Both Chris and I also run the New England Alpaca Fiber Pool - a service provider for alpaca farms across the United States to gain access to commercial sized manufacturers and maximize the value of their raw fiber by turning it into finished products for re-sale. We have been a part of the business for 7 years and officially took over 5 years ago.
Each month we post a NEAFP Note, our Newsletter, with U.S. Alpaca Industry news, specials, as well as other information and resources to help Alpaca Farms succeed.
This past month we posted a positive article about the current state of the U.S. Alpaca Fiber Industry in our current economic situaion and I wanted to pass it along to Localharvest as I believe a lot of the sentiment expressed in the article holds true for many of the Farms and Businesses in our industry.
Here is the Article in it's entirety, provided by www.NEAFP.com:
U.S. Alpaca Industry - Ready to Pounce
by Sean Riley - New England Alpaca Fiber Pool
With the current economy turned upside down, we have noticed a wave of hysteria throughout the Alpaca Industry with many breeders asking other peers in the industry how they are weathering the storm? Many are focusing on the negative news we read each day, and worrying themselves into believing that things will never get better, that this is the beginning of the end.
I understand how people can feel this way, and get their hopes down about the future but I challenge you all to focus in on the positive aspects of the current economic dilemma the world finds itself in. Sure there is a lot of uncertainty out there, but history shows that people under great pressure have great ideas, and some of the world's biggest and strongest brands were born in historic economic downturns. IBM, General Electric, Proctor and Gamble, and FedEx are all great examples of companies who were started in economic downturns and were able to not only weather the storm, but become staples in our country and across the world to this day.
While other major companies were focusing on how bad things were in their respective industries, these companies were busy dreaming up new products and solving the problems of tomorrow, which proved to be exactly what the American People were looking for and that is how they succeeded in such dire times.
The "bubble" isn't bursting, it is simply changing shape and direction and the businesses/farms that recognize this shift the fastest and execute on it are the ones that will be the most successful. I'd argue that because of this current economic situation, the U.S. Alpaca Fiber Industry is poised for tremendous growth, and here's why:
- As more and more consumers realize the true power they have in their purchasing habits, the demand for clothing and accessories made from Natural Fibers in the United States will continue to grow. Rob Long, an alpaca owner from Missouri was recently quoted as saying that "Alpaca is Nature's Goretex." and we couldn't agree more. There are not many natural fibers available today that can go toe to toe with Alpaca, and as brand awareness for U.S. Alpaca grows, we will be busy keeping up with the demand rather than debating about a bubble.
- Natural Resources and Labor Costs were never factored into a manufacturer's accounting balance sheet, and because of this they weren't properly figured in to the equation when figuring out a product's true cost. This caused Labor and Natural Resources across the globe to be taken advantage of. The abundance of Cheap Oil fueled clothing manufacturers to turn to synthetics, because they were cheaper and easier to produce. Now that more and more consumers are becoming conscious of the back story behind the products they purchase, more are looking for Guilt Free products that have positive stories behind them, and would rather support local businesses and purchase Made in America than a faceless corporation who exploits people and resources across the globe.
- With current technologies, it has never been easier or cheaper to run your own grass roots marketing campaign and get your animals, brand, back story and products to the general public. People want to hear about how you fell in love with these animals and their fleece and others want to know who they are supporting when they buy from you. Small farms no longer have to depend on large organizations to help build awareness and demand for their animals and products. Blogs, Online Video, and Community Networking will go a lot further for your farm than generic commercials and magazine ads and all that is needed to succeed with these mediums is passion about what you do.
Every economy, every industry, every business will have it's Ups and Downs but instead of getting caught up in the day to day negatives, I challenge you to focus on the positive, and the massive potential that will arise in this economic shift back to the basics. When the dust settles, and the general consumer's mentality has shifted, how will you be poised to meet these new demands and succeed? The fact is, we can't change the events that are happening today, but we can certainly shape the events of tomorrow so put your energy and your resources towards making your own luck.
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Posted by Shelley
@ 09:14 AM CDT