With every purchase from Ted & Bessie you get the opportunity to come and visit the farm where we keep our small herd of alpacas. You can take them for a walk, hand feed them and ask as many questions you like. The main aim is to allow each person to personally meet the source from which their product came from. We can tell you over and over how well we care for our alpacas but to see it in person is a much better experience, in our opinion. Last year Jo from Where Does It Come From? contacted us for a visit so we asked her to share her experience with us.
When did you come and visit the farm?
I visited Catherine’s lovely alpacas near to Milton Keynes in October 2017. I run an ethical clothing brand Where Does It Come From? and we were looking for a fully traceable wool product. Ted and Bessie are an ideal collaboration for us as their wooly goodies are not only natural and high quality, but we could also trace their creation story right back to the farm. We also visited the factory in Nottingham where the wool is knitted into the hats and other items.
What did you get up to when you visited?
We had a wonderful few hours! We met the alpacas in the farm yard and Catherine explained about the different breeds and how she brought together her herd. I expected the alpacas to be shy but most weren’t at all, seeming happy, excited and enjoying the attention. Catherine clearly adores her alpacas and knows each one’s character. I’d say the feeling is pretty mutual!
We took a couple of the alpacas for a walk around the field – they have lots of space – and then fed them all inside. Catherine had a challenging job to make sure everyone had their share and clearly knew who were the greedy culprits! After lunch all the alpacas went out on the field and enjoyed the sunshine while we wandered around watching them, something I could do all day.
Who was your favourite alpaca?
It has to be Luke. We had a special bond (totally one sided) because one of my sons is called Luke. Luke the alpaca came across as a strong reliable fellow so a good role model for Luke the son. I also really liked the suri alpacas with their silky, curly hairstyles.
What did you learn on your visit?
My eureka moment (which seems obvious with hindsight) is that the products are not dyed. The alpacas are black and cream so the products are too – with grey being a mix of the two wool colours.
I also talked to Catherine about the shearing process as there is often concern about whether it is right to shear the wool from animals and also whether it is done in a way that might cause them distress. Catherine reassured me that because the alpacas are mountain animals they do get too hot in our summers and are very relieved to be sheared! She also told me about her shearer, who she knows well and trusts. To be honest when you meet Catherine you know that she would never do anything to distress her alpacas – they are part of her family.
Who came with you?
My friend and colleague Mark came with me – he was so taken by the experience that he bought his family hats and also now carries around a bit of wool he picked up as a reminder of the day.
What was your most enjoyable memory from visiting the alpacas?
I really enjoyed getting to know the alpacas, seeing their different personalities and hearing their stories. Thank you so much to Catherine and the alpacas for such a lovely experience.
You can get hold of our SOLD OUT grey cable knit hat over at Jo’s website