Category Archives: About Alpaca Direct

Kelley and Michele Hunter

New Yarns at TNNA and Time With Michele Hunter!

I recently attended the National Needle Arts Trade Show (TNNA) in San Diego to look for new yarns for  Alpaca Direct. This industry trade show brings vendors all together under one roof with a chance to see and compare products in order to pick up the best possible yarn choices for our customers.

Baah Yarn Hand Dye Yarns
Baah Yarn’s Vibrant Spring Colors

While reviewing all the great products from our friends at Skacel,   I was thrilled to meet Michelle Hunter (knitpurlhunter.com) who has just released her new book called Building In Color which we will be using in our store classes to teach Intarsia.  Michelle has a 30 year career in teaching and it shows in both her books and on her website. I felt like I already knew her as I have been using her video’s to assist with teaching our students for quite a while.

 If you are a new knitter I encourage you to go to Michelle’s website.  She has a video to answer almost every knitting question. Her simple clear instructions will take the mystery out of knitting.    Michelle provides wonderful free  pattern downloads.  I am currently using her free  “Lacery” sock  pattern.   You start with Judy’s magic cast on, a short row heel and a lacey pattern to boot!  I started my socks on Friday and am almost ready to turn my heel! I am excited for each of you to see the many new  yarns we are bringing in.  We have many Indie dyed yarns like La Jolla from Baah Yarns which have the most vivid color choices just for you!  We also picked up the ultra-light Karbonz line of needles from Knitter’s Pride to make your knitting more enjoyable!

Happy knitting!
Kelley

Kelley and our alpaca

Baby Alpacas Launched a Business and Built Family Ties

 American Express is sponsoring Small Business Saturday on the 30th so I thought it was only fitting to tell you the story about how our small business Alpaca Direct was started.  About 9 years ago my dear friend and neighbor on a nearby ranch stopped by to say hello and mentioned our neighbors down the road had Alpacas for sale. I asked her why she had not purchased one as she loved animals and rarely resisted the urge to bring home another animal to add to her “collection”.  She laughed and we scooped up my daughter Lauren and headed back down the road to see the alpacas.  The moment we saw the baby alpaca’s we were in love. Mercury

Our daughter Lauren immediately asked her dad if she could have one as she had been doing a great job raising rabbits for 4h and wanted to work with a larger animal.  We quickly learned that alpacas are herd animals so we had to buy 2 or more or they would become stressed and may even die if left alone.  We ended up buying two weanling males, Keeshon and Lightning.

 

 My friend Kelly bought Lightning’s dad Viking and placed him with a Llama she already owned. We found them easy to train and easy on our land as they do not mess with fencing or damage the ground.  They were also a great animal for our kids to work with weighing 115-130 pounds on average. Lauren was 11 years old at the time and could move them around without a problem.  Having the alpacas taught both our son and daughter how to be gentle in a kind of way that only animals can teach.  It taught them how to set boundaries but be fair and clear in their communication.  Looking back, I think that having the ranch with our 50 animals was well worth all of the work that was involved to make it run smoothly.

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 Once we started raising alpacas we learned how amazing alpaca fiber was and wanted to share this discovery with others.  I remember wearing an alpaca sweater when we were in a snowstorm in Bend Oregon and I was warm despite being stranded on the side of the road.

Alpaca is such a beautiful fiber with unique qualities however it is largely unavailable to the general public.  I wanted to share alpaca with everyone so they could experience the joy of warm feet in the winter or a soft, luxurious alpaca scarf around their neck.  That meant we had to find products made from alpaca that were high quality and reasonably priced. We went from having 2 alpaca’s to a herd of 15 and creating a store and website (www.AlpacaDirect.com) that now sells thousands of  products to over 80,000 customer around the world.  My son and husband work on the website and my daughter has helped with care of the animals, modeling and choosing what products to carry.

 We work hard everyday to bring alpaca and other quality products to our customers.  We have some of the  warmest alpaca socks on the market  and if you have cold feet then you will love alpaca.  Socks make a great gift so stop by the store and buy some alpaca socks for your loved ones this Christmas.  Give them the gift of warm feet and I have a feeling they will ask you for more socks in years to come.  Have a safe and blessed holiday season.  Have great family times and cherish those loved ones every chance you get!

 We hope you can stop by our store this Saturday to support our local small business. In case you have not heard about us, Alpaca Direct is a direct merchant of high quality yarn, socks, apparel and gifts. We carry a full line of fiber arts accessories, including hundreds of needles and thousands of yarns. Our unique selection of products also includes Peruvian alpaca sweaters, hand-loomed lace scarves, performance alpaca socks and cuddly alpaca teddy bears.

 

alpaca direct store customers
Happy Shopping at Alpaca Direct
outside of building
Our store and warehouse in Hayden, Idaho
Alpaca Bear
Cuddly Alpaca Bear

Our building is handicap accessible, with ample parking and is easy to find. We are located on Hayden Avenue, just two blocks west of Hwy 95 at 1016 W Hayden Ave. in Hayden.

Our store is open 11am – 6pm Monday through Friday, and 10am – 3pm Saturday. Visit us at 1016 W. Hayden Avenue or online at www.AlpacaDirect.com – your local destination for luxury yarn, apparel & gifts. “Like” us on Facebook and Yelp for exclusive coupons, product spotlights & news!

Say “I Love You” with an Alpaca Bear

A Super Soft Alpaca Bear is the Perfect Valentines Gift!


Valentines
day reminds us to take a few moments out of our busy lives to reflect
and remember someone special.  Along with a card and some heartfelt
words we often will bestow a gift to show our love and appreciation.  

When
I look back on the gifts that have meant the most over the years they
were often unique handmade “From the heart” gifts or gifts that showed a
deep understanding of the recipient.  A few years ago, my husband
bought me a Stihl BR420 backpack leaf blower for Valentines day…and I
was thrilled!  With 7 acres and 50 animals to care for, that blower
saved me hundreds of hours and allowed me more time with my family, our
horses and our alpacas.  

This
year I’m making my husband a special hat from our warm and soft Alpaca
Yarn and I’m sure he will love wearing it on our evening walks down to
Hayden lake.  Are you looking for something unique for your special
person?  Many of our local customers know us for our huge selection of
luxury yarns and super warm alpaca socks, however we also have wonderful
Alpaca fur gifts we hope you will come by and see. 

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Super Cuddly Alpaca Bears

For
the man in your life, we have super warm Alpaca Socks that will keep
his feet toasty warm while hunting or camping.  Somehow the truckers
running the northern route up Highway 95 discovered us and are now
pulling into our little store with their big rigs to stock up on socks
before heading into Canada. 

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Our Super Warm Alpacor Winter Alpaca Socks

Our
stuffed toy alpaca bears and stuffed alpacas are also a Valentines
favorites.  They are of course made with super soft Alpaca fur and are
very cuddly and available in a variety of sizes.  As with many of our
products there is a story to share with you about these stuffed toys.
 Each one is unique and handmade for us by a family in Southern Peru.
 We first met this family a few years ago during a trade conference in
Lima Peru.  Each year the Peruvian government holds a lottery and a few
artisans are allowed to travel to Lima and show their products at the
international trade show.  At the show we met Marco and his wife and
were very impressed with their handmade alpaca products.  Through a
translator we were able to establish a relationship and now are the
primary source of income for them and their growing micro-business in
Alpaca fur products. The beauty of this is that the money goes directly
to Marco and his family  instead of going through several layers of
distributors, wholesalers, etc.

Two
years ago we were back in Lima Peru at the trade fair and this time we
brought our daughter Lauren.  She was thrilled to be sitting up front
during the high fashion runway shows hosted by Vogue seeing and meeting
all our commercial suppliers but the true life lesson was still ahead.

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 Lauren and me at the Fashion Show in Peru

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Lauren  and me in front of our Hotel in Lima Peru

After a long week at the show I had an email from Marco requesting to
meet us on a Sunday morning before we departed from Peru. He didn’t of
course win the lottery that year so was not able to be at the trade
show. We were tired and ready to go home, but I knew how hard Marco had
worked for us and told him we would be happy to meet him at our hotel in
Lima.  Upon arrival Marco looked very tired as he mentioned that he and his wife
had travelled 15 hours by bus to meet with us that morning. At that
moment we experienced the importance our business relationship and the
commitment they had to work with us to create quality products.   

In
reflecting back on this experience, it was great that our daughter
Lauren was there to experience first hand how true commitment and
partnership in business translated into the products we sell in our
store and on our website.    
If
you come visit our store and hold one of our stuffed toy alpacas or
slip into our hand made alpaca slippers, you can rest assured that your
purchase will help support a wonderful family in southern Peru.

 
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We visited Marco's family workshop in Arequipa last year

In
case you have not heard about us, Alpaca Direct is a direct merchant of
high quality yarn, apparel,gifts and socks. We stock a full line of
fiber art accessories, including needles and thousands of yarns. Our
unique selection of products also includes Peruvian alpaca sweaters,
hand-loomed lace scarves, performance alpaca socks, cuddly alpaca teddy
bears & unique international jewelry.

Our
building is handicap accessible, with ample parking and is easy to
find. We are located on Hayden Avenue, just two blocks west of Hwy 95 at
1016 W Hayden Ave. in Hayden.

Our
Alpaca fiber experts are on call 11am – 6pm Tuesday through Friday, and
10am – 3pm Saturday. Visit us at 1016 W. Hayden Avenue or online at
www.AlpacaDirect.com– your local destination for luxury yarn, apparel
& gifts. “Like” us on Facebook and Yelp for exclusive coupons,
product spotlights & news!

Local News Coverage On Our Store

The Brentwood Press came by last week and wrote up a nice article about our store.  It's been great growing our online business to over 35,000 customers.  Now we're able to really service the local community and we're thrilled that people are coming from "Over the Hill" in Concord, Walnut Creek, Alamo, etc to shop with us. Thanks to everyone for all the great local support!

Patricia

CNN Money featured our website

Fortune Small Business Magazine Featured Us This Month!

Reviews are import to get real customer feedbackReviews are import to get real customer feedback
Reviews are important to get real customer feedback

Check out the article this month in Fortune Small Business / CNN-Money Magazine featuring Alpaca Direct as one of the top “Innovative” retailers for our use of customer reviews and letting our customers share their experience with each other.  We value each customer’s feedback and use reviews to improve our products and our service.  When deciding what new products to carry we read through the customer reviews and get a deeper sense of the true customer experience with both the product and our service delivery.   We just sent out a separate customer satisfaction survey yesterday and 95.62% of you would refer us to a friend for online shopping.  Thanks and we’ll keep trying hard to deliver value and earn your business!

Jim and Kelley

Is it time for you to visit Peru?

1-18-2009 11-22-34 PM
I just found this link on CNN.com where people have posted photos and stories of their travels to Peru.Our travels to Peru reflect the words and feeling mentioned in the photos (as well as bring in wonderful memories).  Most of our products on Alpaca Direct originate in this wonderful country since this is were a vast majority of the world’s Alpacas live. The people of Peru are kind and gracious. The diversity of the terrain and culture is incredible.  Many of the native skills (like weaving and knitting) are still handed down between generations as a part of the unique Peruvian culture.  Many of our products are hand-made in small villages throughout Peru and provide sustainable incomes and help to keep alive the traditions of knitting and fiber arts among the Peruvian people. We hope you enjoy the photos and someday have the opportunities we’ve had to visit this country and spend time with its people.