help! selling wool

Discussion in 'Sheep' started by sarah trone, Mar 24, 2004.

  1. sarah trone

    sarah trone Guest

    I have an elderly friend who manages a herd of about 42 sheep of a variety of colors. She's very attached to them leaving out the option of selling off lambs. This past winter she spent her entire Social security check on hay. I'm looking for information on how a lady goes about selling wool. Are there any places interested in natural colors? how must the wool be cared for? I know very little. Any advice?
     
  2. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    This is something we are hoping to do as well. ebay has a lot of listings for wool in various stages of processing, from raw unwashed to carded rovings with premiums paid for each step of the process added. Step one is to get it off and skirted with as few second cuts as possable. Then see if washing it (properly) is an option, and whatever else can be done to make it sell for more. Short answer is yes natural coloured wool should sell for a premium. An ad in the local paper might produce something too.
     

  3. bergere

    bergere Just living Life

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    I have had my best luck selling well skirted, and free of VM, at the local Fairs. Most of them have a fleece contest, I entered those, always took top prize, and sold all the fleece I had for sale. From there people learn what type of fleece I had, and handspinners are always looking for great quality fleece to spin. Is a great way to promote your fleece. Have fun !!

    Here are some web sites that might be of interest.

    http://www.margaret-peel.com.au/skirting.htm

    http://www.hawksmountainranch.com/skirtingtableinstructions.html

    http://www.margaret-peel.com.au/avoid.htm
     
  4. JerseyLightning

    JerseyLightning Well-Known Member

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    Sarah, as a spinner, I'd say the best advice I can give is to get the information out to other spinners!

    The best, and quickest, place I know on the internet to sell wool is the Spinners and Weavers Housecleaning pages at: http://together.net/~kbruce/kbbspin.html

    The list owner, Kathleen Bruce, will post an ad for free. Look at some of the existing ads to see how people list wool: generally, total pounds of a fleece, color, whether there is veggie matter, if it is skirted, etc.

    You can also try the Fiber Equipment and Barter page at: www.angelfire.com/me2/BARTERPAGE/

    My experience has been that you will get more hits on the S&W page, but more serious buyers on the FEB page. You can also post on Yahoo Groups at FleeceforSale and Fiberbuyandtrade. You can also post in the Wool Room at http://ewool.iwarp.com/

    Don't know about other spinners, but I'm always interested in natural colors so you can PM me on this! Generally, what you would look for are: quality of shearing (no second cuts), amount of vegetable matter in wool, length of lock, also lock structure (crimpy vs. straight), breed of sheep (or mix thereof?).

    Please PM me! I'm always looking for colored fleeces!

    Kathleen
     
  5. judy

    judy New Member

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  6. minnikin1

    minnikin1 Shepherd

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    Quilters can be another potential market, if you have your wool processed into batts.
    Needle felting is also becoming quite popular. It requires less skill and so could reach a wider & less specialized market. The "kits" that are being sold generally contain a few needles (very cheap to get) and big fluffy wads of colorful, carded wool. I haven't seen one yet that featured natural colored wool- but I'm sure someone out there would prefer them over childish primary colors.

    Now that gas is at an all time high, promoting your wool in the green marketplace as the natural alternative to petroleum based sythetic bedding, furnishings etc. is an excellent, lucrative market.

    I should know- back in the early 90's my family swore off OPEC and big oil - we tried like crazy to eliminate petroleum products from our home. And we paid out the nose to do it. I paid HUNDREDS to get a wool stuffed futon, mattress pad, pillows, etc. (and yes, we still turn up our noses at sythetics).

    There are also studies out there that have found that wool bedding is simply healthier than sythetic. This site is an example of how this market is being tapped: http://www.nontoxic.com/natura/duvet.html (it was simply the first one I came across when I did a google search on wool bedding)

    Some allergy sufferers prefer wool products, and
    Wool based baby products sell for a mint, too. You could possibly become a supplier for a small cottage industry business.
    Try an internet search on wool diaper covers and check out the types of interesting marketing strategies they use.

    Alternative building sites frequently mention wool as viable home insulation product. You'll find that under the cob building, straw bale, earthship genre. They talk about it being "treated" but I'm not sure what that entails, exactly.
    (I bought and used wool to insulate a homemade solar oven once.)

    Marketing your wool as an ecologically sound alternative WILL pay your bills, I am sure of it. You may have to take a "value added" step or two, but the increase in your bottom line will be huge.