Fiber Mills in the US…

Are you interested in joining other artisan fiber mills in the US to slow down fast fashion? There’s so much that needs to change in the world of textiles and fashion, and artisan fiber mills are playing a key role. It goes beyond sustainability and moral issues. It has left the fabric of our culture tattered. But many are beginning to wake up to the true cost of fashion and artisan fiber mills are helping to further this positive change in the marketplace.

You might find this map helpful in understanding where current mills are located in the US. In the last decade, the number of artisan mills has easily doubled. Yet there are still ten states who don’t have any access to a fiber mill in their state. Meaning they have no ability to create fiber products native to their local state. Twenty-two states have just one or two.

How much fiber does your state produce annually?

The amount of wool production in your state (which doesn’t include goat or camelid production) can be found at the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistical Service. Simply select the state you live in or are considering for your relocation. This will help you to begin determining the potential demand for fiber processing services.

This, however, may not be a good litmus test. Consider that the New England states report a total of 210,000 pounds of sheep wool production annually. And yet they represent 13 mills in those six states. That would mean that each mill should potentially be responsible for 16,000 pounds per year. But then consider the numbers in California alone which produces 2.8 million pounds of sheep wool annually yet they only have 6 mills. Meaning that each mill is potentially responsible for 467,000 pounds per year. Now consider these numbers in light of the fact that the a fully developed artisan fiber mill typically produces 6,000 pounds annually. There’s lots of room for growth.

Discovering potential markets

Finally you’ll want to consider access to potential markets in your state that you or your farmers will have access to. This topic should have it’s own post. But it’s worth mentioning that you’d want to begin asking questions like: Where are they? What are their seasons? How big are they? Part of this means you will have to do a deeper dive and determine what raw fibers are being produced in your state and what finished products those potential markets are looking for.

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