Article: Use Gift Cards to Increase Sales

03/30/2020
by NEAFP Co

Increase your Sales and Brand Loyalty

with the help of gift cards

 

By Brianna Paon
Updated 3/30/2020

Over the course of the past few years, many farms have seen an immediate pop in sales simply by accepting additional payment methods other than cash. Less people are carrying large amounts of cash and are transitioning to using debit or credit cards for the majority of their daily purchases. With the steadily growing use of card payments, small businesses are beginning to incorporate not only debit and credit cards, but gift cards as well, due to their convenience and flexibility for everybody involved----the buyer, the receiver and the merchant. They are easy to set up and even easier to spend.

Gift cards are an extremely useful asset for any business, large or small, due to the simple fact that they help enhance what every business aims for: increase in sales. There are always new and creative methods one can come up with for generating extra revenue, but having gift cards available for your customers does much of that work for you! It is estimated that 72% of customers using gift cards are more likely to spend more than the value of the card. People are typically less hesitant to buy a high-priced item at its full price because it is easy to view a gift card as “free money”, making them feel less bad for spending more of their own money in addition. Gift cards are also flexible because they allow the buyer to choose a designated amount based on their budget. They also allow the person receiving the gift card to choose something of their liking, lessening the inquiry of returns or exchanges.


One of the most popular POS systems that small businesses are utilizing now is SQUARE. Fortunately, Square now offers personalized gift cards offered in several tiers to work with businesses of any size. As a bonus, these gift cards also work as excellent marketing tools. Look at it as your gift card being essentially the same thing as your business card, except with monetary value, helping to better your business further through brand awareness.

An awesome advantage to using Square gift cards is that there is no additional cost other than the physical cards themselves----no redemption fee, no contract, no monthly subscription. They are reasonable in price and very simple to use! Redeeming a gift card is as easy as taking a debit or credit card through SQUARE. Using gift cards, or any cards for that matter should be a simple and easy process for both the customer and the merchant. As our experience shows, the more options you give your present and future customers to pay for your alpaca products, the more you increase the total number of transactions and overall sales revenue.

Not currently using SQUARE to process credit and debit payments? Not a problem! There are a number of other gift card programs that offer very similar features at similar costs----any program you choose will prove to be beneficial in multiple ways, including a spike in sales and brand awareness in your local community at the very least. If you are looking to scope out additional gift card program options aside from Square, check out some of the resources provided below so that you can choose what is best for you and your business for this coming holiday season!

Other program options:

www.swipeit.com

www.plasticresource.com

www.instoredoes.com

Further reading:

www.squareup.com/gift-cards

 

 

 

 

COVID-19 Update from the Fiber Pool

03/23/2020
by NEAFP Co

COVID-19 Update from NEAFP

Update 4/6/2020

The state of MA has issued a shelter in place order and has closed all non-essential businesses until May 4th, 2020. During this time NEAFP will be closed to all visitors, fiber drop offs, and order pickups.  We will continue to ship out all orders placed during this time and look forward to hitting the ground running once back to work! Thank you for your patience!

Update 3/17/2020

Over the last several weeks the COVID-19 phenomenon has grasped our attention fully as it has a direct impact on many aspects of our personal and professional lives. Many of the 2020 Spring Alpaca Shows have begun to be cancelled due to the CDC recommendations of limiting gatherings over 50 people. Although a hard decision for any board, we believe it is the correct one as social distancing is one of our best efforts in flattening out the infection rate curve.

With our fiber collections being cancelled at AOA Nationals in Indiana, PAOBA Breeders Showcase in Pennsylvania, and the North American Alpaca Show in Massachusetts, we know how important it is to offer alternatives to farms in getting their fiber out of the field and into production. We will be looking in the coming months to coordinate with affected area farms and regional breed organizations to offer solutions to help put your fiber harvest to work for the 2020 season.

NEAFP is currently up and running at 100% production and our U.S. supply chain continues to run at full capacity. We plan on keeping this pace to prepare for a strong Fall and Winter sales season while taking some necessary precautions to protect everyone here on the NEAFP team. For the time being, we will not be offering mill tours or shopping on site. We will still be open to fiber drop offs and order pickups at the loading dock by appointment. While limiting outside exposure to us here at the mill and practicing safe practices recommended by CDC and WHO, we will continue to sort through fiber submissions and ship orders at our usual pace.

With information and the situation here in Massachusetts changing daily and in some cases hourly, we will continue to keep you all updated on exactly what is going on here at the fiber pool. We encourage any of you needing to fill some gaps in your inventory to do so now and we will do our best to accommodate your needs in the weeks to come. We certainly can't predict how this event will unfold but we believe that the timing of this from a production and retail sales season standpoint could not be better for the U.S. Alpaca fiber industry.

One thing we can take away immediately from this situation is domestic and regional supply chains help build strong and resilient communities. Small scale agriculture, both for food and for fiber, help you and your neighbors thrive during times of global economic slowdowns. Your email lists, social media networks, ties to the local community, and your e-commerce platforms have never been more valuable.

As more people are home from work and school consuming 24 hour news cycle broadcasts, they could all use a little extra alpaca cuteness and charisma in their social media timelines. Now is a great time to share your alpacas and your farm through social media and give your communities, both local and virtual, a little relief. As these events play out, we will continue to offer articles and resources to help you continue to grow the fiber side of your business during these unprecedented times.

We will continue to keep everyone in the loop

and wish you and your alpacas peace of mind and body!

- the entire NEAFP Team

Article: Virtual Farm Tours: Bringing People & Alpacas Together in the Virtual World

03/19/2020
by Michelle Just


The practice of social distancing has become more widespread in recent weeks and farms should be looking for new and innovative ways to reach their customers. Though for the time being you may not be physically connected with your customers, it is important to realize that your customer base is still available, albeit remotely, and consuming more online content than ever before. With children home from school, and some out of work, people of all ages are turning to the internet for entertainment, education, and a welcome relief from the constant media updates. Now more than ever is a great time to share the joys of your farm and alpacas through virtual farm tours.

Museums and zoos have long understood the value of offering virtual tours. They offer the opportunity to visit, be inspired, and educated from the comfort of the home or classroom. A virtual tour becomes feasible for someone unable to visit due to distance, finances, or physical ability. Farms, and alpaca farms in particular, are now offering similar experiences. Remember: your efforts to go virtual can have a big impact!

 

A Virtual Farm Tour can drive more business to your e-commerce store


Why go virtual? Two reasons: to make lasting connections with potential customers and community, and drive business to your e-commerce store. A virtual farm tour can give your customers the opportunity to go behind-the-scenes at your farm, see your animals, and the work that goes into the service you provide. Now more than ever, we need to stress the importance of supporting small businesses. A good virtual tour, like a good farm tour, is a call to action to purchase your products. Take the time to reinforce your brand identity, and give virtual visitors avenues to purchase your products. By giving a behind the scenes look into your everyday life as an alpaca farmer, you are sharing the story behind your business and products, which is what customers are looking for more and more. Done well, a virtual tour can highlight the value of your product without becoming a sales pitch.
 

What is a Virtual Farm Tour?

A Virtual farm tour can be as simple as still photos with text, a live stream of your barn or field, or it can be an extensive learning experience. Good virtual tours are typically educational in nature, and have clear audio and visuals. If possible, they are geared towards a particular age group to ensure the content is relevant to viewers. Many tours are hosted on YouTube or social media sites like Facebook and Instagram. Even something as simple as using Instagram Stories to document your day is a great way to start. Instagram Story Highlights gives you the ability to leave a story permanently on your profile. Additionally, a tour hosted on your personal website has the added bonus of getting visitors to “visit” your page longer and enjoy other activities (like free coloring pages), increasing the chance of making a sale!

What are some Examples?

 

 

-Put the viewer literally in the shoes of a visitor at your farms, as Maine Alpaca Experience does in their 2-part Farm Tour. (Above)
 
-Understand your potential audience and give a straightforward informational tour. The information you provide can be catered towards a particular age group, as these dairy farm tours are for either Elementary-aged children or High school-aged children.
 
-Use a high-quality camera to livestream from your barn or pasture with textual updates such as in this Farm Sanctuary Live Stream.
 

What do you need to begin doing Virtual Farm Tours?



The equipment you need will vary depending on the type of virtual tour you hope to provide. For all formats you will need a website or social media page to host the tour on.
 
Video
 
• A smartphone camera is all you need to get started to share video on social media
• Upgrade your video with a DSLR camera (which is also great for product photography!)
• Regardless, make sure your video is well-lit and your audio is clear
• Have fun by adding GoPro or Drone footage!
 
Still Photos
 
• A smartphone camera or digital camera
• Text descriptions explain photos in lieu of audio/video
 
Live Video
 
• A camera that records live video/audio (like a Nest Cam)
• A good computer and internet connection (Here are some tips for setting up a wildlife camera)

Where could Virtual Farm Tours go in the future?



As mentioned previously, institutions like zoos and museums are already ahead of the curve when it comes to virtual tour experiences. You can take a trip back in time at the Amano Precolumbian Textile Museum to see alpaca artifacts or check out the Naked Mole Rat cam at the Smithsonian National Zoo.
 
Increasingly, these institutions also provide 3D virtual tours through sites like Google Arts & Culture. Not only can you click through various institutions as if you were using “street view” on Google Maps, combining this experience with a Virtual Reality headset can make it feel as if you were almost there! While nothing can replace the experience of being on the farm, we are certainly embarking into uncharted territory!
 

A Sound Investment

 
Over the past few years, we have watched alpaca farms adapt and thrive as you’ve created new agritourism ventures to compete against mass produced big box retailers. We’ve witnessed as you’ve expanded your small businesses into new markets and continue to educate your local communities on all things alpaca. Virtual tours may seem odd and foreign, especially when the nature of producing and selling alpaca goods is such a tactile business, but they’re one way of continuing to share your farm, alpacas, and goods with your local community. Taking some time to break up someone’s day with the cuteness and charisma of alpacas on the farm not only gives you good karma points, it will likely translate into a growing community and support for your farm and business in the future!
 

We hope that these Business Resource Blog Posts have been helpful.
Is there a topic you'd like us to cover in a future post? Write to us at support@neafp.com

 

March 2020 NEAFP Note is here!

03/17/2020
by NEAFP Co

We have an absolutely jam packed March 2020 NEAFP Note and we hope you read it in full here:

http://bit.ly/covid-19-fiberpool

Topics Include: COVID-19 Update from the Fiber Pool, Get the Most Out of Your Fiber Harvest, New Gift and Accessory Product Additions, PAOBA and NAAS 2020 Shows cancelled, New Unicorn Yarn Color Ways!, Cornell: Building Small Farm Resilience, NEW Bold Survival Sock Color, Some Labeling Updates, Fiber Sort Queue, and Upcoming Events!

Get our monthly NEAFP Note Newsletter delivered directly to your email inbox!

Subscribe Here

Free Resource: How to get the most out of this year's Fiber Harvest

03/16/2020
by Michelle Just

 Get the Most Out of Your Fiber Harvest

We've condensed our Fiber Harvesting Guide into the infographic below, so you can avoid the most common mistakes in alpaca fiber harvesting to ensure you finish with the highest commercially usable clip!

DOWNLOAD A FULL SIZE VERSION HERE:
PDF - JPG

 

Your Goal:

The goal at the end of shearing is to finish with the highest amount of usable alpaca fiber.

Usable Alpaca Fiber is:
◆ Free of all contamination
◆ Separated by color & grade
◆ Uniform in staple length & micron count
 

1. Contamination:

Contamination is the #1 reason that fleeces are downgraded or discarded.

Prevent contamination before shearing begins!
◆ Utilize low hay feeders
◆ Clear pastures of thistle & burdock
◆ Clean shearing area, barnyards & stalls
◆ Use shredded cardboard or straw bedding (not hay)

Top Contaminants Include:
◆ Vegetable Matter (VM)
◆ Farm Debris
◆ Color Contamination
◆ Second Cuts
◆ Guard Hair
 

2. Streamline Shearing:

Prepare: Band samples & identify fleeces going to shows or to processing. 
Your Shearer: Seek a shearer months in advance. Communicate your goals with them.
Your Help: Educate & assign staff, family & volunteers to specific tasks.
Work Smart: Keep the queue moving with a 2nd shearing station.
Shear from lightest to darkest & clean areas in between.
 

3. Classing

Blankets: Remove in one piece. Send straight to the skirting table, cut side down
Leg & Neck: Keep together
Apron, Belly, Coarse Fiber: Remove immediately

Keep different sections of fiber separate as they come off the animal & leave grading to the professionals.
 

4. Light Skirting

Skirt the fleece as it comes off the animal. Do NOT tumble your fleeces!
Use a wire mesh top skirting table. Keep each skirted fleece separate regardless of color.

Be Sure to Skirt Out:
◆ Excessive Guard Hair
◆ Armpit Hair
◆ Second Cuts
◆ Vegetable Matter
◆ Dirt, Dung & Debris
 

5. Packaging

Roll individual fleeces in newspaper or place in small plastic bags for short-term storage & shipping.
Combine into larger bags to be sent for processing.

Put completely dry fiber in paper lawn & leaf bags for long-term storage.

Put fiber to use soon after harvest or you may lose it to rodents, moths, or mold & mildew contamination.

 

New Product: The Happy Alpaca Coaster - 4 PACK

03/06/2020
by Michelle Just

This Happy Alpaca will cush his way into your heart!

...And what's better than one coaster? Four!

This set of four coasters is customizable - add your farm/business name, motto, or anything else you'd like. Buy a set for your own home, or take advantage of quantity discounts and offer sets for purchase in your farm store! They're a cute and fun way to enjoy your favorite beverage!

Each coaster is cut and engraved from 1/8" thick Baltic Birch wood, and treated lightly with a beeswax polish. Approximately 4" round by 1/8" thick


Customization: Add your Farm/Business Name or any other text (see image for example) just select the Customization option before adding it to your cart. We will send you the engraving form shortly there after!

Please allow 5-7 days for your customized engraving order to ship - Thank you!

Laser cut and engraved from Birch - a natural material - making each one unique, with slight variations in the look of the wood and engraving.

 

Find them now in the Gifts & Accessories Category!

Designed, Cut, & Engraved with LOVE

by NEAFP in Fall River, Massachusetts - USA

Some Sock Labeling is getting a face lift in 2020!

03/05/2020
by NEAFP Co

Starting in March 2020, you may notice that some of our socks are getting a labeling face lift!

We are updating our Survival, BOLD Survival, Low Pro, High Calf, and Gentle Touch Sock labels to utilize our newer branding rolled out in the last couple of years.

As we transition over to our new sock labeling, some styles will come with a mix of old and new labeling as it is dependent on when a particular style, size, and color combination was manufactured and went through our finishing process.

We expect all styles, sizes, and colors to be fully transitioned over to the new labeling by the end of Summer 2020!

 

Low Pro Sock Labeling

High Calf Boot Sock Labeling

Survival Sock Labeling

Gentle Touch Labeling

 

New Product: USA ALPACA Business Card Holder

03/04/2020
by Michelle Just

Make your business cards stand out with our

new USA ALPACA Business Card Holder!
 

Perfect for displays at your farm or on the table at your next market, this customizable holder is a highly visible way to keep your business cards organized. Easily assemble and disassemble for transport to all of the places you sell alpaca! This Business Card Holder fits up to 35 standard-sized business cards. 

Laser cut and engraved from Birch - a natural material - making each one unique, with slight variations in the look of the wood and engraving.

Customization: Add your Farm/Business Name or any other text on the front of the Business Card Holder - just select the Customization option before adding it to your cart. We will send you the engraving form shortly there after!

Please allow 5-7 days for your customized engraving order to ship - Thank you!

 

Find it now in the Marketing & Collateral Category!

Designed, Cut, & Engraved with LOVE

by NEAFP in Fall River, Massachusetts - USA

Shareable Article: The Sustainable Alpaca

02/28/2020
by Michelle Just


The Sustainable Alpaca

Alpacas are not just adorable, they’re also environmentally friendly! Alpacas are less harmful to the earth than other species of domesticated livestock and produce a fantastic renewable resource: fiber!  When you wear clothing made from alpaca fiber you’re doing your part to help the earth. 
 


Alpaca Fiber: A Renewable Resource

Alpacas produce an incredibly warm, super-soft fiber. Unlike sheep’s wool, alpaca fiber possesses no lanolin, making it hypoallergenic. Alpaca fiber is both moisture wicking and breathable. Highly durable, its high tensile strength allows it to outlast other fibers. Alpacas are naturally colorful, reducing the need to rely on dyes. Their fiber is categorized into over 22 recognized colors in the USA!
 


Treading Lightly on the Earth

Unlike hoofed species of livestock, alpacas have soft, padded feet with two toes which do not cause pasture damage. Due to a lack of upper front teeth, alpacas are also natural lawnmowers. They tend to graze on the stalk or leaves of a plant, while leaving the root intact.


Consuming Less, Producing More

Considered to be more biologically efficient than other grazing livestock, alpacas only consume about 1.5% of their body weight in food daily.  In return, they produce excellent fertilizer that is easily harvested from communal dung piles.
 
 
 
Hoping to share this graphic on social media?
Find it here on Facebook, or download a full-size, printer-friendly version at the bottom of this article!


Feel free to share it on your social media page or print it and use it at your next farmer's market as an educational resource.
 

Download the printer-friendly file here!


Have an idea for a future graphic? Email us your ideas to support@neafp.com

NEW Downloadable Content: March Coloring Page!

02/27/2020
by Michelle Just

Are you Feeling Lucky?

Even the Alpacas feel a bit Irish this March as they celebrate St. Patrick's Day. Our FREE March Coloring Sheet features a festive Suri Alpaca who's ready to lead you to a pot of gold! 

 

As the weather warms up, you'll be venturing outside for spring markets and open houses!. ..Hoping to entertain your youngest alpaca fans?
We've got you covered with a free downloadable coloring page!
 


Find it here on Facebook, or download a full-size, printer-friendly version at the bottom of this article!

Download the printer-friendly files here!

PDF Download - March Alpaca Coloring Page

High Resolution JPG Download - March Alpaca Coloring Page


Have an idea for a future graphic? Email us your ideas to support@neafp.com

February NEAFP Note: Navigating through the Alpaca Roaring 20's

02/21/2020
by Michelle Just

 

Our February 2020 NEAFP Note Newsletter is officially out!

Topics include:

Mike and Sean's Adventure in Retailing

NEW PRODUCT: Insulated Alpaca Tumbler

RSVP for the AOA National Show!

NEW PRODUCT: Botanical Alpaca Keychain

NEW ADD-ON: Big Cable Alpaca Blanket Add-On Options, & more!

Read it in full here: https://mailchi.mp/neafp/2020-february-neafp-note-3026021

Alpaca Knitter's Yarns & The Magic of Unicorn Yarn

02/20/2020
by Michelle Just

Alpaca Knitter’s Yarns
& The Magic of Unicorn Yarn

Perhaps we’re a bit biased, but we LOVE Alpaca Knitter’s yarns, and we especially love working with our dyed Unicorn Yarns. Every batch of Unicorn Yarn is unique, and each new colorway inspires heaps of new project ideas.


Why Alpaca Yarn?

Alpaca yarns are strong, yet soft. Like other alpaca products, the fiber used in Alpaca Knitter’s Yarns is a great insulator, meaning that hats, mittens, and afghans made out of alpaca yarn will keep you warmer in cold weather, than synthetic fibers and many other natural fibers. Don’t discount alpaca in warmer weather, either, as alpaca yarns make for breathable lightweight garments as well. A sportweight alpaca yarn could be the best choice for your next fluttery spring shawl. Our current blend of Knitter’s Yarns (70% US Alpaca and 30% US Merino Wool) is a much more sustainable, renewable choice when compared to yarns made out synthetics like acrylic! 
 

While everyone’s preferences differ, we’ve put together a table that will jumpstart your Alpaca Knitter’s Yarn know-how!

Sportweight Alpaca Yarn in natural and unicorn colors is suitable for a variety of projects. We've used sportweight yarn to make accessories like lightweight beanies and scarves, but sportweight yarn is also the perfect weight for craft projects like amigurumi!

DK Weight Alpaca Yarn is an incredibly versatile yarn, with just a bit more weight than Sportweight. The go-to yarn for our resident crocheter, DK yarn promises to make a warm and cozy hat, and works up quickly for larger projects like blankets.

Bulky Weight Alpaca Yarn more than lives up to its name. It glides across your knitting needles or crochet hooks like butter! Think thick cables and oversized cowls. Some chunky knit stockings are on our crafting to-do list for this year!


Unicorn-spiration

If you're trying to think of a project to keep you busy on the cold and dreary days of winter, take some inspiration from our past projects! We love all our knitter's yarns, but as you can see, we REALLY love working with Unicorn Yarn!

Article: Mike and Sean's Adventures in Retail

02/20/2020
by Michelle Just

Mike and Sean's Adventures in Retail

Carolina Alpaca Celebration 2020 Edition

 

Mike and I spent last weekend attending and vending at the Carolina Alpaca Celebration in Concord, North Carolina. This year thousands upon thousands of alpaca enthusiasts attended the show to see the alpacas, watch some judging, and check out the latest and greatest alpaca product offerings. In my 15 years of attending and vending at alpaca shows, this was by far the most general public I’ve seen in attendance. Hats off to the Carolina Alpaca Celebration show committee for getting the word out to the general public!

Normally 99% of our time spent at shows is talking with new alpaca farmers, showcasing our latest alpaca products to existing members, and running the fiber collection. With an overwhelming amount of general public, we spent much more time than usual hanging out with end consumers on the retail level.

Here are our main takeaways from working a more retail focused alpaca show.

The demand for the “Alpaca Brand” has never been higher!

Over 40% of our retail customers bought at least 1 item that did not contain any alpaca fiber. T-Shirts, our new Insulated Alpaca Tumblers, Keychains, and Mandala Magnets all were great add-on purchases and sold in high volume alongside our Socks, Inserts, Textured Slouch Beanies, and Fingerless Gloves. The Gift and Accessory Alpaca branded products did particularly well with retail customers under 40, and extremely well with customers under 25.

 

 

With over 250 retail transactions throughout the weekend, the add-on gift and accessory items really helped bring our average checkout amount up, boosting overall retail sales for the show.

When we asked the retail customers if they had heard of alpacas before attending the show, over 80% of them were at least a little familiar with alpacas!

Educational Signage and Banners Helped Sell!

From 9am until 4pm on Saturday we had anywhere between 5 and 12 people inside our booth browsing and shopping our alpaca wares. One thing we noticed quickly was that having good signage that quickly conveyed the benefits of alpaca, the story behind our business, and what makes our alpaca products stand out in a crowd, allowed us to close more sales without individually guiding each customer through the process.

This proved hugely beneficial with the amount of foot traffic walking through the show and our booth, allowing us to answer specific questions while checking out customers.

Signage that proactively answers the most common questions about our products put in prime spots throughout the booth really helped us sell more throughout the weekend.

Repeat Customers are a Testament to Good Products!

This was our 5th year attending the Carolina Alpaca Celebration Show and it was great to reconnect with retail customers from the area who we had previously encountered in years past. Many people came up to the booth, some even wearing what they bought last year, proclaiming to us how great the product was and they were back to buy more for themselves, family and friends. That type of repeat business can’t be beat, and it’s a testament to the great properties of alpaca fiber and the quality products it goes into producing.

The biggest repeat product sales for this particular show came in Socks, Inserts, and Knitters Yarns.

Our highest volume alpaca product sellers to all retail customers were: Survival Socks, Backpaca Hikers, Textured Slouch Beanies, Knitters Yarns (led by DK Weight and Unicorn Yarn), Boot Inserts, and Fingerless Gloves.

The Story Behind the Product is so Important!

One thing we consistently heard from retail customers is that they loved that our products were Made in the USA with U.S. Grown Alpaca. By walking through the animal pens, watching the alpacas in the show ring, and then checking out the finished goods, they all felt a bit more connected to what they were purchasing and exactly who and what they were supporting. North Carolina in particular seems very interested in supporting U.S. Grown, U.S Made agricultural and textile products. We repeatedly heard retail customers asking each vendor "Where is this made?" throughout the entire weekend.

When we are at shows, we’re there to service our farms who contribute fiber and retail our finished alpaca products. It was a nice change of pace to put on our alpaca retailer hats over the weekend and get some first hand experience on things we’ve already been hearing from all of you over the years!

NEW Product Add-On: Big Cable Alpaca Blanket

02/14/2020
by Michelle Just

Last February, we spotlighted our warm and cozy Big Cable Blanket as the perfect gift to give someone you love. This Valentine's Day, we're revisiting the Big Cable Blanket as we're excited to announce a new product Add-on. 


Not only does The Big Cable Blanket now ship with a free accompanying insert that highlights the blanket's journey from farm, to fiber, to a special someone in your life, we are also offering a special add-on Gift Tag to make your blanket even more memorable. 

NEW ADD-ON: Make your gift even more special by purchasing a wooden Gift Tag. Gift Tags are made in-house out of Alder wood and measure 5 3/8" x 1 7/8". Each tag can be attached to 1 1/2" wide ribbon for easy gift wrapping!

To have a Gift Tag added to your Big Cable Blanket, simply select the Add:On - Gift Tag ($5.00) option when placing your order.
 


February is a month for romance, hot cocoa by the fire, and cozy afternoons with a good book. Treat yourself, or someone you love to the luxury of our Big Cable Alpaca Blanket, made out of Mother Nature’s Finest U.S.A. Alpaca Fiber.
 
For our Big Cable Alpaca Blanket, we started with the warmest, softest, most comfortable all natural fiber grown in the country, U.S. Alpaca.
 
The natural breathability and moisture wicking properties of the alpaca combined with the loft of the oversized cable knit pattern make a blanket that will keep you warm and comfy year round. Hearkening to throws found in the finest of hotels, its generous size, hefty weight, and lush texture, make it perfect for layering over a bed, or draping over a loveseat or sectional.
 

 
The alpaca fiber in this blanket is grown across the U.S. on alpaca farms and spun into yarn in a century old spinning mill in Massachusetts. The alpaca yarn is knit into fabric in a 3rd generation knitting mill in New Jersey. Once knit, the blankets head back to us here in the Spindle City, Fall River, MA, where we cut, sew, and finish these beautiful blankets.
 
The evident quality and finesse of this heirloom blanket truly adds more “home” to your house, making it the perfect gift for someone who has it all and appreciates the best. The Big Cable Alpaca Blanket is available in a beautiful natural white and a rich fawn, both sure to complement any decor. The only problem? You may find that you want to keep the Big Cable Alpaca Blanket all for yourself!
 

 

 

NEW Downloadable Content: February Coloring Page!

01/29/2020
by Michelle Just

Love is in the Air...

Cupid's alpaca arrow has struck these two alpacas! If you're a romantic at heart, you'll love our February coloring page!

 

Winter markets and open houses continue into the new year!... Hoping to entertain your youngest alpaca fans?
We've got you covered with a free downloadable coloring page!
 


Find it here on Facebook, or download a full-size, printer-friendly version at the bottom of this article!

Download the printer-friendly files here!

PDF Download - February Alpaca Coloring Page

High Resolution JPG Download - February Alpaca Coloring Page


Have an idea for a future graphic? Email us your ideas to support@neafp.com

January NEAFP Note: 2020 and Beyond, 23 Years of US Alpaca

01/23/2020
by NEAFP Co

 

Our January 2020 NEAFP Note Newsletter is officially out!

Topics include:

2020 and Beyond, 23 Years of US Alpaca

Harnessing Sales Momentum in the New Year

RSVP for Carolina Alpaca Celebration

2020 Spring Show Lineup

January's Winter Coloring Page

Back in Stock: Textured Slouch Beanies and Kids Mittens, & more!

Read it in full here: https://mailchi.mp/neafp/2020-january-neafp-note

2020 Spring Alpaca Shows

01/08/2020
by Michelle Just

Each year NEAFP participates as a vendor in many alpaca shows scattered across the country. We are happy to haul your fiber back to our mill for free (RSVP with the links below!) We also deliver orders for free to shows we are attending as a vendor, just place your order at least a week before the event and save on shipping costs both ways!

Please note that Third Grade Fiber is NOT Eligible for Event Collections.

 

Carolina Alpaca Celebration

Fiber Collection RSVP HERE

February 15th - 16th, 2020

Concord, NC

show website

 

PAOBA Breeder's Showcase

Fiber Collection RSVP HERE

March 20 - 22nd, 2020

Centre Hall, PA

show website

 

North American Alpaca Show - Fiber Collection RSVP HERE

April 4th-5th, 2020

Springfield, MA

show website

 

MAPACA Jubilee

Fiber Collection RSVP HERE

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Article: Harnessing Holiday Sales Momentum in the New Year

01/07/2020
by Michelle Just


Alpaca farm stores across the nation report that 2019 was a record year for sales of alpaca goods, and it’s no surprise that the holidays were a huge sales driver. However, many business owners find that sales fall flat after the holiday season. The fall festivals and Christmas markets that are a touchstone of the season certainly make it easier to find customers and connect them to the gifts they are searching for. Though it may require some extra legwork, the diligent alpaca farmer can find ways to harness their holiday sales momentum into the New Year.

 

Remember What You're Selling


Unlike some holiday gifts, alpaca products go hand-in-hand with cold weather. Don’t forget that winter only officially began on December 21st! It will be a long winter, and it’s bound to get colder and snowier. Alpaca socks, gloves, and hats, among other products, are naturally soft, strong and warm, making them great winter insulators! Warm, cozy alpaca clothing and accessories are a no brainer, but cold winters spent inside are also great times to knit. Alpaca yarns are a great item to market during the winter to your crafty customers.

Communicating the benefits of alpaca with potential customers can make or break a sale. Perhaps your customer received a pair of new snow boots for Christmas. Make their boots last longer and feel even warmer with a pair of alpaca boot inserts, by stressing alpaca’s moisture wicking and odor resistant properties!
 

Using clear marketing collateral at your farm or market booth can really help communicate the benefits of alpaca to your customer base. You can find a number of such posters in the Marketing & Collateral section of our website (which can be viewed when signed into your shopping account).

 

Market to the "New Year" Mentality



 

“New Year, New You!” so the saying goes! Even before the holiday decor comes down, stores begin stocking up on cleaning products, exercise equipment, and health foods. For many, the New Year is synonymous with a lifestyle change, and resolutions mean a fresh start focusing on self-care. All-natural alpaca fiber is a healthy choice for clothing and accessories, as it’s naturally hypo-allergenic and odor resistant without the use of treatments and finishes. U.S. grown and made alpaca is renewable, sustainable, and beneficial for the climate at every stage of its life cycle. This makes it a perfect fit for customers hoping to to support slow, feel-good fashion and local small businesses as part of an overall lifestyle change.  As an alpaca farmer and local business owner, it's your job to educate your customers on the power of their dollar and the meaningful story behind U.S. Grown, U.S. Made Alpaca.

 

 

 

Reward Your Biggest Fans

 


For those who have received cash under the tree or in their stockings, a pair of alpaca socks could be the perfect gift. Incentivize post-holiday sales by offering a promotion to your customers. Even the most shopped-out shopper may not be able to resist a good deal! Utilize your growing email list and social media fanbase to market directly to your best customers and supporters. This could be through offering free shipping, a storewide sale, or a free gift with purchase. Even better? Take account of your inventory and discount your slower moving products with your own New Year's clean sweep. Not only will your customers appreciate the markdown, but you'll be able to make room in your inventory for the essentials in the upcoming year.

 

Plan for Upcoming Holidays

 


Now is the time to start planning for smaller holidays like Valentine's Day, and even events like the Superbowl. The National Retail Federation found that in 2019, planned celebrations of Valentine’s Day were down, but spending was up. If trends for 2020 compare to those of 2019, an increasing number of shoppers will search for experiential gifts, rather than a bouquet of flowers or boxes of candy. As we noted in a previous article, farmers have found agritourism to be widely successful source of income. Your farm could host a one-on-one meeting with an alpaca on Valentine's Day, or be the backdrop for a wine tasting, paint night, or other romantic event.


 

Reflect on 2019 and Prepare for the New Year

 


Even though sales may be down in comparison to November or December, it’s not the time to go silent. Be sure to continue marketing your products on social media, which is reportedly surpassing email marketing to become the most powerful marketing channel available. If possible, follow up and thank holiday shoppers, and ask them for a review on social media! Positive reviews can help drive business in your slow season, and you may simultaneously remind previous customers that they need to reorder something from you in the new year!

Remember, a dip in sales is to be expected after the holiday season, especially as the NRF reports that holiday sales represent about 20-30% of annual sales for most retailers. Use your downtime to plan for the following year. This may be through budgeting, or by creating new content for your social media page with the help of a social media calendar.

Consider what did well for you in the previous year, and what you could improve on. Think about the pop-up markets and events you attended - how were their sales compared to previous years? Make a list of pros and cons of each and start planning your calendar for the upcoming show season. Were there certain products that did well, or months that sales fell flat? If possible, find a way to highlight what you did well and troubleshoot what went wrong before things pick up again next fall... and don't forget to congratulate yourself for the job well done in 2019!

Cheers to 2020!
 



We hope that these Business Resource Blog Posts have been helpful. Is there a topic you'd like us to cover in a future post? Write to us at support@neafp.com

 

NEW Downloadable Content: January Coloring Page!

01/06/2020
by Michelle Just

Although the holidays are over... the cold and snow are here to stay!

The alpacas are itching to get out and play. Even if there's no snow on the ground, the January coloring page will give you the chance to play by putting the finishing touches on the alpaca's snowman!

 

Winter markets and open houses continue into the new year!... Hoping to entertain your youngest alpaca fans?
We've got you covered with a free downloadable coloring page!
 


Find it here on Facebook, or download a full-size, printer-friendly version at the bottom of this article!

Download the printer-friendly files here!

PDF Download - January Alpaca Coloring Page

High Resolution JPG Download - January Alpaca Coloring Page


Have an idea for a future graphic? Email us your ideas to support@neafp.com

U.S. Alpaca Holiday Gift Guide

12/12/2019
by Michelle Just

Still Searching for the Perfect Holiday Gift?

If you're like us, you might have put off some (or all) of your holiday shopping. We've put together a gift guide to make giving a little more joyous! Take a look at these top picks for all the people on your list. 

All these U.S. Alpaca items are available at a farm store near you, just use our

store locator here: http://bit.ly/alpacafarmstores