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Join NEAFP at the AOA Fiber Extravaganza!

by Michelle Just

NEAFP is heading to the AOA Fiber Extravaganza!

In just a few short weeks, NEAFP will be heading to Nashville, Tennessee in for the AOA’s Natural Fiber Extravaganza. Held from July 19th through the 21st, the Natural Fiber Extravaganza is a celebration of all things alpaca fiber. Join other alpaca farmers for a weekend of fleece and fiber art shows, workshops and seminars, and even alpaca yoga!

A number of competitions will take place throughout the weekend, including a spin-off, fiber arts competition, student design competition, and alpaca photo contest. Of course, AOA’s International Fleece Show, the largest Alpaca Fleece show in the northern hemisphere, is not to be missed. Looking to bolster your alpaca-related skills or knowledge? Exciting workshops will allow for hands-on experience in skills such as spinning, felting, and dyeing, while seminars throughout the weekend promise to educate on a range of topics ranging from marketing to sustainable fashion.

NEAFP will be one of many vendors available to peruse, so come place your order for U.S. alpaca products and check out some of our exciting new items like our Alpaca T-shirts! Don’t forget to register on the AOA website for the Carbon Farming Seminar led by NEAFP’s own Chris Riley. Chris recently organized a carbon farming group of local alpaca farms, federal, state and local agriculture organizations to study carbon farming and its effect on the environment. Chris is excited to share what he has learned about sustainability and the intersection between carbon farming and alpaca farms on Sunday, July 21st.

We hope to see you there!

NEW Downloadable Content: Happy Mother's Day! Alpaca Mothers & Crias

by Michelle Just

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!


Just in time for Mother's Day! A Shareable graphic about Alpaca moms and their crias!

Check out our other downloadable graphics in previous blog posts:

1.  The Camelidae Family

2.  4 Common Alpaca Myths

3.  Earth Day: The Sustainable Alpaca

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

May NEAFP Note is here, Happy Mother's Day!


Our May 2019 NEAFP Note newsletter is officially out!

In this NEAFP Note:

  • Happy Mother's Day
  • Article: Brand Identity
  • New Unicorn Yarn Colorway
  • New limited T-Shirt Colorway
  • RSVP for Parade of Champions
  • RSVP for 10th Annual Shearing Competition

Read it in full here:

New limited Love Alpaca Mandala T-Shirt color way available now!


Our 2nd round of Love Alpaca Mandala T-Shirts are finished and ready to ship now.

Along with a restock in our existing color ways we also produced a limited run of the Navy Shirts w/ Pink graphics and they came out beautiful!

Although it's been raining for about a month straight here in our neck of the woods, we channeled the warmer months to put together this cute Outfit of the Day!

Celebrating Mother's Day early with a new Unicorn Yarn Colorway


Happy Mother's Day!

We wanted to celebrate a little early to share our latest colorway of Unicorn Yarn.

Inspired by all of our Mother's unconditional love, Forget Me Not is hand-painted on our latest all natural DK Weight Knitter's Yarn.

Available now as part of our Limited Small Batch category!


Article: Brand Identity & Your Local Community

by Michelle Just

Once shearing is behind you, and you’ve taken some time to breathe, you may find it worthwhile to review your branding strategy for the coming year.

As we’ve discussed before, it is important to understand and use different branding strategies to achieve success. From choosing and photographing your products, to exploring different avenues of social media marketing, now is the time to reflect on the messages you hope to communicate to your potential customers. Most farms could not be successful without patronage by their local community members, who look to them for alpaca products, educational information and opportunities to engage with the animals. The way that you brand yourself can make you a more visible authority on all things alpaca, driving your influence in your local community.

Educate and Communicate

Rather than considering yourself solely an alpaca farmer that sells alpaca products, envision your farm as an important community resource. If possible, take on a leadership mentality and become the local authority on alpacas and alpaca products. Put extra effort into educating your customers so that they know to return to you with further questions about alpacas. They will appreciate the information, and will likely associate your knowledge with higher quality products. Customers are more likely to invest in your brand if it is a cause that they support or trust, so take the time to communicate with potential customers transparently.

How can you put this into practice? A good example is the recent interest in “pet” alpacas. It is wise to have educational material posted at booths and farms to dispel rumors or myths in the first place. However, once you receive such an inquiry, rather than alienating the potential customer who is interested in a “pet” alpaca, invite them to visit your farm and explain how alpacas operate within a herd. You can invite this person to return to visit your happy herd in the future, while (hopefully) discouraging them from acquiring one as a pet.  

Did you miss our Downloadable Poster on Alpaca Myths? Head here to download a full-size version to post at your farm store!

Get Involved

In addition to becoming an educational resource, strive to become an active member of your local community. Don’t forget that your farm itself can be an important community space, as many alpaca farms have begun offering their site as an event space for fitness activities like yoga and private events like weddings. Consider reaching out to local portrait photographers to see if they’d be interested in using your property as a shoot location! While you may already participate local market events, think about other ways to increase your brand recognition through community engagement. Go to local events with alpacas, even out of market season, and remember to keep your social media active!

Here are some other ways to get involved:

-Donate a product to a local charity auction/raffle
-Sponsor a youth sports league
-Volunteer at a local event
-Visit schools, hospitals, or retirement communities
-Partner with another organization for a special project

Creating Memorable Branding Elements

Creating memorable branding elements can raise greater value or equity in your brand, by raising recognition among your customers and local community. Your brand name, logo, any slogans you may use are just a few examples of branding elements. These elements should be unique enough to set you apart from your competition, while being relevant to your role as an alpaca farmer and producer of alpaca goods.

Your brand name, in this case your farm or farm business name, should ideally be easy to pronounce and spell, and unique but not over the top. It should resonate with potential customers and signal to them who you are and what you do.

If you’re in the process of branding your farm many individuals take into consideration their name, their location, and the qualities of their alpacas in creating a name for themselves.

logo is an important tool to use across your marketing collateral: on business cards, websites, labels, and market booths, as a form of identification. Like your brand name, your logo should tell your story to the public. It should be simple, yet also relevant and communicate information about your brand. Consider also the color of your design elements, which can change the overall feeling of your brand.

For this article, we came up with a fictional Alpaca Farm to give an example of one route to take:

Time to Start Somewhere

Sure, it seems like a lot to take in, but there’s no better time to begin considering your brand! Start small by filling out a branding worksheet, many of which can be found online. Good Egg Marketing’s Brand Identity Worksheet is a great example of a worksheet designed to help you gain valuable insight about your brand.

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


NEW Downloadable Content: Earth Day - The Sustainable Alpaca

by Michelle Just

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!


In the spirit of Earth Day, we're highlighting how alpacas are ecologically friendly in our newest downloadable, sharable graphic.

Check out our other downloadable graphics in previous blog posts:

1.  The Camelidae Family

2.  4 Common Alpaca Myths

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

NEW Downloadable Content: Alpaca Myths!

by Michelle Just

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!


We’re following up our last graphic on the the Camelidae Family with a new downloadable, sharable graphic on Alpaca Myths. This graphic combines "4 Common Myths About Alpacas" into one handy graphic to help dispel misconceptions about our favorite animals!

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

Downloadable Content for Alpaca Farms and More!

by Michelle Just


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!


We’re often asked whether alpaca farmers can use our photos and descriptions of NEAFP products on their personal pages. The answer is always a resounding YES! Part of our job is to make it easier for you, the alpaca farmer, to successfully run the fiber side of your business.

We know you’re busy tending your herd, taking inventory of your products, and arranging your next market, so it might not always be easy to photograph products or create business collateral. In addition to creating our new Marketing & Collateral section of the website (which can be viewed when signed into your shopping account) we have some exciting things in store for 2019.

Keep your eyes peeled for updated product photography, continued product spotlights, and printable posters.

Our educational “Alpacas & The Camelidae Family” Poster is free for you to print and post at your farm or in your shop!

Download the printer-friendly file here!

New Product: Alpaca Mocks Now Available!

by Michelle Just

Introducing Alpaca Mocks...

... Just in time for Spring!

After the overwhelming success of our BACKPACA Sock, we knew our next sock needed to be another all-season sock that is as versatile as you are! Rather than reinventing the wheel we took inspiration from our Alpaca Glittens to create a truly transformative sock: the Mock!

Our Alpaca Mocks feature a ribbed knit along the top of the foot and up the calf and Terry loop construction along the sole of the foot provides cushion, padding, and comfort where it's most needed. Our new open toe design allows each toe to rest comfortably with support, while maximizing breathability. An adjustable toe flap can be used for added warmth or removed for easy access during your favorite activities.

Perfect your pedi! You’ll be nice and warm in your Mocks. As an added bonus - your toes will stay separated for easy polishing!

Mocks are perfect for those unpredictable spring days, allowing you to keep your feet covered in the cool mornings, and let them free to feel the warmth of the sun in the afternoon. Flip flop wearer all year? Add the perfect cushion without sacrificing your signature style.

Contents: 78% U.S. Alpaca, 20% Nylon, and 2% Lycra.

Care Instructions: See Label

Fiber Requirement: 0.6 lb Prime

Suggested Retail Value: $38.00

Get yours just in time for April Fool’s Day!




Article: Alpacas are STILL Seriously Trending!

by Michelle Just

Although it might seem like yesterday, it has been almost two years since our article “Alpacas are SERIOUSLY Trending!” If you paid any attention to social media, local events, or mainstream news, you probably realized that alpacas are no passing fad-- they continue to captivate audiences across media platforms.

If you didn’t take our advice then, it’s not too late! Alpacas are more popular than ever and as an alpaca farmer, you are in the perfect position to take advantage of the ongoing buzz!

From clothing for all ages, to artwork, office supplies, and toys, alpacas are a hot commodity.


Roses, chocolates, and… an alpaca-gram? A Peruvian hotel garnered international attention when it advertised that Panchita, an adorable cria, would be sending out a select number of personalized “alpaca-grams” on Valentine’s Day. Increasingly, alpacas have become linked to romance and romantic gestures. Celebrity Hilary Duff shared her beloved Valentine’s gift with social media: an alpaca named Ivan, and soon received over 240,000 likes on Instagram.

So maybe you’ve brought your alpacas to a market event, but a wedding? Yes, alpaca weddings are still all the rage. Whether you simply offer use of your farm as a backdrop for photography or find ways to involve your animals in the big day, 2019 is a great time to explore opportunities in the wedding and event planning business. Not only could this be a great revenue stream, it's also a creative way to bring your farm more exposure, and boost sales for your fiber products!


#weddinggoals: Check out more gorgeous photos of Danika Hoo-Fatt's Big Day


Perhaps you're unlucky in love... No worries! Alpacas have also made an appearance outside of the wedding industry. Rosebud Alpacas in South Molton, Devon, England went viral for offering alpaca yoga classes, in addition to alpaca walking, alpaca picnics, camping, alpaca art and photography sessions, and alpaca meditation. Alpaca yoga is also popular on this side of the pond. Our friends at Grist Mill Farm Alpacas and Island Alpaca Co. have tried out yoga in the barnyard.

Here is a video of what appears to be a widely successful Alpaca yoga event at 313 Farms.

Alpaca Yoga from Layer Video Imagery on Vimeo.


At the recent AOA National Alpaca Show in Denver, visitors could enjoy both alpaca yoga classes and an alpaca selfie booth! Apparently, the selfie booth at the show was so popular in recent years that it wrapped around the building! The more photo-ops you have on your farm, the more potential social media exposure you'll get!


(Speaking of selfie booths, come to our booth at the next show and take a photo with Backpaca Jack!)

Your Turn!

So, how can you easily capitalize on the overwhelming popularity of the alpacas online?

If you haven’t jumped on the alpaca social media marketing train, then it is time to consider starting both a Facebook and Instagram page for your farm.

(Looking for inspiration? Check out Good Karma Ranch Alpacas, River Hill Ranch, and Borgstein Alpacas just to name a few! All three post great content often in the form of photos or videos, stay active with their followers, and are smart about tagging content!)

Although they may seem to serve the same purpose, Facebook and Instagram attract two different markets, with some overlap. Facebook's interactivity attracts a slightly older demographic, while Instagram is much more popular with the younger crowd. A Facebook page is a great place to begin, but venturing onto Instagram can bring in an entirely new market of influencers who are more than willing to share your content across the platform.

The key to success on Instagram is not only the strength of your content, but how you share it using hashtags. These hashtags allow for users to find material relevant to their interests. We’ve created a handy cheat sheet to get you started!  Next time you share a photo of an alpaca, a product, your farm, or a day in the life, think about adding some of these hashtags to boost your search and get more views! 

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


New Product: LOVE Alpaca and Mother Nature's Finest Fiber Tee Shirts now available!


Introducing Two New Product additions to

our Gifts and Accessories Category

Part of our Gifts and Accessories Category (Login Required)

After launching our Gift and Accessory category last year we had many requests for the LOVE Alpaca Mandala and Mother Natures Finest Fiber designs to be printed on tee shirts and we are excited to officially launch them!

We are thrilled to begin offering both designs on a U.S. made t-shirt! The designs are printed on combed ring spun jersey knit cotton tees, giving them a super soft and vintage feel. Unisex, adult sizing available in SM, MED, LRG and XL - see the size chart to find your perfect fit.

Purchase 1 for yourself or take advantage of quantity discounts and begin offering them to your customers!

Quantity discounts automatically apply to same design, can be mixed sizing.

Suggested Retail: $24

Fine Jersey Tee Specs

  • Set on rib collar
  • Double needle sleeve hem & bottom hem
  • Tape shoulder to shoulder
  • Side seamed
  • 4.4oz sq/yard fine cotton jersey
  • 100% Cotton

Brands with similar fit: American Apparel, Bella + Canvas, Anvil Fashion-Fit

Designed by NEAFP

Cut, Sewn, and Printed in New England, USA


The March 2019 NEAFP Note is here!


Spring, is that you?

“Spring is when you feel like whistling, even with a shoe full of slush.”
Doug Larson

Alpaca Farms are coming off their best Winter sales season ever, and with the help of some cold wind, ice, and snow, that growth has continued through the new year. Rumors of 50 degree days on the horizon, along with a little taste of sun and all the mud an alpaca farmer could want, mean that it's (almost) time to hang up that puffy winter coat for the morning barn chores.

With the promise of Spring just around the corner and shearing season fast approaching, we wanted to talk about ways to continue this forward sales momentum through the warmer months. Over 50% of alpaca farm's revenue from product sales come in the last 6 weeks of the year, so we could always use more ways and products to increase that cash flow in the leaner warmer months.

Although alpaca is synonymous with warmth and selling a Snowflake PomPom Hat in July is almost impossible, alpaca farms aren't without their options.

Please take a minute to dive head first into the rest of this extensive NEAFP Note filled with new products and tools to continue your business's growth through the warmer months!

Read the entire March 2019 NEAFP Note here!


Article: Let's Get Personal: Expanding your Inventory with Product Personalization

by Michelle Just

Spring is just around the corner… but the warmer weather shouldn’t mean it’s time to pack up your alpaca products!

Over the past year or so, we’ve been trying to make it easier for you to sell alpaca-related goods all year-round. In 2018 we not only debuted our extremely versatile Backpaca Sock, but also our Alpaca Gifts & Accessories category which includes customizable keychains in addition to pins and totebags for the alpaca lover in all of us. Perhaps you’ve bought a button or two, or you’ve seen our canvas totes at a show. We’ve put together a few ways you can really capitalize on these products to make them stand out and grab attention without much extra effort!

1. Live in Color


Coloring books are all the rage, so perhaps we’re not the only ones who think the Mandala Alpaca design would be a perfect coloring candidate! Currently available on our Mandala Magnet and our Love Mandala Shoulder Tote Bag, this alpaca is a blank canvas for you or your customers to embellish as you wish. Before your next farmer’s market, get to your nearest craft store and grab some fabric markers and paint and have some fun! Turning these items into a customizable experience is a great way to grab customers.

Do you hold events on your farm? How awesome would a magnet decorating station be during an open house?


DIY Colorful Custom Tote

What you’ll need:
-1 Shoulder Tote Bag
-Fabric Markers or Fabric Paint (We used Stained by Sharpie Brush Tip Fabric Markers)


2. Pom Pom On


Sometimes adding a pom pom onto a hat can take it to new heights (literally!) A pom pom is a great way to bring additional colors and textures into your stock. Our popular BOLD Cable Knit Beanie is NEAFP's take on the classically stylish cable knit hat. We added a pom pom, made out of our Unicorn Yarn, to give it a totally different personality: from classically chic to youthful and trendy! 

While they may look complicated, pom poms are not that difficult to make. There are ready-made tools designed to help you, but it’s easy enough to make one with some cardboard, scissors, and yarn! ...And you're not limited to putting them on hats. Pom poms have popped up lately on all kinds of clothing and accessories: even keychains!



3. Pin it to Win it



Wondering how to use NEAFP’s buttons and pins? Their simplicity makes them extremely versatile! The LOVE Alpaca Hat / Lapel Pin uses a clutch back and is a great choice for bags, garments, and even homemade brooches! LOVE Alpaca Buttons can be sewn onto products for decoration, or as an actual closure of course! Alpaca buttons can also be used for all kinds of craft projects, including cute handmade bracelets. (Extra credit if you use felted Alpaca beads!)


DIY Button Wrap Bracelet

What you’ll need:

-1 Alpaca Button (Customized, if you’d like!)
-Twine or yarn (We used DK Weight Unicorn Yarn)


What now? Think outside the box and get a little personal with your products! 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


Our *NEW* DK Knitter's Yarn is now available!


Our New DK Knitter's Yarn is officially on the website and ready to ship!

This new All Natural DK Weight Knitter's Yarn is made using U.S. Grown Alpaca blended with U.S. Merino Wool. It's soft, warm, and cozy and the DK weight is fast knitting and perfect for a wide range of patterns.

Skeins are 3.5 oz and approximately 185 yards each. This yarn is a 2 ply, giving it nice hand and improved strength for a wide variety of projects.

Soft, smooth, and bright - a truly beautiful yarn!

Contents: 70% US Alpaca, 30% US Merino

Needle Size: 9-10

Product Spotlight: Big Cable Alpaca Blanket

by Michelle Just


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 Video: Life is an Adventure - Formally introducing our BACKPACA Sock


Life is an Adventure: Introducing the BACKPACA Sock

Alpaca Lightweight Hiker Made in USA


Introducing our new BACKPACA Sock - A lightweight micro cushion hiker sock Made in the USA, using U.S. Grown Alpaca Fiber.

Made for US Alpaca Farms by the New England Alpaca Fiber Pool Inc. (NEAFP)

Let us know what adventure our socks take you on - Use hashtag #backpacajack !

Available at an alpaca farm near you :

Article: Promoting Your Brand through Product Styling and Photography - Part 2

by Michelle Just

Part 2 of 2: Capturing and Editing Better Product Photos for the Internet

As we discussed in Part 1, product photography begins before you even pick up the camera. Great compositions rely on dynamic product styling, which can only be successful with some understanding of your brand, products, and target market. Once you have the perfect composition, you can move on to the technical part: product photography.

Taking Great Photos

While a DSLR camera is ideal for photographing products (and taking great shots of your alpacas!) the best camera is the one you know and understand. Recent advances in mobile technology mean you can rely on your phone to take decent photos. Regardless of the camera you choose, you can create simple backdrops at home without needing dedicated studio space.

All you need to take good flatlay and seamless photography at home are a few pieces of posterboard, a box, and a some objects you likely have around the house!

1. Flatlay Photography

You may be asking, what is flatlay photography? It is an extremely popular style of photography and one of our favorite techniques at NEAFP. You simply shoot your subject directly from above, with the lens parallel to the object. We used flatlay photography for our Cozy Baby Blanket photo, as well as many of the photos in our 12 Days of Christmas campaign. So, how can you achieve similar results?

Flatlay Photography Tips:

  • Nature’s Finest: Utilize Natural Light. A large window or even an open doorway makes the best photo lamp. Diffuse the light with a plain white curtain or sheet, if needed. A piece of posterboard or foil wrapped cardboard can make a perfect light reflector.
  • Backdrops Count: Place a piece of posterboard mat side up with the object you are photographing on top of it. Experiment with different backdrops: different colored paper, wood, or marble, to change the mood of the photograph.
  • Posture Matters: Shoot the object from above. Use a stepstool to get above the object so that the lens of the camera is parallel to it.

Suprisingly Simple Flatlay Photography:

I took one our Mandala Magnets and put it to the test. Rather than shooting with the photo lights we typically use in the NEAFP photo room, I found a nearby window for some natural light. Using my cell phone (iPhone SE) and some cardstock and tape from my desk, I found I was able to take some decent photos!

Here is my setup, next to a window. You can see that I am looking straight down at the Mandala Magnet. Even unedited, the magnet jumps right off the white background, but we can make it even better!


2. Seamless Photography

Seamless photography is best for objects that stand upright, or can be propped up. At NEAFP, we often use lightboxes made specifically for photographers that provide a seamless background on which we can shoot our photographs. We commonly utilize seamless backgrounds for our sock product photos, using mannequins to ensure that they stand upright.

Seamless Photography Tips:

  • Get Swept Away: The most important part of seamless photography is your “sweep”: a piece of paper or white poster board that you tape up and let slope under your object, creating a seamless background.
  • Shine On: Again, lighting is key to getting your photos “right.” Find a place in your house with good natural light, or utilize lamps if you are using a homemade light box.
  • A Little Redirection: Make sure you keep a piece of posterboard or foil wrapped cardboard handy to use as a light reflector.

Suprisingly Simple Seamless Photography:

This time, we moved our cardstock to the wall to create a gentle "sweep" for our Alpaca Keychain to sit on. You can see that the paper makes a perfect background with nothing to distract the eye from your product! 

If you’d like something a little more permanent, a cardboard box can be converted into a great seamless lightbox by putting in parchment paper light panels! Even without a cardboard box, you can still make a photography sweep to take product photos.


3. Don't Forget to Edit!

After you’ve taken your photos, it’s easy enough to post them on your website or social media. Taking a few minutes to edit your photos can make a world of difference!

  • Crop it: Regardless of the camera or software you have at your disposal, crop your photos!
  • Just the Right Bright: Basic editing software will allow you to adjust the brightness and contrast of your photographs. Your final photos should be bright but not washed out and have no distracting shadows.
  • Experiment: Play around with the settings on your editing software (or even your phone) to increase interest and clarity in your product photos.

I brightened up the original Mandala Magnet photo in Adobe Photoshop, the leading software for computer graphics editing. I could have also used my phone interface to make simple lighting adjustments, but since I wanted to add the mandalas to the photo background, I edited the brightness and contrast directly in Photoshop.

Although Photoshop is considered the standard in editing software, there are now some great (free!) alternatives available like Pixlr. This web editor is by far the most powerful free Photoshop alternative you'll find. Pixlr is easy to use and has many of the heavy-hitting editing tools that you can usually only find in paid programs.

What now? Take some photos, experiment, and have fun! Combine what you learned about your brand, and then style and shoot some awesome photographs without expensive equipment! 

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

2018 Year in Review - January 2019 NEAFP Note



In this NEAFP Note:

  • 2018: A Banner Year
  • Article: Product Styling and Photography
  • RSVP for Carolina Alpaca Celebration Fiber Collection
  • Spring Alpaca Shows
  • Fiber Sort Status
  • Let's Get Social
  • A Coupon Code!!!


Read the NEAFP Note Newsletter here!

Article: Promoting Your Brand through Product Styling and Photography

by Michelle Just

Part 1 of 2: Laying the Groundwork for Successful Visual Merchandising Online

As more and more farms make the leap to online shops and marketplaces to seek new customers and compete in an increasingly global marketplace, it is important to consider your online presence. At a farm event or open house, you may be able to rely on your alpacas to help “seal the deal” while visitors touch and try on products. How can you capture the same success in the digital world? That is where visual merchandising and photography come in!

Regardless of where you sell online, it is imperative that you consider the way you present products visually through product styling and photography to best reach your target audience.

1. Your Brand is the Foundation

Before you even think about photographing your products and posting them on your website or social media, stop and think: what story am I telling with my business and who do I want to tell it to? A simple way to begin establishing a brand is to think of three adjectives to describe your business and the way you want to be seen by online visitors. Perhaps you visualize your company as homegrown, sustainable, and heirloom. Another farm selling the same products might prefer to be viewed as elegant, high-end, and chic. These three simple words can serve as a framework for your visual marketing. If you translate these words into your marketing and product postings through product styling and photography, you will set the mood and attract shoppers who identify with your brand!

These two photographs are styled and shot quite differently. Which one would work better for your brand?

2. What Stories do your Products Tell?

As you establish a cohesive identity for your business and identify your target audience, think about the products you are selling. While you know the products are great, you need to find a way to help your online customers understand how the products might fit into their lives. This is even more important when they can’t see them in person! Before you begin posing and photographing products, think about how the products can grab your customer using imagery alone.

One of the easiest ways is to tap into the question: “what is it made of?” If you’re selling U.S. alpaca products, a photograph of the product next to processed alpaca fiber serves to connect the products to their origin: the alpacas themselves! Another method is to suggest where or how your potential customers might use their products. Perhaps you are hoping to target the hunting and fishing market with your BOLD Orange Watch Caps and Camo Hunting Masks. What better way to do so than by showing a hunter or fisherman outdoors wearing the product with his or her gear?  Recently, we spotlighted our Fleck Beanie as a lightweight, versatile hat that was perfect for chilly fall mornings on the water.

3. Styling your Products

This takes us to styling the products for photographing. Always keep in mind that the product is what you are selling. While props certainly add interest to your product photos, they should never distract or take away from what is most important! When you add props to your photographs, experiment with different techniques to create interest and increase understanding:

  • Group objects to establish relationships and shift attention
  • Layer objects to create depth and hierarchy
  • Work with odd numbers for a more dynamic composition
  • Leave negative space to allow for breathing room
  • Arrange objects into Pyramids to guide the eye

Take a look at the photograph we recently took to spotlight our Cozy Baby Blanket:

When we styled this photo we wanted to show our potential customers (and yours too!) how you can utilize our product while also highlighting the Cozy Baby Blanket’s wonderfully soft alpaca fiber. What better way than to illustrate someone thoughtfully packing it as a gift for a baby shower?

The gentle hands suggest the delicate nature of the fiber, which, when pictured with the alpaca toy on the left, connect the viewer to the blanket’s animal origins. The stork illustrated on the card on the left confirms that this blanket is meant for a baby. The overall composition is suggestive of a pyramid, with the white box serving as the pinnacle of the pyramid and the other objects expanding diagonally, making the pyramid’s base. During placement, objects (such as the alpaca toy, tape, and scissors) were grouped and layered to create more depth and visual interest. While we took a number of photographs, the one we chose to highlight captures our Cozy Baby Blanket perfectly!

Start brainstorming about your brand, the stories you want to tell, and the styling you will use to help share it in order to grow your online business this year!

In Part 2 we will discuss the more technical aspects of product photography: the photography itself, and editing your photographs!