It was my great pleasure to interview Mary Egbert from Camaj Fiber Arts. Even more so since she and I have met in person on a few occasions at the TNNA trade shows. And, she sent us a wonderful entry for our video and blog post contest a while back. Also, her products are BEAUTIFUL!
Unicorn Fibre: Hi Mary, how goes it? Even thought we’ve met, I don’t know the backstory of your company, so this is a nice treat. Please tell me and our readers a little bit about how you got started.
Mary Egbert: We raised alpacas back in 2005 when we lived in Utah. I knew nothing about the fiber end of things and read every book and watched every video that was out there re: hand processing fleece, dyeing and spinning. I started washing fiber long before I spun. I bought my first wheel , a Louet S10, and it sat In the corner intimidating me for a year. Then I took the plunge and loved it! I took my first spinning class with Jacey Boggs in 2013.
UF: Fun! I resisted spinning for a while too, but it eventually sucked me in! Looks like you have a lot going on right now. I just realized you included Unicorn Power Scour and Fibre Rinse with your Raw Lock Box and we have been a monthly sponsor of your Spinning Box. I bet a lot of spinners would like to get their hands on your next offerings. How can people find you?
ME: A lot of ways! Here are all of our links.
UF: Wow! That is a lot of great stuff you have to offer! How do most people find their way to you?
ME: They find me through Facebook , You Tube videos, my website and Etsy. I do a few festivals a year so I can meet my customers face to face. It’s nice to meet people that I have developed a relationship with online.
UF: What are some of your favorite products and your bestsellers?
ME: My favorite products are all of them! I love everything I sell or I would not sell it. Everything I sell I have sampled and/or used so I can experience the product and pass along that information to my customer. If I don’t love it I know my customer won’t either. My best selling item is Soffsilk®, but the Spinning Box is gaining speed.
UF: What is the most surprising thing that has happened in your business?
ME: It surprises me how many people watch my videos and the positive impact that has had on my business. It really is fun getting a message from someone that said I taught them how to spin or I they learned how to dye fiber from watching my videos. It makes me feel like I’m giving back to the community and sharing what I know.
UF: You are a wonderfully supportive Unicorn Fibre dealer. How did you learn about Unicorn Fibre products?
ME: Through my tenacious research during my start up days when I was hand washing alpaca. It was, and still is, one of my favorite fiber soaps.
UF: I have to admit, I love washing a raw fleece and I will be starting up with that soon, maybe our next nice, dry day. What is your favorite thing to do outside of work?
ME: Going to the beach and dancing. Not at the same time of course. Oh and being with my family, especially my grandchildren…all six of them. They are my heart.
UF: That is sweet. I bet they have fun when they see you. What is your favorite craft and who taught you to do it?
ME: Well my very first craft was sewing. My mother and grandmother were tailor quality sewers and they taught me a lot. I did that for a very long time and made clothes and toys for my kids. Once I got the taste of fiber arts and spinning yarn, sewing took a back seat.
UF: I know how that goes. I just got back into crochet and hand sewing clothes, after a long time where knitting and spinning were center stage. So many crafts, so little time! What is your typical workday like?
ME: Up at 7…coffee…computer time to check/answer emails and orders…pack orders..design cards, adverts, or things for the Spinning Box….play on FB for a little while talking to friends and customers. Walk the dogs…check emails again. Some days I dye fibers or spin or do vids for You Tube. I babysit my twin grandsons a bit during the week too. I have a busy, full, wonderful life.
UF: Sounds like a lot of fun. What advice do you wish you could give yourself when you first got started?
ME: Why didn’t you do this years ago??!! I take that back, I have always had the entrepreneurial spirit, hunger for knowledge, am a great researcher and have flung lots of things at the wall and this has stuck and I love doing it!
UF: You obviously have passion for what you are doing and a great attitude! What is your favorite quote or saying?
ME: I have a couple.
If you have not failed you never tried
Every great journey begins with a small step
Life is not about finding yourself, life is about creating yourself
Believe and act as if it were impossible to fail.
UF: Mary, thanks for a wonderful interview. Is there anything else you would like to add?
ME: I can’t thank Unicorn enough for your support to my little biz. I will always be a great supporter of Unicorn as well.
UF: Aww, thanks! Hope to see you soon in the real world!