VELMA, Okla. (TNN) - A group of Alpaca farmers in Velma wants to bring production of clothes made from the animals back to America and, more specifically, to southwest Oklahoma.
Crossed Arrows is a fiber mill in Velma that processes the fur of alpacas and llamas, turning it into clothes. The owners and staff hope their company can benefit both southwest Oklahoma and the United States.
"I personally believe we have outsourced too much to the outside world. We can make higher quality products here in the United States and give our people a job. We probably will very soon need some additional work in the mill, so we'll be looking to hire a team to supplement the team I have now,” said owner Brenda Wyler.
"It's great for the economy and it also showcases that Oklahoma is not just oil and cattle, we have other industries that are here and are thriving,” said Mill Manager Staci Forshee.
They believe their business is unlike anything else around.
"In the state of Oklahoma, there are three mills currently. We are the only mill that I am aware of that does everything. What I mean by everything, we take the fiber, we make the yarn and we also use the byproducts from the machines to make additional products for our clients,” Forshee said.
Those additional products could be pretty much anything, from clothes to rugs and everything in between.
“What can you come up with? If you can dream it, you can make it. It’s fabric, our wet felt is fabric. You can make clothes and you can make vests. I’ve seen full-length wedding dresses made from alpacas. It’s truly what do you want to do,” said Forshee.
While items made from alpaca fur can be expensive, Forshee said there are many benefits to them.
"It is considered hypoallergenic. It doesn't contain lanolin like sheep's wool, so we don't have to use harsh chemicals to clean it. Once the fiber comes off the animal and it's properly cleansed, all the contaminants are gone so people who are allergic to sheep's wool can wear llama and alpaca without any issue,” Forshee said.
The store opens next Friday. They plan on selling stock items such as alpaca socks and hats, while also taking custom orders to make whatever their customers want.