TREMONTON, Utah — About 10 years ago when Cody Roche got his first Angora goat, he did it because he liked how they looked and not what they could one day become.
What he didn’t know was that his eye for a different and docile goat would make him into one of the top-selling producers in a market that’s known for competitiveness. Roche took that world by storm.
“I just thought they were cool looking. I never actually had any idea you could make money on them. I thought at the time they would be kind of cool to add to my farm. I had a little bit of everything then. Now I only have goats and dogs,” Roche said.
It was also the temperament of the breed that Roche began to love.
“They’re very quiet. They’re not like a typical goat,” he said. The docile nature of the breed caught his attention — that and their hair. While on Facebook, he noticed that other Angora goat owners were selling mohair, and Roche wanted in on it.
“It’s a very, very tight circle and you have to get in on that,” he said about the market for mohair.
Angora goats’ hair is called mohair — not to be confused with angora, which comes from rabbits. Mohair is a soft fiber, not wool.
Roche started dabbling in the market by selling raw mohair. “I just clip it right off the goat,” he said. “Most of mine is sold like that or washed.”
Facebook is where he first started selling his product and his popularity in the mohair industry skyrocketed.
“That’s where I started being famous,” Roche said. “I got some of the bigger fiber artists out there to notice me and like my hair and they gave me the thumbs up. That was when it really got wild.”
When the time came to get really serious, Roche started his own Facebook page for selling his product and “Mohair and More Done Cody Style,” officially became a thing.
“Most of my fleeces sell within seconds,” he said.
Roche sells his product all over the world. In Italy, customers use his product for doll hair, while others use mohair for scarves, hats, or basically anything they want.
Not all of his product is raw, and Roche noticed that he needed to add another step in his business.
“If I’m going to have these animals then I’m going to learn how to spin because then you know what to breed for and what produces the best fiber,” Roche said.
That next step was spinning the mohair. His first spinning wheel came from Texas. Learning the art was a whole new challenge, but he learned quickly.
“It was a disaster,” Roche said about his first attempt at spinning, but help from friends taught him the art of turning fiber into the yarn.
“What I do is art yarn and I spin right from the locks,” he said.
Spinning produces the yarns, which are then crocheted or weaved into any desired use.
“It’s not complicated. It’s just twisting hair,” he said. “When spinning the hair it’s important to keep the curls and knots.”
“It’s quite relaxing to me,” he added.
Roche also breeds top-quality Angora goats, looking for luster and shine. He knows to enhance that luster by what he feeds them, and he treats the goats well. Twice a year he will shear his goats and Roche knows the science behind it all, adding that the second set of growth is usually better than the first.
“They’re all Angora goats but there’s good fiber and bad fiber,” he said.
The curl and the lock are important when selling the product and it took a lot of trial and error to perfect it.
“Now I know the difference,” he said about his first few attempts.
Roche is one of the top sellers in the market.
“I probably sell more mohair than 90 percent of other producers in the field and I see it’s not only my own but I market it for other people,” he said.
He will also market mohair for others in the field.
“I see what is good,” Roche said. “I will dare say I’m an expert. I can look at something and say ‘that will make good doll hair or that will lock spin beautifully.’”
His keen eye for noticing flaws in the fiber, as well as his top-quality goats, is what made Roche famous in the industry. Roche accomplished this feat in just three years.
On Oct. 13-14, at his home in Elwood, which is also the site for his business, Mountain View Nursery, Roche held his second annual workshop called Fall Fiber and Fun for mohair enthusiasts to catch up on new ideas in the industry.
Seventeen people came to the workshop where they learned how to dye the mohair and spin together, and had dinner and shearing demonstrations. The workshop wasn’t for amateurs, rather it was for experienced people to demonstrate various ways of their craft.
Attendees also had a special guest, Joshua Page from Wales, UK, who also came just for the workshop to demonstrate his famous method of shearing.
“He was a big draw to the event,” Roche added.
The event was co-hosted by Laura Spinner, his partner in the industry and “fiber friend,” as the two share a trust and bond and have helped each other out throughout this journey.
Roche’s journey is far from over. He wants to continue to dominate the industry and hopes that one day his “hobby” will become a full-time gig. Although he never imagined this is where his life would take him, he was first to admit he’s loved it every step of the way.