|all ages (25+)
Description and Goals of the visit¶
*This activity description is based on a series of visits, perfomed by the shemakes' FarmLab, to women innovators working in wool in the Southeast Austria area which surrounds the Lab. These visits took place in May 2022, the guidelines presented here serves as an inspiration for other types of vitis that a Lab may want to explore. *
The main goal of the visits is to better understand the work of the women innovator in the textile industry, their approach, their lives and their role in the community, and to highlight the role of the women in the innovative entrepreneurial ecosystem.
FarmLab carried out visits to: * Alpakawollmühle: an alpaca farm and wool mill to process alpaca and sheep wool in yarns of different kind for the whole community
Wollgenuss: an association of 5 women shepherdess dedicated to produce felted articraft and to carry out workshops about felting
Erika’s Wollwerkstatt: a small manufacture facility to process the second choice wool for the whole community into duvets
All the women visited were clear examples of successful business, which were, on top, led by women. During the visits the Lab also asked the women innovators to reflect about the role of women in their profession and in their personal experience, and to understand their vision.
MATERIAL AND TOOLS¶
In this case the Lab also took the chance to do interviews on the visit and to produce recorded content for later use. For such, this is the list of materials needed:
- photograph camera for documentation
- 2 video cameras for the interviews
- portable lights for the interviews
- 2 microphones
- a set of questions
3 people to run the activity:
- Moderator, conducting the interviews
- Observer, taking notes, writing down the interesting quotes, keeping track of the timings and of results of the exercise, taking photos and videos for social networks
- Someone documenting the process with the professional video cameras
- Agreeing with the interviewed about the time and hour for the visit and interview
- Defining the best route for the day
- Studying the profile of the women and the companies we were going to visit
- Preparing a set of questions for the interviews - based on the Shemakes questions - and translate them to german
- Share the questions with the videomaker and with the interviewed
- Define and share a detailed plan of the activity with the people involved
DOs AND DON’T¶
DO Take the time to explain carefully what the project is about, its objectives and its expected results
DO Offer to share with the interviewed the final results of the research
These entrepreneurs are very hard working people and very busy, it’s important to respect their timings and keep the visit within a couple of hours not to interfere negatively with their work
TIPS AND TRICKS¶
- Have a previous conversation with the person you are going to visit to ensure she is comfortable with the visit and she understands the dynamics and the objectives
- Remember to bring the consent forms already printed
- Eventually purchase something in the shop as a sign of gratitude
1 - Arrival and introductions (10 min)
2 - Visit of the facilities and documentation of the visit (30 min)
3 - Set up of the video interview (10 min)
4 - Interview (40 min)
5 - Final remarks and depart (20 min)
1 - Arrival and introductions (10 min)¶
Introduce yourselves, the Shemakes project, its objectives and its expected results. Thanks for the time for the interview and for the visit.
2 - Visit of the facilities and documentation of the visit (30 min)¶
Take a tour of the facilities and in the meantime: * understanding the wool process in question, which are the machines or techniques involved and how are they working, * understanding how the business is structured, how is contributing in a special way to the wool industry and why it is successful * understanding the situation in general of the wool industry in the area
Take pictures and photos, both professionals and for social media.
3- Set up of the video interview (10 min)¶
Choose a spot with good natural light and with an interesting background and surroundings where both the interviewed and the interviewer can sit comfortably. Ensure it is silent during the time of the interview.
Set up the additional lights, the microphones and the two cameras.
Chat again with the interviewed prior to the effective interview to have a relaxed conversation.
4- Interview (40 min)¶
Carry out the interview following the prepared set of questions. Be sure that the relevant topics to the Shemakes project have been covered. Take the opportunity to ask further questions based on what you saw in the visit and what emerges from the conversation.
The interview questions can be downloaded here Download English & German PDF
5 - Final remarks and depart (20 min)¶
- Collect and dismount the technical devices
- Get the consent form signed
- Eventually purchase something in the shop as a sign of gratitude
- Thanks for the time for the interview and for the visit
FarmLab Visits Documentation”¶
Erika’s Wollwerkstatt Video Interview¶
Erika’s Wollwerkstatt leads a wool manufacturing facility in Styria, Austria devoted to processing alpaca and sheep wool into a range of products like duvets, pillows, mattress covers, insoles and more, both from her own wool and that of others. This very successful business fills a gap in the market because it answers to the need of processing small amounts of local wool and makes use of lower quality wool that often is discarded.
A few years after Erika and her husband took over the family farm in 2011, the dental assistant decided to begin her own wool business, reconverting the cows stable into a wool workshop. In this video for SheMakes, she talks about how she started this adventure, her relation with the clients and the machines, and her daily routine.
Follow her website: http://www.erikaswollwerkstatt.at/
Monika Reindl Video Interview¶
Monika is one of the 5 sheep farmers of Wollgenuss, a solo women's association dedicated to handcraft products from 100% sheep's wool. Wollgenuss (roughly translatable as “the fascinating delights of sheep wool”) processes handmade, natural sheep wool products from the province of Eastern Styria in Austria since 2004. In Edelsbach near Feldbach, they built the first Styrian sheep's wool yurt, where they also organise courses and workshops about felting.
Monika was educated in tourism and worked in museum management before starting working full-time as a sheep farmer with the Wollgenuss association, of which she has been the chair since its foundation.
In this video for SheMakes, she talks about the current value of sheep wool in the region, her very own relation with it, and of the challenges of a women entrepreneur.