We travel the country to teach and vend at around a dozen fiber festivals or sheep and wool shows each year. At these shows, we are able to get to know the fiber producers we purchase from and take a good look at every single fleece we purchase. This lets us make sure the fleece we purchase come only from sheep that are on pasture year-round or are coated, and that the fleece are heavily skirted.
Each fleece is labeled at purchase so that we know which farm it came from, when it was bought, etc., and goes straight into our trailer. Over the last couple of years as we geared up for Good Clean Fiber, our goal was to replace the volume of equipment being sold out of the trailer at each show with an equal amount of purchased fiber. Since we are already driving across the country, these fleece ride home virtually free, eliminating the cost of shipping something that is both heavy and takes up quite a bit of space – not to mention about half of the weight is dirt and grease!
Back at home (which may be a couple months, depending on when and where the first show on a road trip happens to be) the fleeces are brought out and all of the label info is entered into inventory. At the current moment, before we ship our first sale of Good Clean Fiber, we have around 400 fleeces in house. With the trailer unloaded and inventory entered, we can make decisions about how the fiber will be used, and what should be washed and packed next. We’ll choose how much of the fiber will be set aside for use in our classes and for quarterly club installments for our Pure and Bliss subscribers, and which will be made ready for the next monthly release for purchase. These monthly releases will include a wide variety of breeds, giving subscribers access to fleece from around the country – many of which are only grown successfully in certain regions – all year long. Once a decision has been made about how each fleece will be used, they go on the washing and packaging schedule and from there it’s just a matter of time until they end up being carded in one of our workshops, being shipped out for a quarterly delivery, or posted for sale in a monthly release.
As each fleece is washed, we make a decision on if and how it will be divided. Some fleeces will be left whole; most will be split into 4, 8, or 16-ounce packages. On the 16th of each month, somewhere between one and two dozen fleece will be made available for sale to our Prime, Pure, and Bliss subscribers only. Orders will be shipped ASAP, with the fleece remaining available until sold out or until the next month’s release.
Head to Good Clean Fiber for subscription pricing and availability.
You can also check out these two blog posts on Good Clean Fiber: Why We Created Good Clean Fiber and How Good Clean Fiber is Changing the Way Fleece is Bought and Sold.