A Taste of Life at Windrush Alpacas

October 16, 2008

I’m Off The Farm For One Day ……..

Victorian Glow - Pasture Queen

Victorian Glow - Pasture Queen

And a new cria arrives!  Victorian Glow (who belongs to Bob and Regina Dart of Llano Soleado Alpacas) decided to keep Ric entertained by delivering a beautiful dark brown female cria at 2:30 pm.  The delivery went well and the cria seems to be strong and healthy. 


Glow is an older female and a solid producer of beautiful crias.  She has had several male crias in the past so for Bob and Regina to get a female cria from her is exciting.  To me Glow is a very true to type alpaca with a compact body, great bone density and of course super soft fleece.   Glow is also a “pasture queen” ruling the pasture in her own quiet but very definite way.  The other girls know not to mess with Glow.


By the time I came home from the Crafters Mall it was too dark to take a picture of the new arrival.  Bob and Regina had come over to visit their new girl and had fitted her out in a cria coat to keep her warm during the chilly night.  Let’s hope the other crias leave her out of their “Remove The Cria Coat” game which they still are having fun playing.  The temperature was a little cool last night (46 degrees) but today it is supposed to get up in the 70’s which will be nice weather for the new cria to check out her new world.  It is also good weather for cria deliveries so who knows we may get another new arrival.


Meanwhile while Ric was delivering crias my day at the Crafters Mall was a quiet one, which allowed me to learn the ropes and get acquainted with the various booths in the store.  I was also pleased to discover that we have already sold some product from our booth, which is promising.   I am assured by the other vendors at the store that as the holidays get closer the pace will pick up at the Crafters Mall, so I had better brace myself for busier times on my next volunteer day in November.  By then hopefully all the new crias will have arrived – only five more to go!



October 15, 2008

A Different Days Work


Today is my first time volunteering at The Crafters Mall in Clovis where we now have a booth selling our end product.  One of the conditions of having a booth at The Crafters Mall is that each vendor has to volunteer one day a month to work at the store.


It will be a different day dealing with people instead of alpacas.  I am sure it will be a nice change in many ways (out of the rain and mud for a start!), but I know I will miss my fleeced friends who usually occupy most of my day.


Of course I will be packing a knitting project in case of slow times at the store.  I am not sure if knitting will be permitted while “on the job” so as to say, but if it is I will be prepared.  If not there is always lunchtime to fit in a row or two.


It will be a nice chance to meet some other crafters and also to meet potential customers; with the holiday season rapidly approaching I am sure there are some people already working on their holiday gift shopping.


At home, Ric will be minding the farm including the remaining girls who are due to have their crias.  The very wet weather has meant that the girls are still hanging onto their crias, but the forecast is for the weather to start to warm up a little as we reach the weekend.  So there is a chance that one or more of the girls will start to go into labor.


The three crias that are already with us have finally learnt that when it is cold and rainy a cria coat is a cozy thing to wear.  The last few days have been exceptionally wet and yesterday was not only wet but also cold and windy.  When it comes to the evening cria races however, Dutchesses boy still thinks that tugging the coats off the two girls is a lot of fun – boys will be boys!


By the time I get home in the evening all the chores will have been done, so maybe I will take the chance to catch up on some paperwork, or work on the website.  Not before I’ve paid a visit to the pasture though to say hello to the herd.



October 1, 2008

Taking Stock

Having lost our downtown end product outlet earlier in the year (the store owner retired) we have been looking into other options for us to get our alpaca products into a local retail location.  After looking at several options we have decided to try a booth at Main Street Crafters Mall, which is in the downtown area of Clovis.


There has been a lot of effort to promote and improve the area of downtown Clovis.   To me it has a lot of character ranging from the brick road to some beautiful architectural features on the buildings.  The Clovis MainStreet Program has been busy planning and securing funding for various projects.   The Chamber of Commerce has now opened a Norman and Vi Petty Rock and Roll museum in the downtown area and various events are scheduled in the downtown area throughout the year.


So today, following chores and with cria births permitting, we will be spending our time setting up our booth and making it as eye catching as possible.   I am challenged when it comes to artistic layout but am improving over the years, Ric has a better eye for display than I do so he will be putting his creative touch to our display.


The Main Street Crafters Mall consists of a collection of booths stocked by local artists and crafters.  There are a wide variety of products to choose from and it is a good place for gift shopping.  Having been open several years it is well known locally and usually gets a good flow of visitors throughout the week and weekend.


A crafters mall (or similar idea) can be a good place for alpaca breeders to place product, it allows you to get exposure for your product and your farm (don’t forget to include alpaca pictures and perhaps some rack cards or postcards about your farm in your display) while not tying you down to being at a store every day.    Some alpaca breeders I know have also sold product at Farmer’s Markets which can be another good avenue for end product sales (especially if you are willing to sit and spin, knit, weave or crochet which will get people’s attention).


To prepare for the set up of our booth we have inventoried our entire end product on hand and have had to re-label everything to comply with the requirements of the store.  It has taken a little time but it is a good opportunity to remind yourself what you do have on hand and maybe adjust pricing of various items depending on current markets and how long you have had that particular item in your inventory.


We are still planning on having a small online store on our website, and will offer products for sale at our Open Farm Days, but we like the idea that our local customers will now have easier access to our product on a day to day basis.  With Christmas rapidly approaching we are hoping that sales will still be good despite the current economical crisis in the US.


By the end of today our booth should be pretty much set up, I am sure we will need to come up with some additional signage, but we should have enough supplies and product on hand to make a nice display to start with.  Some of our marketing pieces will need to be changed to advertise the new location of our products –to ensure that as many people as possible know how to get their hands on our lovely alpaca goods.  Here’s hoping for some healthy alpaca product sales!





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