21 years in the Alpaca Business

21st January 2024

Samantha Holmes Alpaca, a trailblazer in the world of alpaca fashion, is excited to announce its participation at Scotland's Trade Fair from 21-23 January at the SEC in Glasgow. The event will mark a significant milestone for the company as it celebrates 21 years in the alpaca business.

The journey began approximately 25 years ago when Samantha discovered the extraordinary world of alpaca while traveling in Peru.  At that time, alpaca wool was all about busy ethnic patterns and bright colours typical of tourist markets on the Inca Trail, but Samantha was more taken with the natural colours of alpaca and set about creating a product range based on more neutral shades with simple, understated designs.  (There are in fact over 22 natural undyed shades of alpaca fleece from cream, beige, silver through brown to black).  Initially deemed "boring" by the colourful knitters in Peru, the designs proved to be a hit at Samantha’s first Top Drawer Exhibition in London in 2003, capturing the attention of buyers with their paired back, versatile, ecological aesthetic.  A new brand was born.

Awareness about alpacas and the remarkable properties of alpaca wool among the general population has seen a huge surge this past 20 years.  Through persistent  dedication to promoting the merits of alpaca, Samantha's venture into this niche market has been very rewarding.  it's worth highlighting the seven compelling reasons to love alpaca:
·         Buttery softness – uniquely smooth and silky

·         Hard-wearing and doesn’t pill – retains pristine appearance after repeated wear

·         High warmth to weight ratio compared to other wools

·         Natural, hypo-allergenic & low prickle factor so ideal for sensitive skins

·         Moisture-wicking & anti-microbial

·         Squashes to nothing and bounces back uncreased

·         Alpacas are eco-friendly to farm and their fleece requires little processing
21 years on, Samantha’s alpaca collection presents a more vibrant colour palette closer to the more cheerful alpaca products she first saw in Peru.  The brand is stocked by independent retailers throughout the UK, Europe, USA and Canada, including gift and clothing boutiques, visitor attractions, clubs, spas, and even alpaca farms.  The alpaca industry’s growth has not just been limited to alpaca yarn manufacturing but also alpaca farming and tourist attractions.  The number of alpacas kept in the UK has been rising over the years, increasing from around 8000 in 2000 to an estimated 60,000 (45000 registered by the British Alpaca Society and a further 15000 unregistered according to the British Veterinary Association).  The general public can now easily locate a local alpaca farm for an alpaca trek, or to just enjoy learning about alpacas and feeding them.  Alpaca farms offering alpaca hire for weddings and hosting alpaca yoga classes are becoming increasingly prevalent!

The best-selling items in Samantha’s collection include socks and scarves, along with creature comforts like fleece slippers, beanies, fingerless gloves, and throws – all meticulously handcrafted and finished by Samantha’s skilled artisans in Peru.  Alpaca babywear gifts for newborns continue to be a principal part of the collection with alpaca fur booties in prize position.  The Nordic Retro Fair Isle collection offers cosy, cheerful, knitted accessories and gifts made from durable Alpaca & Lambswool, gently felted for a snag-proof finish. The exclusive Fair Isle trotting alpaca motif unites the love of Fair Isle seen in Scotland's and Peru’s rich textile history. 

2024 sees the launch of new lines focussed on practical comfort for the outdoor pursuits market, such as the Multiway Alpaca Buff, ideal for walkers, runners and general outdoor enthusiasts, walking socks and high tec running socks in different sizes, sleek beanie hats and luxury gloves.  Indoor luxuries are still catered for with cosy rib knit wraps, fur cushions, bed socks and softest hot water bottles.  The dedication to quality, sustainability, and the natural beauty of alpaca continues to resonate with customers, establishing Samantha Holmes as a trusted name in the industry.

For media enquiries, please contact: Gayle Shaw, Samantha Holmes Alpaca, Gayle@samanthaholmes.com Tel 01436 676777