I also took some me time to think things over. I am sure by now everyone knows that we lost Juneau (reasons unknown) and that I am not happy about the goats and the Vet's recommandation that they not be bred. I am also sure that most of you know I am "rethinking this whole thing" too. Well, I am rethinking it and I have come to the conclusion that I need to change a few things. I have decided that I will sell shares a bit differently now. So like all good businessmen I started with a little research. Okay, I tried to start that way but things got complicated right off.
Let me explain. I have decided I no longer want to "gamble" with your money. I am always worried when something happens on the farm that reducess the amount in your share. I feel like I have let not only myself, my family and the animals down but I feel like I let you the shareholder down as well. No, no one has ever said that I let them down but I do see a different group of investors now. It makes me wonder ... Were the old shareholders unhappy with the product? The amounts they got in their share? How I handled things??? This brings me to the shares. We have not sold shares for the Alpaca for 2014 yet and to be honest I don't know if I will. The fleece that was just sheared is spoken for and is actually being weighted and skirted and gotten ready to get in the mail to the shareholders. Right after shearing however, we lost Juneau and that means we lost an entire fleece for next year. Last year we lost Curry. While I care more about the loss of the animal Both losses effect the amount of fiber in each share and that is what the shareholders care about.
So what am I going to do? Well, I started looking at other CSAs and seeing how they handle it and what I found shocked me. CSAs very so much that in order to compare anything you have to do so by price per a yard or oz. And even then they very by breed so much that getting apples to apples just isn't possible. What I found was it was the only way to compare anything close enough to study price ranges at all. Even then I was Shocked by the difference in prices across the country. Most yarn shares came out at about $.13 a yard undyed. (They cost even more if you get a naturally colored share or if the producer dyes it for you) And some Roving shares came in better then $12.00 per an Oz. In the past our shares have had at least 8 oz of roving each time and I think our yarn shares have had about 1000 yards of yarn. On average that is about 9$ per on Oz of roving (That price is in the middle of the price scale) and I think there has been enough yarn to make at least a small sweater for an adult depending on the pattern. Or if you prefer you can say it was about $.11 a yard of yarn. (also in the middle of the price chart) All in all I think our amounts have been fair for the price I charge. I know some people get more in other CSAs but they also pay more. And most CSAs charge an extra free for shipping and handling. I don't add extra charges (that is why if you noticed our shares went up a bit this year due to shipping cost increases and mill bill increases) You pay one price for everything. So if you take out the $15.00 it takes to mail your share that comes out even lower in cost per an oz or yard.
However, I want to make sure the customer knows more about what they are getting so that I can check off that question on my list from above. The amount you will be getting for your money will no longer be in Question. And it should not be a reason for me lossing customers and I will know it. What am I going to do with any left over skeins of yarn or bumps of Roving?? Well, sell it at the show in my booth or I may list it on the internet. As of right now, I have not worked out exactly how it will be for sale but it will be ... Any suggestions??
Now if I lose customers it will only be because of the product or me. Not something out of my control ... like weather or death or something like that. As for the products ... I try to make the best product I can and when I see something I don't like I try to make it better. The truth is that everyone's idea of the perfect product is very different. Some people have said that soft is best ... others say long wearing is better ... I want both and while I try my best I don't always get that done. (like our Mohair/southdown roving. The roving was soft but didnt' spin the way Mom wanted it to.) And I know that "You can please some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not please all of the people all of the time". We will continue to try and improve our products until we get something that pleases both us and the customer.
That leaves me ... I handle each situation (with the help of my parents) the best I can. Just like with Juneau, I know he had the best of care (between the vet and being on the phone to the university, they left no stone unturned) and everyone can give me all the advice in the world but without being in my shoes and living it as the event unfolds ... no one can say that what someone else would do, would have made the outcome any better. I can't control what people think of the way I handle things or what they think of me in general. As Mom says "I am who I am meant to be" I try my best to be fair as well as Honest and Righteous. Yes, I am still a kid. So no, I don't always manage to get through things with my Big Boy pants on but I do try.