Buying local is a concept that is near and dear to small business owners everywhere, and it is even more critical with regards to start-up businesses. As a former owner of two small businesses in Wisconsin, I (Stella) especially understand all of these dynamics. During the five years that we have lived in Colorado, it has become very apparent that Coloradoans are fiercely loyal with supporting local businesses. One such business is Crazy Hair Alpacas, located in Franktown, Colorado. The owner and operator, Andrea, is a friend and colleague of mine.
I am utterly enamored with Alpacas, so much so, that a few of the chapters in my novel, 18th Winter, take place on an alpaca ranch. And last year, Andrea invited me to her ranch where I was able to see her operation and interact with her alpacas. I have some funny memories of my visit there; they all have such different personalities! Since that time, she and I have been discussing how to get her products out onto the market.
Base Camp @ Grand Lake sees well over one thousand visitors per month, and growing. Larry and I believe that Andrea’s alpaca products are a great fit to feature on Base Camp @ Grand Lake, and I am glad to be in the position to help Crazy Hair Alpacas get off to a running start. Please read about Crazy Hair Alpacas and check out their website. If you have ever felt anything made using alpaca fiber, then you already know how amazingly soft, luxurious and durable it is. She has beautiful, custom products ready for the holidays! Continue reading (below) to learn more about this business.
When did you begin your journey with raising alpacas and what speared your interest in it?
I started in February 2018. I had always admired my neighbor’s animals, and I saw an ad on NextDoor for sixteen free alpacas! My son and I went to visit the former breeder who was getting out of the business and giving away her animals. The visit was on a bitter cold evening; the animals were in full, fluffy fleece, with curious, kind eyes. I was hooked, and that was the start of Crazy Hair Alpacas. This has been an amazing, rewarding journey for me!
What is your favorite part about raising alpacas?
I really love the animals. They are calm, curious and entertaining. I also love working with the fiber – it is super soft and shiny. The babies are incredibly adorable, and it is so fun to watch them learn and develop.
What advice would you give to others who may interested in raising alpacas?
Research; visit farms that have been in business for awhile; go to shows in your area; learn as much as you can before you get your first animals. Alpacas are herd animals, so you will need to start with at least three, and boys and girls cannot be kept together.
What are some funny and/or surprising moments that you have had with the alpacas?
Firstly, the way that they interact with children is magical. I really enjoy taking them to birthday parties. Secondly, it is amazing to see the birth of a baby alpaca, as the babies are up and running in no time. It is very entertaining to watch the babies leap, run, skid, and crawl all over their moms. Once, I was crouched taking a picture of a baby, and Olivia, our most friendly alpaca, snuck up on me and pushed me over!
What are your future plans/products for the business?
I am currently learning all aspects of fiber processing. I am also learning how to turn the fiber into useful products. My larger dream is to start an alpaca rescue and fiber mill.