October Business of the Month: Winter Cashmere Farm & Art Studio
Ever since she was a young girl, owner of Winter Cashmere Farm & Art Studio Brenda Winter knew she wanted to work with animals. She became interested in spinning wheels and goats at the age of 16 and after several years in the army, then as a teacher, Winter has settled in Laramie with her goats and art studio to produce cashmere fiber and art.
“It took me 10 years to find my first cashmere goats to buy,” said Winter. “They’re really rare, especially in Wyoming.”
While it has not been a short journey for Winter, the journey of cashmere fiber from a goat to a consumer is not a short one either.
“It takes a few weeks to a month to harvest the fiber,” explained Winter. “One goat can produce about, on average, four ounces of final fiber per year. So, it takes the fiber from six goats to have enough yarn to make one sweater.”
She explained that the cashmere comes from the goats undercoat, it is short, very fine, curly fiber that’s combed out from under the top layer of thicker, stiff guard hairs. Winter said even though the Wyoming wind can make the combing process difficult, she really enjoys hanging out with the goats.
Winter’s interest in cashmere came as she found an allergy to sheep and wool. Goats and cashmere do not affect Winter so she is able to work with the fiber to manufacture it however she would like. For now, she keeps her fiber all natural, dye-free and unspun when she sells it. Winter explained fiber is hard to find that way. She has been selling the fiber at bazaars and tradeshows, she is also working on an online store, while exploring the spinning wheel to expand her selection of products.
Between manufacturing cashmere fiber and selling it, Winter makes time to get involved with the Eppson Center for seniors, volunteers for the Laramie Chamber Business Alliance Agri-Business Committee and encourages youth to get involved with agriculture.
In the past few months, Winter taught an art class at the senior center. Then for the LCBA Annual Ag Appreciation Banquet she made and donated centerpieces that focused on the art studio side of her business. And as she continues in agriculture, Winter said she wants to encourage kids to consider agriculture.
“There's so many different aspects you can do in agriculture,” said Winter. “There's raising the animals, there's raising the hay, there's the veterinarians that help us keep our animals healthy. Agriculture sustains all of us.”
The Laramie Chamber Business Alliance would like to recognize Winter Cashmere Farm and Art Studio as the October Business of the Month as we focus on manufacturing and agriculture this month. If you would like to learn more about Winter Cashmere Farm & Art Studio you can email Brenda at firstname.lastname@example.org.