The Alpaca industry is new to the U.S.," says alpaca farmer Barbie Tilton. "The growing industry is good news for people looking for American-grown and American-made products from their local farms."
It's certainly true that more and more consumers are looking to localize their buying to support small businesses and Mom'n'Pop ventures in exchange for many of the mass-produced goods brought from overseas. Aside from embracing a heart of loyalty for local producers and businesses, most home-grown items have a rustic, original appeal -- and lots of folks prefer that.
In addition to satisfying consumers with a deepening loyalty to local businesses, alpacas provide an excellent return on investment because their fiber is more versatile than sheep wool or cotton. It comes in over 20 colors naturally, which reduces dye costs and, again, provides a smidgen of rustic charm.
“There are a lot of old mills, family-owned, multi-generational mills, that are small, that are willing to work in the specialty environment," says Chris Riley, president of the New England Alpaca Fiber Pool. As a result, a lot of those old mills are being revitalized.
As a small alpaca farm with fiber-producing capabilities, Bright Star Farm is on the leading edge of the textile trend. In fact, shearing is coming up in April, and soon we'll have plenty of fiber for crafting handmade goods that will soon be available for sale.