Meet the Maker: Shabby Alpaca
Celina Baldwin and Chris Gray, the mother-daughter duo behind Shabby Alpaca, combine a seasoned knowledge of alpaca farming and a knack for sourcing soft goods from around the globe. From warm socks and alpaca blankets, to clothing and home goods, it's soft, natural, long lasting goods for everyone!
WHAT DOES SHABBY ALPACA MEAN TO YOU?
Chris: To me, it's an opportunity to work with Celina. It's also a creative outlet. The concept started in a different place—a little shop where I could sell shabby furniture and alpaca stuff—but I like what it's turned into.
Celina: I’ve always loved to bring people joy. Shabby presents the opportunity for me to do that on a regular basis. We always tell someone debating on a purchase at our booth, “If it brings you joy, bring it home!”. I love seeing people laugh with delight at our tiny alpacas or swoon over a blanket that would look perfect in their space, so curating products that people love is really meaningful to me.
WHAT'S A DAY IN YOUR SHOES LIKE?
We’ve got a little video series called “Gab with Shabby” where we just turn on the video camera and talk about what is happening. Whether it is a market success, a new idea we’re tossing around or just showing off new products or our silly banter- Gab with Shabby is the real deal. We’re from New York so we don’t mince words with each other or our customers. Family business is hard and rewarding work, but we’re always laughing and having a good time together.
WHERE DO YOU FIND INSPIRATION?
Obviously, our first inspiration is alpacas; they truly are amazing animals- the fiber they produce really is second to none and the products that are created from alpaca are superior. We are inspired by our customers who tell us how amazing our socks really are or how their sweater from us is their favorite- this kind of feedback motivates us to keep sharing our products with our customers. Peru is a major inspiration point for us, too. Knowing who makes the beautiful products we bring to market has made all the difference in presenting our goods. Finally, we’re inspired by each other- our partnership keeps us going- although being a mother/daughter team has challenges, it is all worth it to be able to work together.
WHAT'S YOUR GREATEST ACCOMPLISHMENT?
I think our greatest accomplishment is continuing to overcome the obstacles that family business presents. Everything in our lives is intertwined: the grandchildren, our past, our current relationship, our business. It's hard to separate one thing from another. But we work through these challenges and I'm really proud of us for coming to a place where we can work together and still have a healthy relationship.
WHERE DID YOU GET YOUR START?
Celina started selling alpaca goods when she was fundraising for her adoption. When she did finally bring home her two children from the Congo, Africa, her mom Chris decided that she couldn't be so far away from her grandchildren and left her first love of alpaca farming on the east coast for her true love-grandchildren. Together, Chris and Celina started Shabby Alpaca combining Chris's knowledge of alpaca and Celina's creativity and marketing knowledge.
Follow Shabby alpaca:
QUICK FACT #1
We love Peru! We traveled for the first time in June 2017 and we're headed back again in 2018. We love meeting artisans, exploring the gorgeous landscape and sourcing new alpaca products for our customers!
QUICK FACT #2
We love curating goods that bring you joy! We not only source Peru, we now source the world looking for soft and natural goods to fill your home and your life. We search for unique products that reflect you and your uniqueness!
QUICK FACT #3
We love our customers! They are what makes this dream business possible!