Sunday, December 30, 2012
What a great year 2012 was for Erin Murphy Knits! In our very first year of alpaca ownership, we not only launched a knitwear company, but also bred, then delivered, our first two beautiful cria: Erin Murphy Knits Moorea and Erin Murphy Knits Don't Mess With Texas. We had our first shearing day and spun all the raw fiber into yarn. I launched a successful Kickstarter campaign, donated items to charity auctions and fulfilled orders as fast as I could knit. We also began using our alpacas for animal therapy for special needs children. In our efforts to spread awareness about the American alpaca fiber industry and these wonderful, eco-friendly animals we were featured in several magazines, newspaper articles and radio and news programs. Most importantly, our family has met some wonderful people all thanks to our beautiful alpacas. I can't wait to see what the future brings!
Tuesday, August 7, 2012
It's the countdown for the Erin Murphy Knits Alpaca Project! My Kickstarter Campaign has three days to go and is 82% funded. I've receeived several messages from my backers saying that they'd like to honor their pledges even if I don't reach 100%. That's not how Kickstarter works. Kickstarter is an "All or Nothing at All' platform. If I don't reach 100% funding, your credit card will not be charged. But I'm not worried yet. I feel great about the support of my backers and the enthusiastic messages that I've received. Hopefully when my project hits the 'Ending Soon' page on Kickstarter I'll pick up a few extra sponsors. You can help by telling your friends about the Erin Murphy Knits Alpaca Project! All rewards will be received in time for holiday gift giving. Wouldn't a hand knit alpaca hat make a great gift? http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/erinmurphyknits/erin-murphy-knits-alpaca-project?ref=category
Thursday, August 2, 2012
I thought I'd share the article I did this week with The Examiner: Many will remember actress, Erin Murphy who played that loveable little witch, Tabitha in the classic series Bewitched! Today, Erin continues working in the entertainment business behind and in-front of the camera. But one might not know that Erin is a Alpaca Rancher. I was able to chat with the stunning Erin Murphy about Bewitched, Alpacas, & her current Kickstarter project. Enjoy. Mike Pingel: How did you become a Alpaca rancher? Erin Murphy: I got my first 2 alpacas for 'pet therapy' for our little boy with autism. We fell in love with the animals quickly and our herd grew from there. M: What was your son's reaction to the Alpaca? E: Our little boy, Parker, loves the alpacas. They're such gentle inquisitive animals and they communicate by humming. They don't always like to be touched, but they approach you on their own. In many ways, they're similar to individuals with autism. M: What kind of characteristics does the Alpaca have? Like a goat, dog? E: Some alpacas are dog like, but most alpaca ranchers say they're more cat like. If I had to describe them as similar to another animal, I'd say they're most like a deer. M: How much does a Alpaca eat? E: Alpacas eat primarily grass hay (orchard) with a little alpaca hay for protein. I also feed the pregnant/ nursing females alpaca pellets and have loose minerals available at all times. About six alpacas eat the same amount as one horse. M: Have you always knitted? E: I was first exposed to knitting watching Agnes Moorehead knit on the set of Bewitched, but I really got into knitting after getting the alpacas. My friend actress Carolyn Hennesy was also very supportive in improving my knitting! M: Is the Alpaca yarn the best to use in knitting? E: I think alpaca yarn is the best for knitting. It's soft like cashmere, but has a longer staple length than cashmere so it's stronger. it's a hollow fiber so it light weight, but very insulating and naturally water and fire resistant. Alpaca fiber also doesn't have lanolin in it, so it's hypo allergenic. M: How long does it take to knit a hat? E: That's a hard question to answer. If you start from the beginning, it takes a year for the alpaca to grow the fiber, then it takes hours and hours to process and spin the raw fiber into yarn and a couple hours to actually knit the hat. I think one of the reasons, so few people offer hand knit items, is that if you really break it down and look at the time involved, it's not a money making venture. Definitely a labor of love! M: What do you hope to accomplish with your Kickstarter project? E: I'm excited about the Kickstarter project for several reasons. I'm just launching my Erin Murphy Knits company and I'm looking forward to having my items available in several small retail stores for the holidays. I'm also going to be getting a portable alpaca corral so I can bring the alpacas to special ed, school, hospital and boutique visits and I'm hoping to increase the public awareness of alpaca fiber. Alpacas are originally from Peru & Chile and although alpacas have been in the US since the early 80's, the fiber hasn't really been promoted as much as it should be. Most alpaca items available at retail are imported. I'm interested in supporting the local economy, so even as Erin Murphy Knits expands; every aspect from start to finish will be made in the USA. M: What kind of incentives are you offering? E: It was fun coming up with the rewards for Kickstarter. I'm offering things that should appeal to everyone from the casual Bewitched fan to those interested in luxury alpaca accessories. I have alpaca felted soap (which is like soap encased in a wash cloth, handknit scarves, hats and baby sets and woven alpaca rugs. One of the surprisingly popular rewards is a visit to our small ranch to hang out for the afternoon with me and the alpacas (or is it the alpacas & I?). M: Do you have a favorite or funniest moment with one of your Alpaca? E: Alpacas are funny animals. They look like Muppets. One occasion, one of the girls leaned in to give me a kiss & spit right in my face. It wasn't really funny to me, but was to everyone else! M: ..and I have to ask.. for all the Bewitched fans reading this… do you have a favorite moment on the show? E: Bewitched was just wonderful all around. I worked with amazing people on a show that was so well written and really held up over time. People have been so kind about it over the years and I feel really lucky to have a small place in TV history! M: Where can people go to get more info on the Alpaca project? E: You can find out more about the Erin Murphy Knits alpaca project on Kickstarter http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/erinmurphyknits/erin-murphy-knits-alpaca-project?ref=live or on my blog: http://starwebsitescomerinmurphy.blogspot.com/
Monday, July 30, 2012
Thursday, July 26, 2012
Tuesday, July 24, 2012
. For most Kickstarter campaigns, including mine, there's an initial burst of traffic and backers at the launch, then there's a 'trough' in the middle with occasional backers and a sudden burst at the end as the project is featured on Kickstarter's Ending Soon page, where it's visible to all the Kickstarter viewers. In my first three days I had fifteen backers and was 12% funded. The part that's been most difficult for me is asking friends for support and asking everyone to share the link via Twitter and Facebook. Asking for help is a crucial component of crowdfunding. You have to be able to reach outside your group. As a "pitchperson' by trade, I love to sell things. I love to point out the benefits of a product and tell people honestly how that product is a solution to a problem. Also I'm involved with many charities and have no problem reaching out and asking for help for someone else. With my Kickstarter project I'm definitely out of my comfort zone reaching out and asking for help for myself! I'm trying to keep my campaign interesting and adding rewards as I go. I'm hopeful that will keep the project fresh and allow me to share updates that aren't completely repetitive. Some Kickstarter employees Tweeted about my project and commented that they "Wish I had a video for my project". I'll be adding one this week. I shot one on Friday, but when I went to put it up the video and audio wouldn't sync. I'm not using my TV production connections to film my video. I'll be shooting it in one take on my 12 year old son's camera. I'm sharing lessons I learn with my launch in hopes to help others make their projects successful. The goal of my campaign and most Kickstarter campaigns is to raise funds to complete a creative project and I don't think you need to spend money or be high tech to do that. Yesterday my project was featured on a website called Kicktraq.com. They had me listed as #2 on their Hot List; but also had me trending as only getting 63% of my funding goal. Fingers crossed that they're wrong! I think timing the project you launch is crucial. I may be fighting an uphill battle promoting handknit alpaca accessories in the midst of a summer heatwave. But there really is a method to my madness. The goal of my project is to launch a Winter 2012-2013 Erin Murphy Knits Alpaca Collection. With a summer Kickstarter launch, everyone will get their rewards well in advance of Winter and holiday gift-giving. Please click on the link below to check out my Kickstarter campaign. While you're there click on the "Like" tab right under the photo. If you're feeling particularly generous you can also click on the "Tweet" tab to share with your friends and be sure to check out the rewards!
Friday, July 20, 2012
Thursday, June 28, 2012
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
We had a little surprise at Erin Murphy Knits yesterday. Our alpaca Tahiti had her baby 20 days early! Luckily I had my cria (baby alpaca) kit assembled, so I didn't need to rush out to get supplies. I was down in the corral at 10:00 hanging out with the herd & all was normal. At 12:20, I promised my 9 year old lunch at McDonalds, so we headed out past the corral. There was a beautiful little girl kushing (laying upright, see photo above). It was obviously a fairly quick easy labor, as she'd already passed the fully intact placenta too. After checking to make sure all was well, we made the quick trip down the street for chicken nuggets from the drive-thru. The new little girl is named Moorea & since she's premature she's an at risk baby. She has all the symptoms of a preemie alpaca: slightly floppy ears, teeth that haven't erupted the surface, down on the pasterns (legs) & trouble sucking. My vet told me that at 320 days gestation, she has a good chance to survive, with significant assistance. the vet had me give her a few cc's of Karo syrup for energy & then she attempted to stand & nurse for the first time. Due to her weak sucking reflex & her mom's engorged teats, the vet has me milking the mom & feeding Moorea 1 oz every hour. I've been syringe feeding her colostrum (the vital first milk)for the last 17 hours. She's made attempts to nurse, but only for very short periods. At this point, I don't know what her prognosis is. the first week is really critical. She can't regulate her temperature, so I need to make sure she's neither too hot or too cold. I'll continue to post updates. Thoughts & prayers are always welcome!
Friday, June 22, 2012
Yesterday I did an interview with LA Talk Radio talking all about how I quickly went from having two alpacas, to having an alpaca ranch & starting Erin Murphy Knits. You'll hear all aboout the benefits of alpaca fiber, what's involved in processing & all the steps to turn raw fiber into a finished product. We also talk about supporting the local economy, marketing via social media and how to start your own small business. Plus of course, the conversation includes Bewitched & my current acting career. The entire interview is archived online (Thursday, June 21, 2012). Enjoy! http://latalkradio.com/cspot.php While you're at it, check out my 100% alpaca hand knit hats for sale!
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
I'm very excited to announce that Erin Murphy Knits is offering our very first items for sale: HATS! These aren't just any hats. They're 100% alpaca, hand knit hats. Our alpacas are raised & loved right at our home & the yarn is processed & spun by hand. Each hat is handmade to your specifications by actress Erin Murphy. Most people aren't aware of all the benefits of alpaca fiber. The fiber is soft as cashmere & lighter weight, naturally water resistant & more durable than wool. Alpacas have no lanolin, so the products are hypo-allergenic. Erin Murphy Knits is completely eco-friendly since alpacas are very easy on the environment & no chemicals are used in processing. We are committed to supporting children's & autism charities! Your hat can be knit in several natural shades ranging from off-white to black or custom dyed in the color of your choice.
Saturday, May 12, 2012
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Friday, April 27, 2012
Monday, January 23, 2012
Fine Alpaca Accessories Hand Knit With Love * Raised & Knit in The USA * Luxury Fiber Soft as Cashmere * Warmer & Lighter Than Wool * Hypoallergenic * Eco Friendly * A Portion of All Proceeds Go to Children's & Autism Charities Follow @Erin_Murphy