2022/2023 Alpaca Owners Guide
Making Money with Alpaca Products
a pretty good idea of howmuch they will pay for that raw fiber. However, not everyone who comes to visit our ranch will buy raw fiber, and the number of spinners and crafters is limited. We have exceeded the demand from cottage artists for our fiber. If we value add to our alpaca fiber by turning it into yarn or finished clothing and home décor, we will not only earn more per pound of fiber, but we will also expand our customer base. Not everyone who visits our ranch will buy an alpaca, no matter how personable our alpacas are or what kind of financial investment they represent to the potential customer. However, if we have a good selection of well-priced, well-made alpaca products in our store, we might accomplish a sale to every customer who walks in. Those small sales will add up each month to a dependable, bread-and-butter income that has the potential to completely offset the monthly maintenance costs of the animals. The Scope and Location of Your Store As an alpaca grower, you’ve been convinced that making alpaca products available to ranch visitors is a worthwhile undertaking. The next step is to decide on the scope of your new “agventure,” which will involve a consideration of your initial size and location, governmental licensing, and your legal structure. I recommend starting with an on-ranch location. It gives you a chance to learn the ropes of retailing without carrying a huge overhead of store rent and employee salaries. The number one reason for new business failures is lack of capital. Nomatter how carefully we project our first-year expenses and revenue, we always underestimate expenses and overestimate revenue. Rent and payroll expenditures just add that much more stress to the formula.
by Rachel Hendrickson O ne of the first things we need to understand, when we think of proceeding from alpaca grower to fiber salesman, is the concept of value adding: creating a higher worth in our raw product than it originally had. For example, an egg farmer might be able to sell a dozen eggs at his roadside stand for $2. However, if he takes those eggs, adds some flour, sugar, leavening, and butter and makes four cakes that each sell for $10, he has value added to the eggs. He has also increased his customer base from those who will buy eggs to those who will buy eggs, baked goods, or both. As alpaca growers, our raw product is alpaca fiber. We know that we have a ready customer base for our unprocessed fiber with cottage artists such as spinners and crafters. We also have
If we value-add to our alpaca fiber by turning it into yarn or finished clothing and home decor, we will not only earn more per pound of fiber, but we will
also expand our customer base.
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