About Alpaca by Design – The Nation’s Premier Alpaca Store
Alpaca by Design – The Nation’s Premier Alpaca Store, is one of the largest alpaca specialty retail shops in the U.S.
Steve & Anne Segal originally opened the shop in 2007. Prior to that, they raised alpacas in Colorado and also co-published and designed Alpacas Magazine, which helped give them the foresight to see the growth potential of the industry in the States. They are hand weavers and work with other local artisans that felt, knit, and make other beautiful one-of-a-kind objects.
In 2022, Alpaca by Design was purchased by premiere alpaca judge and breeder Amanda VandenBosch of Flying Dutchman Alpacas, travel, nature, architecture & fine art photographer Wasim Muklashy, and renowned interior designer Dahli Brant of Capitol Designs West. The new team has big plans to take what the Segals began to help push the growing alpaca industry forward!
Yeah, sure, we’re an alpaca store. But we’re not just any alpaca store. While most stores simply stock product, we take our stock in stories, in history, in rewarding and recognizing the hardship behind true artisanship.
What you’ll see from us as we evolve will reflect just that.
While we certainly put a healthy amount of focus on espousing the unique qualities of this magical natural fiber, qualities that include being hypo-allergic by nature, boasting the softness of cashmere, and its natural resistance to water, most importantly, we plan to be wholly intentional in who and how we source our product from.
If the product is imported from Peru or Ecuador or one of the handful of regions that alpaca originate from, we plan to support the vendors that are truly taking care of their people, their employees, their local communities, and the women and children and indigenous populations that rely on the alpaca for their very livelihood.
If the product is domestic or local to Central Oregon, we will make sure to source those products from farmers and producers that have the same value set in the work that they do.
Finally, we believe sustainability plays an important factor in helping to grow a thriving alpaca industry, and we intend to focus on supporting companies, brands, and in many cases individual artisans, that share those same beliefs.
While the product sells itself – as soon as you feel anything alpaca, you can’t help but feel good, ultimately, anything we carry at Alpaca by Design, we’d like to also connect you to the very real human story behind it.
The alpaca has given us so much.
So very much.
And giving back to those that truly made it possible is embedded in our ethos.
What we’d like is for you to also feel good about where you’re putting your hard earned dollars.
So come on in, #FeelTheFloof
Who Are We?
Three years ago, they didn’t even know each other. They were floating around in their various orbits, doing all their life stuffs and whatnots, completely oblivious to the serendipity that would ultimately bring them all together.
And then 2020 happened.
Like everyone else during that wacky year-that-shall-not-be-named, as they searched for ways to make the most of challenging situations, much energy was spent on surrounding themselves with things that made them feel good, and pivoting at least parts of their lives to revolve around that.
For this particular group of three…it turned out to be alpacas.
Hailing from three wildly different backgrounds, the new team behind Alpaca by Design has come together and made it a goal to spread and share the genuine joy that these magical creatures brought to each of them.
It all starts with Amanda VandenBosch. While many of you may already know her as the owner of the Tumalo Coffeehouse, you may not realize that she is alpaca royalty! Amanda has been a Senior AOA Halter and Fleece Judge and an Alpaca Judge Trainer and Instructor in the United States for over 20 years and has one of the world’s most sought-after breeding programs on her farm Flying Dutchman Alpacas. Amanda literally helped write the book on alpaca judging and is the brainchild behind Innovative Fleece Assessment, the new judging program designed to help breeders of all grades of alpaca usher in a new era focused on a sustainable alpaca industry. Amanda also serves on the board of Quechua Benefit, a nonprofit organization dedicated to social justice for the Quechua people living in highland Peru.
In late 2019, professional travel and landscape photographer, videographer and virtual reality producer Wasim Muklashy was asked by Quechua Benefit to join them on their annual tour of Peru’s Altiplano. He was tasked with documenting the humanitarian projects that Quechua Benefit was involved in with indigenous populations in the Andes, as well as to capture various alpaca farms in their habitats of origin. Perhaps most crucially, Wasim was tasked with capturing the magic of a chaccu, an ancient Incan Sun God ritual involving the vicuńa, the rare distant cousin of the alpaca that produces amongst the finest fiber in the world. It was here that he met Amanda, who was one of the tour guides on that trip. They struck a friendship that ultimately led to his living on her farm during 2020-2021 and immersing himself in all things alpaca.
At the start of 2020, Dahli Brant was completely engulfed in her professional interior design career as founder of Capitol Designs West. Her impeccable eye for style, paired with her innate intuition to help clients of all walks of life realize their visions, has guided a career that has spanned nearly 3 decades and has seen her design hundreds of unique high end properties all over the globe. As the pandemic hit, she found herself spending more time at her home in Central Oregon and falling in love with a more relaxed pace of life. One fateful morning, she walked into the Tumalo Coffeehouse and happened upon Amanda and they immediately hit it off. What happens when you put Amanda’s expertise in the alpaca industry in the same room with Dahli’s love for textiles and luxurious natural fibers? Let’s put it this way – little more than one year later, she now finds herself as the owner of several alpacas and the third partner in Alpaca by Design!
The team is on a mission to not only bring increased awareness of this incredible product to the Central Oregon community, but in a way that also shines a light on the Peruvian communities in the Andes highlands, largely made up of indigenous Quechua women, who despite their hardships and lack of resources, have nurtured and built and continue to produce some of the finest alpaca product on the planet.
Alpacas are a magical creature.
And the fibers they produce have magical properties.
We know this.
Some of you might know this.
But now it’s time for everyone to know this.
And that’s what we’re designing Alpaca by Design to do.