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Winterborn Alpaca was founded over 10 years ago when a Canadian traveller stumbled upon a family of Quechua master weavers in the small South American country of Ecuador and both their lives were changed forever.
Although located on the equator, Ecuador is home to some of the largest mountains in the Andes and high upon those windswept slopes the temperature falls low enough that even Canadians need to bundle up. As early as 4000 BC, the Inca had already domesticated the Alpaca, whose fleece has been treasured for thousands of years and once reserved only for royalty due to its remarkable softness, smooth, luxurious texture and of course its comforting warmth. The alpaca is an example of an animal whose relationship with people has endured for so long that they have adapted to domesticity, meaning there are no wild alpacas - they must be shorn in the spring. This task is performed with great care by the Quechua herdsmen who have adapted their way of life to that of the alpaca for countless generations, preserving a symbiont circle and a cultural tradition of immeasurable value.
Many of our finest scarves are still woven using techniques and looms originally carried to Ecuador by German immigrants throughout the 1800's,
Locals warp, weave and brush the finished shawls and scarves using the same methods taught to them generations ago by the Schiess and the Webers, both of whom have become influential families in Ecuador.
Combining and cherishing these traditions of animal husbandry, time-honoured craftsmanship, contemporary design and ethical business practices, Winterborn Alpaca stands proudly behind each product we offer and along with the support of our clients we hope to continue this legacy for generations to come.
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