process different types of fiber into different types of items.

A lot of this comes with time. The more your out there the more you discover. It goes without saying that the internet is more than valuable to find resources. This is one of the hardest points of any business, developing the appropriate contacts. I agree and some days I feel your frustration. Don't give up. One of the items I remember talking to breeders about when we started was finding your niche. Nobody could tell us what our niche was, we had to find it. Worth saying again, our niche is modular and can grow and expand with new ideas and concepts.

I am happy to hear that somebody helped our daughter with felting. This is an important lesson for all of us. Help each other as much as possible.

[/quote]
It is one thing to understand breeding decisions for better fiber, quite another to develop the fiber product. 10 years ago you could rely on selling just an average cria to pay farm expenses, today you need to put that fiber to use. We shear 50 alpacas, there is no way I am going to spin that myself and make products so I need to get it developed. I don't believe I am alone in this.

You are not alone in this. You are correct with all. You can still rely on selling an average and above average cria a couple times a year to pay for farm expenses. The best part of todays market is that if you do put the fiber to use you will be amazed with the market that you have to sell your products. Selling the next cria becomes less important when you have a continuous income stream from the fiber.

50 alpacas worth of fiber is a lot to hand spin each year. There are many options available to utilize every lock of your fiber. I normally go through 150 alpacas worth of fiber every year.
Here are some ways we run out of fiber yearly, by selling:
- mill spun yarns
- hand spun yarns
- needle felt shoe inserts (500 + pr. per month)
- felt fabric
- felt christmas ornaments
- needle felt dryer balls (more than I can keep up with)
- needle felting scuptures like black bears, snowmen and other critters.
I can come up with more but that is a start for now.

Anytime you would like to call and talk about your options we are available.
Craig




Craig & Jane Johnson Worthington Acres Alpacas
FeltPAC LLC.
Unityville, Pa.
ff1730@dishmail.net
www.worthingtonacresalpacas.com
Go to Top of Page
Page: of 2 Previous Topic Topic Next Topic  
Previous Page
 New Topic  Reply to Topic
Jump To:
Alpaca Forum at AlpacaNation © 2000 - 2009 AlpacaNation LLC Go To Top Of Page
Snitz Forums 2000

WELCOME TO ALPACANATION

Our family has 8,856 breeders, with more joining every day.

Join Now!