A Taste of Life at Windrush Alpacas

March 9, 2008

Swift Sales On a Good First Day

The first day of the Clovis Arts and Craft Fair went well.  The Convention Center was well set up and there was a good flow of people throughout the day.  The Energy Mats got a lot of attention, we had a couple of them set out on chairs for people to try and we sold quite a few.  What was interesting to me was how people were drawn to them as they walked past the booth, reaching out to touch them and stopping to look at them.  I had better call our weaver on Monday to check up on my next batch of Energy Mats and rugs that are being made.

As always the alpaca socks sold well, even though temperatures were in the mid 60’s outside.  I think we have had enough changeable weather recently that people realize we could still be in for another cold snap or two.

I had several knitters and crocheters stop by to feel the yarn and in some cases to buy yarn.  One lady told me she has been looking for three years at our yarn and finally decided to buy some today.  I hope she is happy with her purchase and creates something special with it.  Her comments reminded me how important it is to have consistent marketing and to remember that sometimes it takes a long time for customers to take the first step when buying something they are unfamiliar with.

Just prior to the Arts and Craft Fair I received my first shipment of yarn from the North American Alpaca Fiber Producers Co-op (NAAFP).  The yarn is a stunning blend of Huacaya Alpaca, Suri Alpaca and Tencel.  It has a beautiful soft handle to it and a seductive sheen.  The new yarn got many oohs and aahs from the knitters and crocheters and I believe several of them will be saving up to add some to their fiber stash.

Among our customers today were several repeat customers who have purchased from us in the past.  It is great to see people so happy with their first purchase that they return again to buy more.

Today the Arts and Craft Fair does not start until 11 a.m. and runs until 4 p.m., hopefully it will be well attended again.  In a small town there is a limit to the number of people who will attend an event, but some people like to come on the first day to just browse and see what is available and then come back on the second day to do all of their buying.  Fingers crossed it will be another busy day, with customers old and new stopping by to visit and enjoy the feel of alpaca.

Rosemary

March 8, 2008

An Early Start

It’s an early start for me this morning as I am taking part in a Spring Arts and Craft Fair at the Clovis Convention Center.  The Craft Fair runs from 10 a.m. to 5 pm today and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. tomorrow.  The reason for my early start is that I have to be at the Convention Center to set up by 7 a.m. – looks like Ric will be doing most of the chores today.

Yesterday was spent putting together signs for my booth at the Craft Fair, gathering product and marketing pieces and loading everything up to be ready to go first thing in the morning.  I am sure I have forgotten something but if so I will have to call Ric once I have set up and see if he can run it out to me.

It’s always interesting the first day of a new event, while I have a brief description of what will be provided at my booth you never really can tell how to set up the products until you get to the event.   I have a good selection of socks, scarves, glittens and yarn to sell and hope everyone coming to the event will be in the mood to buy.  The weather is supposed to be warm and spring like, but in a way I would like it to be a little chilly to encourage people to buy socks, scarves and glittens!

Hopefully the event will be well attended.  It has been advertised well on the radio and in the local paper.  I have been to some events when the only people in attendance have been the other vendors, but I get the feeling that this one will bring in a good crowd.

It will be fun getting to know the other vendors at the event and getting to see what they have to offer for sale, it is amazing how creative some people are.   Usually event vendors are a friendly bunch and by the end of the event we all know each other better.

Tomorrow of course our clocks Spring Forward as we enter Daylight Saving Time – lets hope that I remember to put the clocks forward after a long day at the craft fair! Rosemary

December 9, 2007

Open House Fun

Well the Open House is over and we had a great time.  With a steady flow of visitors to keep us busy we had a good day introducing people to alpacas and alpaca products.  Alpaca socks, gloves, yarns and ponchos were quick to leave the shelves and we have a waiting list for some of the products that we had ordered but which didn’t arrive in time for our event.

The alpacas were very well behaved and kept our visitors entertained.  During the first part of the day the alpacas were a little more interested in their hayracks than the visitors but as the day progressed (and the hay racks went down) the alpacas started to pay more attention to our farm guests.  The crias were as cute as ever and obligingly played with each other at various times throughout the day.  Some of the alpacas approached people for alpaca kisses and curious stares and our guard llamas Maya, Inca and Griffin kept a close eye on all who entered the pastures.

In addition to our Open House the local Tractor Supply Company store was having it’s grand opening and had invited us and Bob and Regina Dart from Llano Soleado Alpacas to take part.   Bob and Regina took two of their male alpacas to the Tractor Supply Company store and Bob and his son Nathan spent most of the day there.  Ric and I took turns in going up to the Tractor Supply Company too.  The visitors to the store were interested in learning more about alpacas and appreciated being able to see alpacas up close.

We always meet interesting people when we are showing off our alpacas and today was no exception, I love to hear people’s reactions to the alpacas and see the smiles on their faces as they realize how enchanting alpacas can be.  Alpacas appeal to people both young and old and our guests today encompassed a wide age range.

One of our visitors made a very distinct impression on us, a young man who made an instant connection with the alpacas and who I will write more about tomorrow.  Our experience with his young man is worthy of it’s own blog entry.

So our Open House was a success and we will now look forward to the next one that we are planning on holding in the spring.  Stay tuned for more details of the date of that event.

Rosemary 

November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving and Re-Post “Cold Feet? Warm Socks!”

Filed under: alpaca, Alpaca Care, Alpacas, camelids, Family, General — Tags: , , , , — alpacalady @ 7:31 am

Today’s post will be short and sweet as it is Thanksgiving Day and there is a lot to do.  First the alpacas and all of the other animals need to get their Thanksgiving breakfast, which will be the same food as they get every day, but we will wish them a Happy Thanksgiving as we feed them.  We will also give thanks that they are in our lives and that they bring us so much joy.

Following morning chores it will be time to get ourselves ready for our Thanksgiving feast.  Amazingly by the time we have eaten our Thanksgiving meal and cleared up the kitchen it will be time for chores again!  Something to do with shorter days and earlier sunsets I suspect.  We haven’t decided how we will spend Thanksgiving evening yet but I am sure we will come up with something special to do.

On the subject of thanks, a big THANK YOU goes to my dear friend Linda who very kindly informed me yesterday that the text was missing for my post of November 20 -“Cold Feet? Warm Socks!”   I usually check my posts after I have written them to make sure they are displaying properly but with my time being devoted giving extra care to Toby I did not check that post.  So for those who would like to read the text of that post I have reposted it on the blog entry for November 20.  I have checked it and it is displaying correctly as of the time of my writing this post so fingers crossed that the gremlins do not return and remove the text again!

So Happy Thanksgiving to all who read this blog, some of you celebrate this holiday and others are in countries where different holidays are celebrated, but to all of you may you have a wonderful day filled with appreciation for all that you have.

Rosemary 

November 20, 2007

Cold Feet? Warm Socks!

Windrush Alpaca SocksIt’s hard to believe it is the middle of November; our daytime high for yesterday was 81 degrees, which even for us is much higher than usual.  According to the weatherman though we are in for a drastic change as a cold front rolls into the area causing our daytime temperatures to fall into the 40’s and 50’s – that’s going to be a shock to the system.  The weather then will continue to deteriorate with a chance of rain and snow from Thursday onwards!  How strange that is, to go from 80 plus degrees and sun to 40’s and snow all within a matter of a few days, but that is often the way here on the high plains of New Mexico.

We will need to be prepared to help the alpacas through the sudden change in the weather; a dramatic drop in temperature can put their systems under considerable strain.  To help the alpacas cope with the temperature change we will make sure they have a nice layer of bedding in their shelters.   During evening chores we will put most of the hay in the feeders inside the shelters and only a little in the outside feeders to encourage them to go in for the evening.  We don’t lock our alpacas up in shelters overnight (unless we have one that is sick and needs protection from the elements), but we do allow them to roam into the shelters as and when they please.  If the weather is cold I can guarantee we will find alpacas in the shelters, they will sit together as a group out of the wind and cold, and just that action will provide some additional warmth for them.

We often have visitors ask how the alpacas cope with the cold and are pleased to be able to tell them that the alpacas do very well.  As long as they have available shelter from the elements, good hay to eat and water to drink (thank goodness for heated automatic waterers) they really do very well.  Of course if we have a significant accumulation of snow we have to make paths in the snow to allow the alpacas to roam around the pastures

As for the humans at our place, well they will get to don warmer clothes when doing chores.  Our chores clothes range from a t-shirt and shorts in the summer to heavy insulated coveralls for the thick of winter – and then there are the socks.

For the cooler months both Ric and I will don a pair of alpaca socks, made from the fleece of our own alpacas.  We had our first batch of socks made about four years ago and they are always a firm favorite with our retail clients.  It’s pretty neat too to have something made from the fleece of our very own alpaca herd.

What I really like about alpaca socks is that they are warm to your feet the instant you put them on, no waiting for the material to warm just instant warmth.  With alpaca being a natural fiber the alpaca socks are breathable and then there are the additional qualities of alpaca fiber such as excellent moisture wicking properties, stain resistance, odor resistance and fire resistance, all good qualities for a hard working sock to have.

In addition to the socks made with fiber solely from our herd we also now stock socks from the Alpaca Fiber Coop of North America (AFCNA).  The Co-op socks may still contain some of our alpaca fiber, as Coop members we pool some of our fiber into the AFCNA pool.  The outside of the AFCNA sock is less fluffy to the touch than that of our herd socks but they have a terry style lining which makes for a lovely, soft cushioned bed for your foot and the tighter knit makes them a little more durable and therefore a better work sock.

The socks make a unique and useful Christmas gift suiting a wide range of people from home bodies who always have cold feet to those who work outside on a regular basis and need to ensure their warmth and comfort while at work. 

As the holiday season continues we anticipate that our sock sales will increase, especially if our weather does take a cold turn.  So if you’re looking for a unique Christmas gift or two then drop us a line and we can tell you more about the socks we have available for sale – you’d better be quick though as we expect them to sell out early!

Rosemary 

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