Business Spotlight: Cut the chill in style with clothing from Alpaca Collections in La Jolla



There’s no reason to let the colder temps chill your seasonal spirit this winter. Alpaca Collections cuts winter chill with some of the finest woolen wear available — wool from the coats of llamas.

“Alpaca is thermal, so it adapts to the body’s temperature,” said storeowner Santiago Ortega. “If it’s cold, alpaca keeps you warm, and when it’s warm, you won’t suffocate; it’s also very soft to wear.”

Alpaca Collections at 1225 Prospect St. in La Jolla caters mainly to women, with a small selection of items for men. The store is a colorful showcase of Alpaca coats, sweaters, shawls, scarves, hats and socks. Colors vary from naturally colored, eco-friendly alpaca to eco-friendly colored styles in browns, black, red, blues, greens, etc., depending on each season. Soft colorful blankets and throws are a popular store item.

“We also sell a clothing line of beautiful, soft Alpaca and silk-blend shawls in a rainbow of 40 different colors (all sorts of reds, greens and blues),” Ortega said. Alpaca silk shawls cost $100-$160, and Alpaca silk sweaters sell for $160 to $300.

Alpaca Collections also features a line of all-natural Bamboo-fibered clothing and a line of Italian silk products (blouses, skirts, pants and socks).

“Our premium line is called ‘Vicuna,’ which is the finest natural fiber in the world,” Ortega said. “A Vicuna scarf sells for $1,450, a shawl is $3,000 and a vicuna cape sells for $5,000.”

Peruvian-born Ortega said he began his alpaca clothing business with a website staffed by four employees working from home in Toledo, Ohio (now his distribution center). He began selling wholesale in 2011.

“Before we opened our store in the Village, we noticed that a lot of people from La Jolla were buying our products online,” he said. “So we opened our first store here and since we opened in August, our online sales have increased 300 percent! Having the Southern California store has had a huge impact on our online sales.”

Ortega said he would eventually like to open a second store in Carmel, California. “I’m getting a lot of compliments on my La Jolla shop,” he said, proudly.

• Alpaca Collections, 1225 Prospect St., La Jolla is open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday-Saturday and noon to 5:30 p.m. Sunday. (888) 308-2636.

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