by Sarabeth Parido
Wool and fiber producers play a pivotal role in sustaining a timeless industry that weaves together tradition, craftsmanship, and innovation. Today’s fiber producers are living into a historical farming tradition that is centuries old, and through care and dedication, they contribute to the creation of high-quality fleeces that serve as the foundation many products, from insulation to luxury textiles. As a wool producer, with all the husbandry and hands on farming that is needed, we sometimes overlook or are even intimidated by an important next step in getting our products to our customers: marketing ourselves.
Marketing Starts with Story
Your reasons for becoming a farmer might be a long story, but it’s one worth telling and one that will help you connect at a personal level to your customers. Your Farm Story is as unique as your flock. It can become part of your branding. Do you raise a specific type or breed of animal? Do you specialize in any value added product? Why are you a fiber producer? Take time to write your story out - you may surprise yourself with what comes to mind.
Set up a Marketing Plan
Take some time to go over:
Your Farm Business Summary
Your Target Market
Your pricing plan for your products
Stand Out From the Flock
Only you know how comfortable you are with current advertising and social media options- there are MANY and they may not all be beneficial to your business. Having some type of internet presence is almost a necessity in today’s world. But even if you’re not ready to become the next internet viral sensation- having a consistent branding with your farm name, logo and information for your customers to find you is very important to not only making initial sales, but ensuring repeat customers know how to find you.
Connecting with other producers is vital to growing your reach as well. Taking part in local and national breed associations is a great way to stay connected to other producers. Establishing recognition for your farm, even if it's simply by name, can significantly boost sales between producers.
The significance of marketing your products cannot be overstated in today's dynamic business landscape. By highlighting the unique qualities of your fiber and farm story, utilize the various networks both local and online that you have access to, and embrace your marketing plan- you not only bolster the demand for your fiber but also contribute to the larger fiber community.
A Marketing Development Guide is part of the KY Wool School!
Sarabeth Parido, is the Director of the Kentucky Sheep and Fiber Festival and The Kentucky Fiber Trail. She raises her own small flock of sheep in Clark County, Kentucky along with her husband and four sons.