There are a lot of people out there intrigued with the Valais Blacknose breed. We get inquiries on a daily basis. For someone who likes things organized and accessible, I'm finding the Valais Blacknose resources a little confusing and sometimes chaotic. I'm following multiple breeders on Facebook and any and all organizations that will accept new followers. I'm doing my best to keep up with any events or programs offered. The problem is, the more breeders and organizations I follow, the more my Facebook feed fills up with irrelevant topics. When I do see a Valais Breeder, I often discover they're not in the US. Shows are starting to pop up in my feed only to find out they're in the UK. Don't even get me started on scams! They are becoming more and more common.
When I see a breeder list their website link on Facebook, I take a look. Let's face it, a lot of breeders don't have websites, and for good reason. A good website designer is expensive and it requires continued maintenance. I've been building websites for a little over seven years. It's a lot of work, but I love the process and enjoy designing. Our website has been one of the key elements in connecting with buyers.
Another way to find breeders is Google. The problem is, a lot of breeders don't have the words Valais Blacknose in their farm name. This means they are less likely to be found due to the SEO (search engine optimization). Many times the breeders who do show up are located outside the US.
So you have a Facebook page, which most people don't have the time to post regularly on social media. A website is expensive and time-consuming to maintain and Google just isn't cutting it. To me, this is a problem. If we want to grow this industry we need resources.
I am in the process of creating a digital magazine along with a breeder's directory and a sales catalog. I've taken a leave of absence from my business and brought on an assistant to get the ball rolling in what I think is a much-needed project for the Valais Blacknose Sheep community in the United States. This will be my full-time job until it's up and running and then I can hopefully hire others and oversee the project. The future will tell.
The digital magazine will be published four times a year. The first issue is scheduled to be available on October 25, 2023. That gives me the opportunity to attend the first Valais Blacknose Show being held in the US located in New Jersey. I'm excited because I have no doubt this will be a great show and I'll be able to share the story with my subscribers. I also plan on highlighting some breeders and writing a few articles on an array of useful topics. Of course, there's always room to grow with photo contests and giveaways.
The Breeders Directory will be available at the end of October. A single directory will be a wonderful resource for buyers seeking out reputable breeders. Each breeder will be able to submit their logo, contact information and have links to all their social media as well as to their website if applicable. The directory will be updated monthly.
I think a Sale Catalog will be a game changer. This will give breeders the opportunity to showcase what they have for sale. This includes international breeders who have semen and embryos available in the US. Buyers will be able to shop and connect to the breeders. The Sale Catalog will be updated monthly.
Others will have the opportunity to advertise in the Sales Catalog or the Magazine. This is perfect for those providing services or products to the Valais Blacknose Sheep breed. Anywhere from haulers, veterinarians, reproduction services, registries, and equipment suppliers.
Last, I have a website where all the digital material will be available for subscribers. You'll be able to choose the subscription plan that works best for you. Request to place an ad, and upload all your pictures. Different subscribers will be able to view the Magazine, Breeder's Directory, and the Sales Catalog. I'm making it user-friendly and of course available on your phone. I will determine after it launches if I should make it an app.
The subscriptions will be for 12 months but since we're in the beginning phase, first-time subscribers between July 1st - September 30th will get 14th months. This will give subscribers a full year with all the publications and give me time to create the directory and catalog with the information provided.
I believe the only way to have this industry grow is to have great resources and expose it to as many people as possible, especially young people. That is where the future of this breed is. I know how important social media is. Growing my business to over 180,000 followers on TikTok allowed me the opportunities to be published, provide products for Nickelodeon Kid's Choice Awards, be interviewed on a segment for the Weather Channel and collaborate with other influencers.
I'm committed to this project and I'm hoping all the work and effort, with the help of others in this industry, is going to have a positive impact on the direction of the Valais Blacknose Sheep breed in the US.