Fiber Art Business a Success

1 decade 11 months 1 week ago October 17, 2005 Oct 17, 2005 Monday, October 17 2005 Monday, October 17, 2005 3:55:31 PM CDT in News

Carl Ahrens looks like a small time factory worker, but looks can be deceiving. Carl is a Martinsburg Missouri Farmer who's transformed his farm thanks to his wife Bonnie's passion, which began more than 15 years ago.

"I saw a Sheep to shawl contest and I was fascinated."Bonnie saw a competition where participants took wool from a sheep to finished product in five hours.

"I decided I wanted a product I could start on the farm and finish it and sell it," said Bonnie Ahrens of ABC Ranch.

From there, Bonnie began her research. Rabbits for angora-sheep for wool. It didn't take long before she retired from her full-time job in order to pursue a business in fiber art. Bonnie transforms rabbit fur and wool into everything from pincusions to wallhangings and even sculptures.

The farm transformed too, Carl remodeled old cattle barns and chicken coops to hold the picker and carding machines.

"Bonnie runs the wool, I just know the equipment," said Carl.

Carl also updated equipment as technology changed. Once he put in a new piece of machinary that made Bonnie's heart sing.

It was everything she had dreamed of, so i was in trouble. Bonnie seems to know what works and her business keeps growing. It's escalated by word of mouth. I don't advertise because I'm three months behind all the time just by friends telling friends.

But word of mouth alone doesn't explain Bonnie and Carl's success. The problem is that a lot of people now decide they want to do it and they think they can set up a business in six months when they haven't had any background in either the fiber, the animals, the processes it takes to get it to a certain point.

Bonnie said, "It's that attention to detail from start to finish that keeps her in business."

Bonnie also teaches fiber art classes at the ranch. From animal to art, the Ahrens' have created a unique business in the heart of mid-Missouri.

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