Thanksgiving Shipping Schedule

11/22/2016
by NEAFP Co

NEAFP will be closed this Thursday and Friday (Nov. 24th and 25th) for Thanksgiving. We will begin processing and shipping orders in the order they were received starting on Monday Nov. 28th. Thank you and we hope you all have a safe holiday!

Our Happy Holiday Sale has ended, Thank you!

11/17/2016
by NEAFP Co

Our Holiday Sale has ended, Thank You!

Back In Stock: Driving Gloves, DYED Scarves and Hats, Cable Wrist Warmers

11/03/2016
by NEAFP Co


We have a few back in stock updates!

Back in Stock and ready to ship:

Driving Gloves - Large - Dark Grey (limited supply)

Driving Gloves - Medium - Brown

Boucle Mittens - Small - Grey - Limited Supply (Slightly different sizing due to being from first prototype batch with new manufacturer - see note in Color Inventory Page)

Wrist Warmers - Cable - Fawn

DYED Cable and Lace Scarves: Wildberry, Forest Green

DYED Cable Knit Beanie: Wildberry

DYED Watch Cap: Wildberry


Happy Halloween!

10/31/2016
by NEAFP Co

Article: The Slow Alpaca

10/30/2016
by NEAFP Co

The Slow Alpaca

by Sean Riley

Originally published in the 2016 Showtacular Showbook

Over the last 30 years there’s been a noticeable shift in consumer mentality around the globe, particularly in regards to our modern day food systems. Through the democratization of knowledge, populations across the planet have gained access to more information and have become better informed about the food and products they consume daily. In 1986, when a McDonald's franchise was being constructed in Rome, Italy, an Italian Journalist Carlo Petrini became outraged and the Slow Food movement was officially born.


Petrini saw the uprising of the industrial, multinational corporatization of the global food system a direct threat to Italy's rich culinary history and ultimately the rest of the world's national and regional food systems.


“We are enslaved by speed and have all succumbed to the same insidious virus: Fast Life, which disrupts our habits, pervades the privacy of our homes and forces us to eat Fast Foods... A Firm defense of quiet material pleasure is the only way to oppose the universal folly of Fast Life... May suitable doses of guaranteed sensual pleasure and slow, long-lasting enjoyment preserve us from the contagion of the multitude who mistake frenzy for efficiency. Our defense should begin at the table with Slow Food. Let us rediscover the flavors and savors of regional cooking and banishing the degrading effects of Fast Food.” (Excerpt from the Official Slow Food Manifesto, as published in “Slow Food: A Case for Taste” in 2001).


The Slow Food movement at its core strives to counterbalance the growth of global, industrial, centralized food systems that destabilize regional economies while prioritizing profit margins over all else. With profit and growth the underlying motivation behind all decisions, it becomes inevitable that the quality and nutritional value of the food and food products produced will deplete over time while off balance sheet resources are exploited. What we end up with is a food system that’s disconnected with its natural origins and no longer serves the people it’s feeding or the land it’s grown on. Fast, industrialized food in it’s current form, is simply not sustainable. Out of necessity, comes invention, and the Slow Food movement was born.



One major sign of the Slow Food Movement that we’ve all experienced in the last decade is the rise of Farmer’s Markets. Over the last 20 years Farmers Markets have grown by almost 500% in the U.S. These markets have sprung up as community places where local and regional farms can bring their products direct to consumer. According to the American Farm Bureau Federation, a farm selling produce through a typical grocery chain store distribution model will only make upwards of 19% profit on the food they produce. By taking their produce direct to the retail market, the farm is able to see a much higher profit margin, allowing them to be more sustainable on smaller scale operations. Across the country, many alpaca farms take part in this grassroots community movement by sharing their alpacas, the fiber, and the products it produces with their local communities. The slow and steady rise of the Slow Food Movement and the localized community food markets that have sprung up to support it are the result of people asking new questions about the food they consume:




What is the food that I eat made from?


Where and Who grows it?


How is it grown and made?


Is it grown in a healthy and sustainable manner?


Who benefits from its sale and consumption?




With the growth of the Slow Food movement across the globe over the last 30 years, it’s apparently clear the impact the general consumers shift in purchasing has had on the larger food industry. Local, Regional based food economies have grown exponentially, along with the rise of organic, non-GMO, and farm to table business and marketing initiatives. It is safe to say that the Slow Food movement has officially become an industry in its own right, as well as begun influencing industries outside of food itself.



Food, being one of the, if not the most essential need for human survival, was the first of many global industries to be disrupted through this shift in consumer perspective. Another pillar on the base of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Pyramid is Clothing; the next logical step for this growing frontier.



The Slow Fashion term was officially coined by Kate Fletcher in 2007, at the Centre of Sustainable Fashion in the UK. Slow Fashion is not a seasonal trend that comes and goes like animal print, but a sustainable fashion movement that defines itself as: a term which describes clothing which lasts a long time and is often made from locally-sourced or fair-trade material, ultimately contributing to a more sustainable society and economy. The Slow Fashion movement, like the Slow Food Movement, is a direct response to the off the accounting book costs to the Fast Fashion world we find ourselves in today where clothes are made to be worn once, fall apart after a few wears, and be thrown away and replaced soon after. It's time we started to embrace the Sustainable Fashion Movement.


With the rise of Fast Fashion over the last 20 years, where trends are measured in days instead of seasons and the life span of a garment is measured in months instead of years, the Fashion industry has proven to be ripe for disruption via the Slow ideals movement. Like the Slow Food movement that grew organically as a direct response to Fast Food threatening a rich culinary history, Slow Fashion is positioning itself as a counterbalance to the recent wear once retail trends of the late 90s and 2000s. Much like Fast Food, Fast Fashion lacks connectedness, soul, & integrity. Cheap, mass produced garments are generic and expendable and don’t hold any true value besides making the purchaser feel trendy for that small window of time the garment is indeed considered “fashionable.”


In order to drive sales, Fast Fashion brands offer their garments at the lowest possible cost to consumers and maintain profitability by producing goods as cheaply as possible. To reduce the cost of the products they produce and maintain profitability, they’ve turned to moving the true cost of these products off their accounting balance sheets. These true, “unaccountable” costs of the Fast Fashion industry are the exploited labor force in developing nations, the rampart pollution in countries with lax environmental protection laws, the wasteful use of energy to move material and goods across the globe, and the loss of self sustainability of national and regional economies. Besides the true costs of Fast Fashion piling up on the manufacturers end, we are also starting to see the indirect result on the consumer side.


According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the EPA Office of Solid Waste, the average American Family spends over $1700 on clothes a year while each member of the household throws away 65 lbs of clothing during that same period. In 1930, the average American Woman owned 9 complete outfits, today it’s 30(Forbes). Although the average American’s wardrobe and need for closet space is expanding, the majority of us still wear only 20% of our clothing 80% of the time.


The alternative to all of this is the slowly growing alternative of ethically sourced and produced Slow Fashion. The garments are made from low impact, renewable resources and designed to be durable and last. Produced in an ethical environment, free of exploitative labor, hidden pollution and environmental costs through global transport and finishing/dyeing techniques, and the reduction of hazardous chemicals in the manufacturing process. The movement calls for accountability through the entire production life cycle of a product, from the time it’s raw material, all the way through it’s manufacturer, purchase, & use.


Much like the Slow Food movement, as more people become aware of the true, off balance sheet costs of the clothing they purchase and wear everyday, people are looking to educate themselves and seek out alternatives and the Slow Fashion movement is a direct result in this shift in consumer behavior.


In order to truly understand the impact of any particular product, we have to analyze its Life Cycle. We can follow it from Raw Material, Processing, Assembly, and Distribution to the end user to better understand its true impact and story.


Although the U.S. accounts for 28% of the world's clothing purchases, only about 2% of those garments are made in U.S. based textile mills. When analyzing a typical Fast Fashion cotton t-shirts product life cycle, from raw material in the field to finished product ready to wear, we can start to appreciate the true environmental and social costs behind the limited time $4.99 price tag. The typical cotton t shirt starts off as cotton in the field, consuming tremendous amounts of water, petroleum based pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers to grow and flourish. Once harvested, it begins consuming vast amounts of energy to be transported across the globe and turned into yarn and fabric. The cotton fabric will be dyed using hazardous chemicals that if not handled properly will pollute the local environment. From there it will travel across the globe again, to be cut, sewn, and finished, in most cases by exploited labor in developing nations with little to no labor protections in place. Now that it’s a finished t-shirt, it will travel even further to eventually reach a retail rack near you; to be purchased, worn, lost in the back of the closet, and eventually forgotten.


As we learn about the true costs behind fast fashion, it’s natural that alternatives begin to pop up on the other end of the spectrum. The U.S. Alpaca Fiber Industry is a great example of one such counter balance point. When following the flow of a U.S. Alpaca Products life cycle, we can see the stark differences.


The Alpaca fiber starts off in the field, being grown on an animal that is an efficient eater, consumer of water, requires little intervention, and with it’s padded feet physically treads lightly on the land. Once humanely harvested, the fiber is collected before being sent off to domestic textile mills & turned into yarn and fabric. The U.S. based textile mills are in many cases century old businesses, with strong labor and environmental protections put in place to ensure the quality of their work environments and to safeguard their local communities from unwanted pollution. From here the finished yarn and fabric goes off to to be knit, woven, cut, sewn, and finished by a U.S. skilled craftsman earning a living wage. In the case of the current U.S. Alpaca Fiber Industry, a vast majority of those finished products end up back on the farm to be brought directly to local market. When the same alpaca farmer who raised the animal, and harvested the fiber is also sharing those finished goods with their local communities, they receive the highest profit margin on the fiber.


This is a simple analysis of the production life cycle when comparing the status quo fast fashion cotton t-shirt, to the ever Slow U.S. Alpaca good, but it’s very clear to see the stark contrast. Due to the size of the U.S. Alpaca industry and being a high cost producer of fiber, U.S. alpaca farms will not be able to compete on the global commodity market. Although we can’t compete on price and volume of raw alpaca fiber in international markets, we are positioned to take our goods directly to one of the largest textile market places in the world which happens to be located right in our backyards. We don’t need to compete with the existing Fast Fashion paradigm, but rather define our own game where we already have a strategic advantage.


Ana getting ready to sew at NEAFP.



As farmers, fiber growers, and in many cases the retail distributor, it’s important that we acknowledge this growing shift towards Slow Fashion, it’s ideals, and how we can position ourselves as individual businesses and an industry to cater to it. The Fast Fashion system we have in place today is simply not sustainable and it's true underlying costs are beginning to pile up around the planet and can no longer be ignored. As more people wake up to the truth behind the garments they purchase everyday, the demand for more sustainable and transparent options will rise.


Carol inspecting Survival Socks before labeling at NEAFP.


It boils down to sharing our story, about the alpacas, their fiber, and the finished goods they produce. Along with the normal selling attributes like warmth, strength, and comfort factor, we need to also be sharing it’s back story. The majority of U.S. Alpaca products that are being produced in the U.S. have a positive, low impact supply chain behind them that directly benefits many local and regional economies around the country. We need to study Slow Food and the problems that it is solving, and contemplate the questions that people are beginning to ask about their clothes.


Matt preparing orders for shipment at NEAFP.


We already have the answers that our future customers are asking:


What is it made from? Where & How is it made? Who benefits from its sale?


Each purchase of a product Made in the U.S. from U.S. Grown Alpaca Fiber, supports the farm or small business that brought it to market, the farm & alpacas that produced the fiber, and the many textile mills that helped manufacturer it. As people become conscious of where, how, and of what their clothing & accessories are made from, the U.S. Alpaca fiber industry will be there to service and grow with this expanding market.


With the democratization of knowledge, through the growth of the internet age, it’s never been easier to connect to our peers and share our story. We have the tools to send information across the planet and back in a split second, it’s time we crafted our message and positioned ourselves and our alpacas as the poster children of the rising Slow Fashion movement. While showcasing our animals, the great attributes of their fiber and clothing made from it, we need to humanize the people and the mills behind their production. At every step along the way, from raw fiber in the field to finished goods at the farmer’s market, U.S. Alpaca products feel warm and fuzzy at each step of the way, it’s time we showcase and share that love with everyone.


Written by Sean Riley of the New England Alpaca Fiber Pool Inc. - August 2016



Version 1.0 of our Farm Store Locator is now live

10/29/2016
by NEAFP Co

Our Farm Store Locator is now live!

Check it out here: http://bit.ly/alpacafarmstores

Want to get listed? Submit your Farm Store Here

NEAFP's Referral Program is now Live!

09/28/2016
by NEAFP Co

NEAFP's Referral Program

We are happy to announce the launch of NEAFP's Refer a New Customer Program!

Existing customers can receive a $20 coupon code to be used on your next order by referring a new alpaca farmer to NEAFP. Share your personal referral link with them and when they sign up for an account and place their first order over $250 with NEAFP, you will receive an email with the discount code.


How to Get your Personal Referral Link

To get a copy of your personal referral link, login to your shopping account @ www.neafp.com. Once logged in, head to your "Profile Details" Page and scroll to the bottom:

Hit the Generate button to create your account's personal link.

Once generated, your referral program link will always be located at the bottom of your Profile Details page.

Just copy and paste the link to send to a prospective alpaca farm.

Once they click the link, register for an account, and place their first order over $250 we will email you the $20 coupon code to use on a future order!

There are no limits on how many new customers you can refer to NEAFP but this offer will only work when referring a new customer who also places their first order over $250.







Article: The Importance of Being Mobile Friendly

09/15/2016
by NEAFP Co

The Importance of being Mobile Friendly

By Brianna Paon
Would you like to know a wild fact? Studies show that 91% of people keep their phone within three feet of themselves 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year—pretty crazy, but not surprising. It is 2016, which, in comparison to ten years ago, is a time where many if not most people practically live on their phones. When they are trying to use the Internet, they do so on their mobile devices 9 out of 10 times. Just about anything you need to know can be found right at your fingertips now. This is why it is so unbelievably important for businesses, especially small businesses, to be on board with making their website, online stores, and overall content mobile friendly. The thought may seemingly be overwhelming considering how technology is evolving faster than businesses can keep up, but making a mobile-friendly website compatible with all platforms is simpler than you think. A mobile friendly web presence will prove to be beneficial for generating revenue as well as attracting new customers to your physical and online farm stores.

It is no doubt that you have put in a great deal of time and effort to make your business the best that it can be—but if you are skipping out on making the face of your business readily available to mobile devices, you could be turning down a whole lot of potential business. An additional research study shows that 79% of people who don’t like what they find on one site will go back and search for another site. How unfortunate is it to lose out on business to other competition simply due to somebody’s 30-second-long, poor browsing experience? Recently, Google and other major search engines have begun prioritizing search results by how mobile friendly the web pages are. As more people access the web more of the time using a mobile device, it's important to keep your business on their radar by catering to this growing trend.


Fortunately, there are multiple website-building platforms that are both inexpensive and easy to use. Many of you may already be utilizing one of these platforms, but ones we have found to be the overall best are Squarespace, Wix, Shopify and Weebly. While Weebly is known to be extremely user friendly and flexible, Squarespace allows more importing and exporting of blog content from other social media platforms to help tie all of your data together in one place. Shopify is very simple and clean and allows up to 70 different payment methods (wow!) where Wix has some great features with very cool integration's as well. Each platform has overlapping settings with one another, yet all have unique features of their own. Your decision in choosing a website-building platform should depend on your volume, your staff, your target market and whichever is easier for you to navigate through. The easier it is for you to navigate through your site, the easier it will most likely be for your customers too. In addition, all of these platforms include some beautiful design templates that you have the option of picking, making it easier for you to choose an appropriate theme for displaying your farm store.

While you want your website to showcase your products with aesthetic appeal, its main priorities should revolve around customer convenience and saving time. Even a tiny chunk of time is crucial to many people in this day and age, and any second that is hassle-free is lastingly beneficial. As you can tell, there are a multitude of advantages to making your website a mobile-friendly platform, and if you haven’t hopped on board with it yet, there is no better day to get started than today. It will not be too long until you are wondering how your business ever managed without it!

September NEAFP Note: A Little Thank You & Becoming Mobile Friendly

09/07/2016
by NEAFP Co


NEAFP Note: A Little Thank You & Becoming Mobile Friendly
September 2016

In case you missed out our latest email newsletter just went out. In September's NEAFP Note we cover:

  • A Little Thank You
  • Article: The Importance of Becoming Mobile Friendly
  • Take Our Online Farm Store Survey!
  • Farm Store Locator Registration
  • Upcoming Alpaca Shows

CLICK HERE TO READ OUR LATEST NEAFP NOTE

View the NEAFP Note Archive | Sign Up for our monthly NEAFP Note Newsletter

Aug. NEAFP Note: 2 Weeks left to Stock UP & Tools to Increase Sales

08/19/2016
by NEAFP Co


NEAFP Note: Two Weeks left to Stock Up & Tools to Increase Sales
August 2016


In case you missed out our latest email newsletter just went out. In August's NEAFP Note we cover:

  • Just Two Weeks left in our Stock Up Sale
  • Article: Increase Your Sales
  • Take Our Survey!
  • Latest Catalog Additions
  • Important Fiber Collection Dates
  • Farm Store Locator Registration
  • Upcoming Alpaca Shows

CLICK HERE TO READ OUR LATEST NEAFP NOTE

View the NEAFP Note Archive | Sign Up for our monthly NEAFP Note Newsletter

Article: Use Gift Cards to Increase Sales

08/17/2016
by NEAFP Co

Increase your Sales this Holiday Season


By Brianna Paon

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



Survey: Help us serve you better!

08/17/2016
by NEAFP Co

NEAFP Needs your HELP!


As a service provider for U.S. Alpaca farmers that's business is only successful when you are successful, we need some information!

We are going to begin offering more alpaca farm and small business related resources to you all in the very near future.

To fine tune that information so it directly relates to your current and future business practices, we periodically will be releasing quick surveys to find out what farms across the country are doing to run their businesses.


We will be analyzing (& sharing) all the information we collect as resources and articles in future NEAFP Notes!


Please take 2 minutes to fill out our (very) brief survey on Payment Methods!

Hunter Orange Watch Caps and Alpaca Beanies back in stock!

08/15/2016
by NEAFP Co

We just finished up our first batch of Hunter Orange Watch Caps and Alpaca Beanies!

They are back on the website and ready to ship.


Back in Stock: Watch Caps, Cable Beanies, Alpaca Beanies, & Radar MASH Hats

08/15/2016
by NEAFP Co

We've just added more color options available in the Knit Hats listed above!

Our Stock Up Sale has ended, Thank you!

07/31/2016
by NEAFP Co

Our Stock Up Sale has ended, Thank you!

Historically the month of August has always been the hottest and one of the busiest here at NEAFP. During the dog days of summer we've started working through this year's fiber harvest and farms have begun ramping up their inventory for the fast approaching Fall and Winter sales season.

To jump start the Fall and hopefully bring us all a little break from the heat, we are excited to launch our annual Stock Up Sale!

Let's make this August NEAFP's sweatiest month yet!


STOCK UP SALE

FREE SHIPPING on Orders over $500
+
10% OFF Orders over $1000



The Stock Up Sale will run until August 31st, 2016. All Stock Up SALE promotions will automatically be applied to your shopping cart once it qualifies.

Have fiber in the queue? Not a problem! Take advantage of the sale now and let us know what collection your fiber is in the queue from.

The 10% OFF discount will not be applied to socks already receiving the case price discount or 5 dozen packs of Boot Inserts. This sale cannot be combined with other promotions. This sale can only be applied to items currently in stock.


One Shade of (Slate) Grey Mittens now available in limited quantities!

07/19/2016
by NEAFP Co

We've begun doing small DYE runs of our unlined Alpaca Mittens to offer a bit more color. This first limited batch is available in "One Shade of (Slate) Grey". We've added 3 packs to the website at both Fiber and Wholesale pricing - check them out!

Some Closeouts Added to Catalog

07/18/2016
by NEAFP Co

In preparation of our next big manufacturing wave we are cleaning up some odds and ends around the mill. There are two new closeouts added to the website!

We received a small batch of our Basketweave Infinity Scarves that were knit out of our Huacaya Alpaca Yarn instead of the usual Suri Alpaca Blend. They are beautiful and functional in every way but due to us not planning to carry this design in this yarn spec, we are closing them out.


This DK-Weight Yarn is perfectly fine and usable. We are listing it as a closeout due to the yarn getting too much agitation when it was being washed and finished. The extra agitation caused it to become a bit too fuzzy so we have winded it up into yarn balls and are closing it out.

Each Ball weighs approximately 3.5 oz with about 185 yards of yarn.




New Addition to Spindle City Collection: Granite

07/15/2016
by NEAFP Co

Spindle City Collection: The Granite Headband

We are happy to announce the latest addition to our Spindle City Collection: The Granite Headband. This blur like pixelated pattern was inspired by the granite bedrock that makes up Fall River, it's iconic granite mills, and much of the Narragansett Bay.

via Fall River Granite Wiki

The Granite Headband is available and ready to ship!

Want to learn more about The Spindle City Collection? Check out our short introduction video:



NEAFP closed for 4th of July Week

07/01/2016
by NEAFP Co

NEAFP's office and mill will be closed for our annual Summer Vacation during the week of 4th of July.

We will be closed Friday July 1st through Friday July 8th and re-opening on Monday July 11th.

During this week we will not be processing orders so please get your time sensitive orders in before hand! All orders and support submitted during this week will be handled beginning Monday July 11th.

We hope you all have a safe and relaxing holiday and we look forward to hitting the ground running when we return!

New Website is Live!

06/29/2016
by NEAFP Co

It's been a few long days in the making but our upgraded website is now live and accepting orders!

All user accounts and order history have transferred over.

Right now there are a few odds and ends that need tweaking but 95% of the website is up and operational. If you notice something acting a little funny let us know about it and we will also be in the process of getting things up to 100%.

Thank you for your patience during our downtime!