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Do you have a few adorable angora rabbits and are wondering what to do with all of the gorgeous and soft fiber they grow and shed? Are you a fiber artist and fiber farmer interested in turning what was once a hobby into a business now that you have a dozen or more of the little cuties hopping around? Either way, the following guide will help you to build a well-rounded marketing strategy for selling your beautiful and soft angora fiber.
1. Educate Your Customers
However and wherever you decide to sell your angora products, the most important thing is to educate your customers about your rabbits and your products. Let them know how your bunnies are raised and how you lovingly remove the excess fiber your rabbits grow and shed regularly. Help teach your customers that their is absolutely no reason for any cruelty to remove their wool and definitely no reason for an adorable angora rabbit to die in order to gather its wool.
It is a wonderful thing that more customers are asking questions about where things come from and about the conditions in which animals are raised, so be sure to explain why your wonderful grassroots business is nothing like those horrible factory farms.
2. Decide What To Sell
Do you simply want to sell the fiber, or do you want to get crafty and create value-added products? Yarn can hand- or mill-spun, blended with other fibers or just on it’s own, and dyed or undyed. You can even go a step further to make knitted or crocheted products, such as scarves and hats. Remember, if you do want to sell knitted or crocheted items, your fiber must first be spun into yarn. This adds time if you spin it yourself and expense if you have it spun at a mill. The deeper you go down the “rabbit hole” of craftiness, the more money you can sell your angora fiber for—but it takes more time and expense to get there.
3. Create An Online Shop
Once you know what you want to sell and you have an inventory of products, it’s time to start selling. We are in a wonderful age of technology where any of us can create an entire online shop in a relatively short period of time. Choose a platform like Etsy or create your own website to help reach customers beyond your local area. Even if you have a booming handmade and fiber arts community and are interested in only attending local markets, most markets require in their applications that you already have an online website or shop. Plus, having an online shop will give people across the country and around the world an opportunity to find you.
4. Vend At Local Craft Markets, Farmers Markets Or Fiber Festivals
With a business name and a transient vendor’s license, you are on your way to selling your wares at a local market. Knowing from the start what angora products you want to sell will help you determine the local markets right for you. If you’re focusing on raw fiber ready for spinning, a farmers market may be the best choice for you. If you have hand-knitted mittens and toys, handmade-craft markets are a great option. Fiber festivals in general will be a great way to connect with local fiber farms and fiber artists, as well as with customers that are specifically in the market to buy fiber.
Search online for market opportunities in your area. Most markets and festivals have websites and online applications. Make sure to take note of application deadlines and booth fees. Some markets also charge a small application fee.
If you can’t find a suitable outlet in your area, consider starting one yourself. Other farmers and crafters in your area would love an opportunity to sell their goods locally and in person—and you just might be the perfect person to get a new market started and thriving.
5. Build Your Social Media Skills
Free social-networking sites like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to tell your followers where you are selling locally and online and are good ways to educate your potential customers about your fiber farm and farming practices. Plus, sharing plenty of photos of your cute angora rabbits will only bring a smile to your customers’ faces.