You’ve Got the Sheep, Now What? Producing and Marketing Wool for Fiber Arts
All Day Class- Sunday May 21 9-4
Designed as a companion course for the Small Ruminant for Profit School, the course will guide the novice through the process of raising sheep for wool. The class will begin with a review of the various types of wool sheep, the climates for which they are best suited, and a discussion of how classes of fleece are best used. This portion will conclude with a breakout activity; small groups of students will be asked to “design” a crossbreed that will present the best aspects of each breed and result in a highly marketable fleece.
As new shepherds, the class will then explore various production and management systems. At the end of this portion, participants will be able to identify the merits and drawbacks of various bedding and feeding systems, lambing times, and cross-breeding programs.
Having explored the theories behind producing quality fleeces, the students will move on to practical aspects of fiber production, including methods of shearing and processing and how to find professionals to help them get the best product out of their wool. Participants will then assess various raw fleeces, with time provided for questions and tactile learning.
The next segment of the course will provide an overview of the various uses for wool outside handspinning and fiber arts. By familiarizing themselves with all aspects of the market, students will feel more confident as they move on to pricing their product. We will discuss how to set prices, when to change prices, and why prices change depending on the stage to which the wool has been processed. New processors will also begin to evaluate their market share as they explore various avenues of sale. Information will be given on grants, small business loans, tax breaks, and Ag Extension programs.
The final portion will focus on networking, branding, and product placement. Students will practice (either in small groups or individually) building a website, registering for a breed association, creating a social media account, exploring Ravelry, and searching for local guilds, yarn shops, and knitting groups.
At the end of the day, the participant will understand how to raise a quality flock of wool sheep, produce a marketable product, and make a profit in the right market segment for them.
Class Cost $100 (Materials Included)
Madeline Rosenberg's Workshop