Coming to Ibiza with a long-term dream that turned into a reality, Bart Cop and his wife San moved to Ibiza with the hopes to start their very own alpaca farm with a weaving studio in the sunny Balearic Islands. Bart reflected on their journey to the island and starting a dream business, which we just had to share.
Before we moved to Ibiza at the end of 2018, my wife San and I arguably lived a totally different life. While San had been working for over 25 years as a psychiatric nurse in ER on a night shift, I was an author, freelance journalist and later editor-in-chief for different media outlets in Belgium, The Netherlands and the UK. We had always loved our jobs, but at one point – a few years ago – work pressure got the best of us and the excitement started to wane and whither. We went on holidays to Ibiza for the first time only about six years ago. It was more or less by accident, as the incorrect cliché of it being a ‘party island’ had always kept us far away from the White Isle. But to our surprise we discovered the other, beautiful side of Ibiza with its rural beauty, tranquillity, and joie de vivre. That’s when we started thinking about starting a new life in Ibiza and doing something completely different here. We really wanted to get out of the rat race and suddenly there was an exit to the Balearics..
Before we decided to move, San had been weaving on a traditional wooden loom for about five years: a hobby that quickly developed into a real passion. As a weaver, she discovered the phenomenon of alpaca fibre: high quality wool that is much lighter and softer than ordinary sheep’s wool and yet eight times warmer. After a bit of research, we also became fascinated by the animals themselves and their many unique qualities. We considered keeping alpacas ourselves. Then I said to my wife: “Hold on, why don’t we just carry out that plan on Ibiza? Two new dreams fulfilled in one Big Move!” And that’s what we did: we found a farm and land in the rural North of the island, bought a handful of alpacas with excellent wool quality and instead of treating mentally disturbed patients and interviewing stars such as Radiohead or Pelé, San and I became respectively a professional weaver and a farmer. One year on San now creates unique scarves and other creations from the alpaca wool of our own animals on her loom and happily spend my days on the farm, feeding and walking our wool factory…
Looking back now, we regularly realise that leaving everything behind in your homeland and (re)starting completely from scratch in a new country is a huge step that raises a lot of questions, but we knew what we wanted and we are the first to admit we had our share of luck along the way. We are very grateful for that. But so far, we haven’t regretted our decision, not for a single second. We would never be able to return to the hectic life we used to know and live. We seize the day and see what comes. That is why we plan much less in the long term, because if there is one thing we have learned here, it is that every day in Ibiza you may come across someone or something that suddenly takes your business and your life in a different direction. Then again, if you would have told me five years ago that I was on my way to start a business scooping up alpaca poo and selling it as natural soil fertilizer… I would have had a hard time believing you.