We hope that you enjoy this series featuring interviews with FiberCrafty shop owners. Our goal is to give you a little peek behind the scenes and a chance to learn more about our talented business owners.
Today's post features Debi Roberts of BaaBerry Farms based in Miller, NE. When Debi isn't busy running her farm, she puts a lot of thought into designing her project bags and hand-dyeing yarn. She is also pursuing her dream of owning a fiber business and designating her farm as a sanctuary.
Tell us a little bit about you. Where are you from, what crafts do you enjoy, what is your background, do you have any pets, etc? I currently live in the middle of Nebraska, after having moved here 5 years ago with my husband from South Texas, where we raised our 4 kids. Being a military brat, I have lived just about everywhere, including multiple countries. We own a 120 year old abandoned General store on just under 30 acres, where we raise our fiber flock of mainly Corriedale sheep. We have 5 Great Pyrenees dogs, 4 house cats, and 2 grouchy geriatric Pekingese house dogs. We also have about 26 laying hens, and a few dairy goats.
I began playing with fiber as a very little girl. My Granny taught me to knit and crochet starting when I was 5 years old, so going on 48 years now. I also sew, quilt, and hand-dye all of our yarns. I have our yarns mill spun at a local to us mill, at just over 250 pounds of fleeces a year from our ladies in the pastures, I just cannot handle all the processing any more. We purchased our property in the hopes of opening a combination Yarn shop/Coffee shop. Hopefully sometime soon, we will see that dream come true.
What is the name of your shop? Is there a story behind the name? BaaBerry Farms got its name as a result of my very sarcastic sense of humor. As this is a g-rated site, I will let ya'll sort out what it means.
How long have you had your business? For just about a year and a half.
Every story has a beginning, how did your business get started? Our business actually started as the result of several things. We knew it was what we wanted to do, and we were on track to actually open the brick and mortar store, when I was seriously injured at work. So everything came to a stand still. I decided after some recovery time, that in order to keep our sheep, and our property, I had to do something. So began the online shop, and attending Fiber Fairs when I was able, so that we could keep our sheep fed. After three major surgeries, in the last 2 years, and at least 2 more to go, it hasn't been easy.
Do you have a favorite pattern that shows off your products? I personally adore the BaaBerry Scarf that I recently published on Ravelry (it's free!). It works up wonderfully in any of our yarns. I have been making them for years for family and friends.
What else would you like to share? To say that it has been a challenge to start my own business doing what I love would be an understatement. Financially we were wiped out even before I got started, and starting a business with literally no budget is not something I recommend to anyone. It is a daily fight, and many times I have wanted to just walk away. But I love what I do, and I love my sheep. Hopefully my health will continue to improve over the next few years, and the dream of our brick and mortar shop will happen.
We are also in the process of having our property declared Historically Significant, and as we are a non-slaughter farm, we are making some other changes to further insure that our ladies in the pastures live full and purposeful lives.
What's your favorite feature or part of FiberCrafty (as a shopper or shop owner)? The best thing about having our shop on FiberCrafty, is Pam the owner. She has made an extremely user friendly site, and is always available to answer any questions and give feedback.
Debi, thank you for sharing about yourself, your lady sheep and your plans! I'm really excited to see your farm become a sanctuary. Debi's products can be found for sale in her FiberCrafty shop, BaaBerry Farms.