When the busy shopping season comes to a close, we do inventory, file dreaded taxes, and then tuck away most of the alpaca items until the following fall. Everything remains accessible for online orders, just not on display. When we started into retail we never envisioned having an onsite farm store. We started out as breeders and newbies at that. We spent the first few years learning everything we could about alpacas, husbandry, herd health, showing and how to birth those babies. We participated in a few farmers markets, built a website and soon realized we should consider retail at the cottage level. I have a little experience with retail. I worked in a hip, unique shop called The Dandelion waaayyyy back in the 80s. First in Wilmington, DE and then in Exton, PA. I had the privilege of working under 2 great managers. In Delaware I worked for my sister Carolyn who now runs a successful jewelry and art gallery in Flagstaff, AZ called West of the Moon. They just celebrated twenty years of serving that community!! If you’re ever in that area or passing through to get to the Grand Canyon please stop in and have a look around. She has beautiful things in there! The second manager in Exton was my friend and roommate at the time, Erin Marie. Those were fun days and little did I realize I was preparing for such a time as this. So when brick and mortar became a thing at Silkie’s Farm we brushed up on our sales knowledge, marketing, display skills, etc. And that was all great but it meant I had to give up my pottery studio that I finally had built after I can’t say how many years….. The original idea was the studio space would double as a store but it was obvious after the first year we opened that it was going to be difficult to juggle both in the same space. But thanks to COVID-19 (and I say that tongue in cheek), we had to turn away all visitors from the farm this year. It allowed me to get muddy again and start throwing pots! And throw I did. I started fulfilling long overdue requests. My hope now is to get ahead of the curve (so to speak) and have lots of ceramics to offer in the fall along with our alpaca items. Because each piece is hand crafted, I haven’t figured out how I’ll offer them online at this point. Yes, there’s Etsy, but for me that’s just another stream I’ll have to keep up to date with. Meanwhile, if you have something you’d like from Marcia’s Mud, let me know. I’ll see if I can manage it. For now, I’m diggin’ the studio once again, playing with glazes, even trying some hand-building… what??