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The Alpaca Lifestyle
Author: Mona Kennedy
We are new alpaca owners, well sort of.
We decided on this venture going on 3 years ago now, visited farms, researched alpacas, put up a barn and fencing and all that, and purchased our first alpacas.
Those wonderful alpacas have been boarding for almost 2 years now.
4 creatures have turned into 8, and they shall all start coming home to our barn soon.
So that will make us officially a farm!
New farm people are constantly submerged in multitudes of information regarding how to market one’s farm.
There is certainly no lack of information, nor cheerful opinions and suggestions.
They are all wonderful too, as all of this aid is given with care and good thoughts.
There are the basics, and we ourselves have begun to set them all up.
First there is the decision of how large or small you intend your farm to be and from there your farm’s layout.
Shall we allow visitors?
This is necessary when selling breeding stock, as most farms plan to do.
Shall we also have an on-site farm store or not?
A store attracts visitors as well, and is a wonderful way to showcase alpaca fleece products.
Shall we provide another alpaca farm related service?
There are many options available. Then also a logo design must be decided on, and hence business cards, website, advertisements, memberships to industry associations, etc.
As we all know, all this, and so much more, must be decided upon and incorporated into your farm’s business plan.
And from there, a marketing plan begins.
The detail regarding how one markets one’s farm is a continually evolving process.
The one thing I have always noticed that at whichever farm we visit is how calm and serene owners are, a refreshing change from our hectic lives.
In all the research I have done, there apparently are many ways to market one’s alpaca farm.
I would say these 3 themes are the most common:
Providing excellent customer service is the central theme to all alpaca farms and all businesses.
Many books and seminars are based on this theme; it’s arguably the most important theme.
Award winning alpacas and award winning fleece/fleece products are also of utmost importance to many, many breeders and most newbies.
This is what farms strive for, day in and day out, year after year.
Financing options is another common theme.
In this new American economy, ability to provide and obtain financing is imperative for a business to start and flourish.
Reflecting on the past 3 years of our journey, marketing our farms is the hardest task.
What exactly is it that our farm, and all of us as alpaca owners, what message are we trying to convey to others?
This morning I started my usual routine of making coffee, grinning at bags of alpaca fleece stacked in my front hall, musing over the looms and yarn and knitting needles taking over the living room, walking our dog, and walking around our yard, looking at my soon-to-no-longer-be-empty-barn-and-pastures, gazing at our various flowers in glorious mid-summer bloom, and eyeing my newly decimated and yet hilarious, vegetable garden (thank you, the local deer population!)
Looking around on a perfect sunny summer day, that’s when I knew for certain.
It’s the lifestyle!
We are all marketing the alpaca lifestyle.
~ Respectfully submitted by:
Sweet Harmony Farm
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