Retail Revelation

We are alpaca farmers. You, me, and others who have created our farms, and raise these lovely, elegant fleece producers. And with the improvements to the Canadian herd that we see at our shows each year, we are definitely demonstrating that we are heading in the right direction. But most of all, we love what we do, and it shows. But we do more than just run our farms and raise our livestock. Many of us also sell the unique, elegant fleece products that are derived from their fibre. And while it is true to say that these products do sell themselves, the reality is that to be successful in retail, it takes a unique set of skills. Retail success is more than just selling products, and turning a profit. It’s about creating an experience so unique and meaningful for your customers, that they share your passion by the time they leave your farm. … [Read more...]

E-i-E-i-CEO

Alpacas have introduced our family to a life we couldn’t have imagined just a few short years ago. Busy in business and raising a family, my husband and I pushed our careers hard, striving to become the best at what we do and to make a comfortable life for our family - he as a monument craftsman, and myself as general manager of a development corporation. In the midst of that full charge ahead, alpacas somehow “found us”. I am sure many of you can relate to how that happens! … [Read more...]

The Name Game

The moment has finally arrived and one of your girls has given birth to a beautiful new cria. You can’t believe how perfect each looks when it arrives. Never what you expect, but exactly what you want. Beautiful fleece, nursing well, big doe eyes, long lashes, strong legs underneath it, full of promise. Now the pressure begins ... ... what to name it! … [Read more...]

New Year’s Resolutions – Farm Style

It’s time to look ahead. As you stand knee-deep in snow, shivering during one of Canada’s deepest, coldest winters, the horizon that lies ahead at the end of the coming year seems far, far away. Those miles are filled with opportunities to do more, or do better than the years that lie in the rear view mirror. Oh, what possibilities! … [Read more...]

Make Your Fleece Fly!

After 4 years we might just have this figured out. We have been raising alpacas for just over 4 years. And in those first few years we fell victim to the same dilemma that I am sure many of you do. What do I do with all this fleece? Where do I begin? And where do I find the time? We are in the business of raising livestock with an elegant end product that deserves much better than to languish in a barn, garage or basement. Though it may be hidden away in clear plastic bags, it peers out at us year round, summoning our guilt to the fore and challenging us to get at it and make it disappear. … [Read more...]

What Have You Done For Me Lately?

“How do you do it?” Oak Hills Alpacas is only 4 years old and we get asked this question all the time. There is really only one answer. We’ve had a lot of help. Newcomers or tire kickers arrive at our farm gate all the time wondering how to get from where they are now (ground zero) to where we are just this short time later, with a small herd and an established farm. I have found myself time and again telling the story of the support and friendship that surrounds you in alpaca farming. … [Read more...]

A Royal Alpaca Experience

We established our alpaca farm, Oak Hills Alpacas, in 2009 and since that time it has been a pleasure to see how alpacas and the farm lifestyle weave themselves into some of our family’s greatest and most memorable experiences.  A weekend at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto, Ontario was yet another alpaca adventure for us all.  From the Royal York to the Rodeo, our family took our alpaca adventure to the city in style.  More than an adventure though, the “Royal” demonstrated that there is alpaca interest, and an alpaca customer base, in even the most urban settings.  … [Read more...]

Being Part of the Equation

Hi, I am Ruby and I am 12.  Our family owns a farm, an alpaca farm. See I don’t just live on a farm I am a part of it, a BIG part of it. My mom grew up being a part of her family’s business:  selling trailers.  She helped at trailer shows and even helped selling one. She was a big part of their business, and that’s what my mom wants it to be like for me and my sister. … [Read more...]

Lessons From Rehab

“But I hate bats!  I just can’t do it,” I exclaimed. At that point in my job interview, I was sure the job was not for me and that the woman conducting the interview would never hire me as a wildlife intern.  I was wrong.  She did.  And it turns out I was wrong about bats too.  That remarkable woman’s decision to hire me over 20 years ago was my good fortune and provided lessons that would last a lifetime.  … [Read more...]

What It All Means to Kids

Alpacas mean different things to different people.  To kids … alpacas mean a lifetime of learning, adventure, and development opportunities. Opportunities for kids unfold everyday at the barn, in the show ring and throughout their community.  Seize each opportunity and watch your kids grow.  The barn is a playground, class room, science lab, workshop and career centre. … [Read more...]