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By Echoview Fiber Mill News 28 comment24/August Echoview Is An Innovative Fiber Mill and Farm
By Susan Dosier
Echoview is staking its new consumer-facing brand on the alpaca even though the gutsy Western North Carolina business was told that it was impossible to make high-end American alpaca fibers into luxurious consumer goods. Now, the company is proving those naysayers wrong. Alpaca is growing in popularity as a premium product—some say it even trumps cashmere. Today, the company makes fine socks, shawls, yarns and blankets from the alpaca fibers, and natural wool fibers are coming into the growing product mix, as well. Currently, the company employs 14 people—including three generations of local textile workers at the mill.
Julie Jensen, a Washington DC lawyer, started the company. She brought her passion for doing business a new way to creative, artsy, agricultural Asheville, North Carolina. In 2005, she started Echoview Farm, a 78-acre working farm. Today, her dream has grown to include a Gold LEED certified textile fiber mill and retail business that makes premium, eco-friendly, natural apparel, knit kits, yarn and home goods.
“American manufacturing is absolutely essential to providing a larger American middle class,” Jensen says. “We are a part of that, and we want to be an economic engine for our community. We believe in what we make and the people who make it. Our heart and soul goes into it.”
Echoview offers these high-end items online at echoviewnc.com:
- Utility socks made with luxurious alpaca fiber, designed for consumers that spend time on their feet.
- Luxurious alpaca shawls
- Handmade dryer balls—an environmentally friendly, toxin-free alternative to dryer sheets (the product is one of their best sellers)
- Natural fine virgin wool baby blankets
- 100 percent wool mattress pads for cribs
- Zen mat for yoga
- A variety of yarns and fibers for knitters
- Knit kits for hats, scarves, home goods and more
- Pure North Carolina honey from the hives and beekeeper at Echoview Farms
- Coming soon: Luxurious alpaca FACTION socks for every day and dressy occasions. Think cashmere for your feet.
Local Retail in Asheville: Find an exclusive collection of yarns made for the Biltmore Estate at the property gift shops; find yarn in Asheville at the Grovewood Gallery and Gallery of the Mountains at The Omni Grove Park Inn, Yummi Yarns and Asheville NC Home Crafts (crib mats available here, too). Dryer balls are available at William & Grace and Nest Organics (crib mats, too). Buy honey at Asheville Bee Charmer.
Local Retail in Hendersonville, NC: Find dryer balls at Homestead Linens & Gifts, The Wrinkled Egg, and the Hendersonville Community Co-Op and more. Buy honey at Kanuga Conference Center.
More Retail: Shops in Saluda, NC; Brevard, NC; Black Mountain, NC; Columbia, SC; Los Angeles, CA and Indian Beach, FL also carry products. Contact us for the complete retail list.
RETAIL SHOP AT ECHOVIEW FIBER MILL
Located on the first floor of the Mill, the retail shop features shawls, knit kits, yarns, goods made by the company and a few items from local artists as well. You’ll also find the honey, leather britches, grits and eggs (when available) from the farm.. The shop is open from 9 am to 4 pm, Monday - Friday. http://echoviewnc.com/visit-echoview/
Every Tuesday at 1 pm, visitors receive free, guided tours of the Mill and learn how the Mill’s machines turn raw fibers into finished yarns and soft, luxurious products. http://echoviewnc.com/visit-echoview/
Today, Echoview Farm supplies a portion of the alpaca fibers used at the nearby Fiber Mill. The farm is home to alpacas, goats, chickens, 34 bee hives, a full-time farm manager and friendly dogs and cats. The farm’s corn is processed into “Moonshine Grits.” Old-time Appalachian foodways enthusiasts are gratified when they learn that Echoview makes leather britches (fresh greasy beans dried so they can be preserved and eaten in the winter). They market pure honey online and in the shop. Jensen experimented with raising hops for the local beer industry for a short time but found more traction with animals and more traditional crops. Groups of 10 or more can book paid tours of the farms if they call in advance. http://echoviewnc.com/visit-echoview/
COMMERCE AND COMMUNITY
Echoview also runs a summer day camp for girls. The girls swim, make jewelry, knit, felt, weave, cook, and learn what it’s like to interact with animals on a farm. Community involvement comes naturally to the company; a local knitting group that started meeting in the Echoview conference room became so popular, it moved to a larger location.
PLAN A VISIT TO WEAVERVILLE AND ASHEVILLE
The fiber mill and retail location are seven minutes away from downtown Weaverville with its inns, nationally notable Mangum Pottery Studio and Gallery, restaurants and shops. The Echoview Fiber Mill is 16 minutes from downtown Asheville, N.C.