December 11, 2017 3 min read

0 Comments

Our stuffed toy alpacas and bears are an annual favorite for those looking to give a unique gift with a hand-crafted touch from Peru. They are, of course, made with super-soft alpaca fur and are available in a variety of sizes. As with many of our products, there is a story to share!

Each toy alpaca is unique and handmade for us by a family in Southern Peru. We first met this family a few years ago during a trade conference in Lima, Peru. Each year the Peruvian government holds a lottery and a few artisans are allowed to travel to Lima and show their products at the international trade show. At the show, we met Marco and his wife, and we were very impressed with their handmade alpaca products. Through a translator, we were able to establish a relationship and now are the primary source of income for them and their growing micro-business in Alpaca fur products.

The beauty of this is that the money goes directly to Marco and his family instead of going through several layers of distributors, wholesalers, etc. Hence the company name Alpaca Direct! 

Lauren at the trade show
Lauren trying on products at the trade show in Lima, Peru

Two years ago we were back in Lima at the trade fair, and this time we brought our daughter Lauren. She was thrilled to be sitting up front during the high fashion runway shows hosted by Vogue, seeing and meeting our commercial suppliers. But the true life lesson was still ahead...

vogue fashion show peru

 Lauren and me at the Vogue Fashion Show in Peru

After a long week at the show, I had an email from Marco requesting to meet us on a Sunday morning before we departed from Peru. He didn’t win the lottery that year so was not able to be at the trade show as a vendor. We were tired and ready to go home, but I knew how hard Marco had worked for us and told him we would be happy to meet him at our hotel in Lima.

Upon arrival, Marco looked very tired as he mentioned that he and his wife had traveled 15 hours by bus to meet with us that morning. I had no idea his meeting with us would entail such a long journey! At that moment we experienced the importance our business relationship and the commitment they had to work with us to create quality products.   

Hotel in Lima Peru

Lauren and me in front of our Hotel in Lima

In reflecting back on this experience, it was great that our daughter Lauren was there to experience first hand how true commitment and partnership in business translates into the products we sell in our store and on our website.

If you come visit our store and hold one of our stuffed toy alpacas or slip into our handmade alpaca slippers, you can rest assured that your purchase will help support a wonderful family in southern Peru.

 
toy alpaca workshop

Marco's workshop in Arequipa, Peru

We visited Marco's family workshop in Arequipa a while back and they were proud to let us know they have expanded to one more sewing machine to help grow their business! 

Thank you again for supporting our business and also supporting small businesses in Peru. 

Kelley Hobart
Kelley Hobart



Also in Alpaca Direct Blog

Crochet a Mosaic Baby Blanket
Crochet a Mosaic Baby Blanket

August 13, 2019 2 min read 0 Comments

I love the look of mosaic knitting, and I wanted to try the technique with crochet. I found a wonderful tutorial on YouTube from AnnooCrochet Designs, so I thought I'd try it. First, I needed to explore the concept of mosaic crochet.
Read More
Knit Socks: Making a Rounded Toe
Knit Socks: Making a Rounded Toe

July 16, 2019 2 min read 0 Comments

There's nothing like a pair of handknit socks. You can use gorgeous sock yarn, choose your stitch pattern, and take them with you wherever you go. One thing I've learned over the years is how to customize socks to fit my feet, and I like a rounded toe. It's important for me because my feet are fairly straight across the toes, and a pointy toe just ends up flopping around empty. 

Kelley likes a rounded toe, too, and she's developed a recipe for making them for her toe-up socks. She creates her rounded toe by spreading out the increases, separating them with a growing number of knit rounds in-between.

Read More
Our Top 5 Summer Patterns to Knit in 2019
Our Top 5 Summer Patterns to Knit in 2019

June 21, 2019 2 min read 0 Comments

It's summertime, and the knitting is breezy. Here are 5 great patterns to cast on (and wear!) during the summer months.

Never stop knitting, regardless of the heat!

Read More

Subscribe