Julie van Ansem Mink Fur Farmer of Unicorn Farms
Ciao Julie please tell my followers who are you and what do you do in the fur sector in a few words
I’m Julie van Ansem – Goossens. Four years ago I married a fur farmer from The Netherlands, together we now live in Wisconsin that is in the middle east of the USA but originally we are from The Netherlands. I work now since 1,5 years as the Marketing Representative of our brand UNICORN.
How did you find my blog welovefur.com?
I found you on Instagram @samantha and came out by your fur blog. Love it!
Thank you =)
Why did you decide to continue the business of your husband family?
My husband is a 3th generation Mink farmers. Being in a mink farming family they always talking about mink. I start to really like it, and it had my interest. I got the change to visit mink farmers all over the world together with my husband. Step by step I rolled in to it, and I love the marketing side of it because we have a good quality mink and we are proud of it.
What makes your mink special? What are its characteristics?
Our breeding stock we for over 30 years and still improving our quality to make it better. We have mink farms all over the world Like Poland, Romania, Latvia, Holland and the USA. This is because we want to raise the best colors and quality on the world and that is not possible in 1 spot so that’s why we are spread out over the world.
Why should we use your mink skins compared to those coming from China or Finland?
As we mentioned we have mink in 5 different countries, because we would like to raise the colors in specific places and work closely to see what feed they need. We are working really close with our staff from all farms to discuss the best things are to race the mink in the best condition. We have a lot of people working inside our company with a lot of knowledge and experience.
How many mink skins do you produce a year?
We as the Van Ansem Group produce over 1 million top quality mink in 5 different countries all over the world.
Where and how do you sell skins?
We are selling for over 25 years by North American Fur Auctions in Toronto, NAFA.
Do you think you will ever sell skins online one day? Maybe directly from your site?
This is a new trend that that is gaining ground in Germany, Finland and China and it appears to be working.
We are wiling to improve everywhere where is possible. so we are wiling to look for new things this could be the future so we are ready to try it out. We only need to look for a good way to work around it.
We have a special mink that is called “Marble” there are some farmers in the world who has this color but not in the quality and size we have.
This color is available at the NAFA auction and is sold under UNICORN USA.
Could you explain to my follower how the farmers can invent a new mink type? and how you could try to place it in the market?
The best way to try to find for a new mink type is to breed different mink together during the breeding time. This is only once a year so if it is not working out that you could have the next try one year later. This is all going natural.
Could you please describe your life dividing yourself between the farms and the auction?
When an auction is coming up we are very busy with making everything ready and promote our Unicorn brand. In between we also try to travel to our customers in Greece, China and South Korea.
What advice would you give to a young person who wants to open a mink farm?
Before starting your own mink farm do a couple of years some experience on an other mink farm so you can see how it is going and how the things are working. The cycles from the Mink is only once a year so If you work for 10 years on a farm you did the things only 10 times. With other jobs the cycle is coming back more often so you should learn it faster.
With mink farming small mistakes could be made really quick and that big problems can come. So you have to be careful. And make sure don’t start the farm to big.
What are your future plans, goals and dreams for your business?
My goal is to make our brand more popular by young designers, they are the future of the fur business. My dream is that a big designer exclusively used Unicorn skins.
I find your website amazing! How did you had the idea to call you brand Unicorn Magnificent Mink Farms?
We, the van Ansem family, wanted to have a name for our brand that would convey a special feeling for mink because it is such a unique and special commodity. We wanted to express a lasting beauty and also have a bit of mystery or magic invoked. After tossing about a few names, someone suggested Unicorn and we all thought this was perfect. The Unicorn is a mythical creature in almost all cultures. She represents eternal beauty and is soft and gentle and kind to all.
How do you feel being one of the few women that work in this sector?
One word ‘SUPER’. I look up to other women that are working in the fur sector.
What are the things that you love most about your work life and things you love less?
I love meeting new people and traveling around the world, and seeing the new collections of designers for example in Milano.
The less part would be defending yourself to other people how don’t approve working in the fur sector.
What do you think of the anti fur trend?
In the world today, there are diverse cultures and division on many issues. The fur industry is a very ethical trade and one that has been a part of the history of man for hundreds of generations. Fur have provided warmth and the ability to survive for many. Its evolution has taken it to fashion but fur still provides basic needs. If one thinks about living in a world of harsh chemicals and manufacturing processes that destroy the environment and then considers the eco-friendliness of fur, there would be little discussion from this who don’t approve of fur. Fur is an informed choice. However, there will always be those who want to cause problems; lack of education may be one reason and others may disapprove for their personal financial gain and some young people just because the friends are against fur. I was taught to respect others rights to think differently than I do. Most in the fur industry also believe that those who disapprove of our work are entitled to do so. What none of us agree with is their right to attack our farms and family; disrupt of industry gatherings; or harass media and fashion designer with a barrage of misinformation.
What should we wear in summer =)?
A summer dress with FUR flip-flops.
Thank you Julie <3