Selling your alpacas
Buying and breeding alpacas is often an emotional decision made because new owners find the animals cute and appealing. Setting breeding goals is relatively easy, but achieving them may take time and while you try to achieve these goals your herd in increasing. New breeders rarely give any thought to how to sell animals that do not satisfy breeding objectives.
The moment you become a breeder you also become a seller and this requires planning. You need to identify your market and determine how you are going to inform your market about what you have for sale. If you are competing with lots of others for the same market space, what can you offer as a point of difference to attract potential customers.
Once you know your market you need to determine how to reach the market. The internet means that there are many ways that you can reach your target market without leaving your farm, but it may not be for everyone. Depending on your own focus you may want to attend farmers or craft markets as means to promote your business.
You don’t need to have a webpage or facebook page to advertise online. Platforms like alpaca seller and Ealpaca are cost effective means of advertising animals and will reach both local and overseas buyers. Good photos of animals and fleece are critical to promoting your animals online, as is current fleece testing and health records.
Showing is also a means of promoting your business and alpacas, but it may not be cost effective depending on where you live.
The other issues that breeders face is how to cost effectively market fleece. The reality is that breeders who have small numbers of animals cannot expect to be cost effective fleece producers, but there are things that can be done to improve cost effectiveness. Commercial processors have minimum quantities to run the fleece, usually 100kg, they don’t want small quantities of fleece in bags, it takes time to sort and accumulate sufficient amounts of fleece, adding to the cost of production, therefore reducing the price paid to growers. Growers can stock pile fleece by colour in bales and take fleece to buyers when they have sufficient to market; work with other growers to combine fleece to market to processors or they can sell small quantities through craft markets, on ebay or through other online platforms. Alternately growers may wish to value add and sell processed yarns or finished products.
The role of the AAA
The AAA is the representative organisation for alpaca breeders. They have a role in managing the registration data base; exploring and opening new markets for alpaca; informing on health and welfare issues and education and showing. The association is not responsible for selling animals.