The melancholy of progress

While we have been in the alpaca “business” for nearly 5 years now, this is the first time we have started a serious Sales and Marketing exercise (primarily because we did not have much to sell previously). As you know, fate gave us lots of boys (a 2:1 ratio) over the years. The inn was now officially full, and we had to look into selling some boys before this year’s crop of cria dropped.

We decided on a 2-pronged approach. We printed up 500 A5 promotional flyers and started mailbox-dropping the rural valleys in the area. We also put up a classified add on TradeMe. While the mailbox drops generated a bit of interest (which is good considering how much time it took to drop all those off!), the online add unleashed a torrent of calls and emails.

And let us all thank photogenic, grey Enfield for being our poster-child. Almost every enquiry started with “is the grey one available?” Wow, but the power of cute can be rather overwhelming!

So far we have sold 9 boys. A group of 5 (Zahir, Zafar, Enfield, Brocket, Basilisk) is going to a couple in Mangaroa (Upper Hutt), and just last night we agreed to sell a group of 4 (Rikaku, Opinicus, Alphyn, Bagwyn) to a couple at the top of Paekakariki Hill road. Both couples are enthusiastic, and very keen to learn and do well by their new charges. We are very happy with them.

We won’t sell our alpaca to people we get a bad vibe from. Had one couple drop by the farm last week, and I knew within minutes that I was not going to sell any animals to them.

Today a person is dropping by in the morning (though she may be a tire-kicker). Thursday or Friday someone is coming by to check out Jasper, Pharoh and Pepito. The last 2 are wethers we agist for someone else. Yes, we have run out of our own and are selling other peoples ‘paca now! If she likes those 3, we will be delivering them immediately (this Friday). The group of 4 will be delivered the first week of November, and the group of 5 will go out in December (they need a bit more time to prepare their block for stock).

I will be a bit sad to see them go. Zahir and Zafar and wonderful- who can’t love smoochy Zahir! Rikaku is a great “uncle” to the young ones, and while he is not terribly people-oriented, I really like him. And of course Enfield was the bottle baby I nursed along as Latte slowly died from Lymphoma. But they are going out in big enough groups, so they will be happy. And they are close enough that we can go and visit occasionally (the advantage of offering a “support package” to new breeders is the excuse to check up on our babies). And it has given us the opportunity to meet more fun/interesting people in the region.

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