SEATTLE, Washington — NAADAM Cashmere is a startup company that is setting a new precedent when it comes to manufacturing luxury clothing. Its goal is to democratize cashmere. The company prioritizes transparent business practices. Each of its articles of clothing is obtained through responsible methods from native goat farmers in Mongolia.
The Philosophy Behind NAADAM Cashmere
The CEO’s Matthew Scanlan and Diederick Rijsemus stumbled upon the concept of “Millenialist Capitalism” when they founded the company in 2013. This obscure concept has helped to build the foundation upon which much of this environmentally friendly company’s values are placed. It was through a trip to Mongolia that the founders were able to tap into something that was completely different from all the other clothing manufacturers out there.
Early on, NAADAM Cashmere realized that outside forces were the ones that were controlling the market. By removing them and going directly to the Mongolian farmers has enabled the company to give these farmers 50 percent more profit while still providing consumers high-quality items for a fraction of their competitors’ prices. In providing these farmers with more resources, NAADAM Cashmere is benefitting their bottom line.
In an article for Fortune, Scanlan explains their unique methods. While it is a global concept, it has never been incorporated into a fashion brand before. “I use a simple principle that Fortune 500 companies have known for years – if you invest in your employees, profitability increases.” This company has made it its mission to do exactly that. However, true to the company’s form, this is not accomplished through a traditional business concept.
The Brand’s Mission in Action
In order to make things work, the owners of the company had to tweak what they thought would work to fit their company’s methodology. The increase in profit allows these farmers to use safe breeding practices. The company itself provides veterinary care and vaccinations to promote healthier goats. As safe as their practices are, livestock can still be a highly unpredictable field. These farmers are one potentially disastrous flood or unexpected snowstorm away from losing their entire herd. For this reason, NAADAM Cashmere supplies livestock insurance and has covered more than 100 families to date.
Pasteurization can also take a large toll on the environment. For example, desertification has become a prevalent issue throughout much of Central Asia as a result of topsoil erosion. In hopes of resolving this issue, NAADAM Cashmere has helped to develop more eco-friendly grazing methods through building fence structures that block off rich, fresh land so it can grow.
In addition to obtaining the goat’s hair from the farmers in Mongolia, the manufacturing of the actual cashmere sweaters along with their other products is done in a factory within one of the cities in Mongolia. As a part of the company’s practice, the CEO’s have formed a close relationship and use whatever resources possible to promote the welfare of the workers. The company has had underlying success in establishing jobs within a relatively poor community.
NAADAM Cashmere Gives Back
To fulfill another aspect of the company’s founding principles, it has partnered with the Gobi Revival Fund to support MongoliAid. MongoliAid is a prevalent NGO within the Mongolian community that provides aid in the form of blankets and other supplies to those that are in desperate need.
In addition to all their other efforts, NADAAM Cashmere also built NADAAM Park in 2018. In the hopes of rebalancing the country’s struggling ecosystem, the company planted 2,000 trees in the park complete with gazebos and areas for children to play. The company established a place of community where people within a 500-mile radius would travel to visit.
Through each aspect of the clothing brand, NAADAM Cashmere is redefining what it means to be a sustainable company in an industry that has not historically been proactive about its values. It also provides assurance for the brand’s consumers that every cent of their purchase is being used to promote a population’s welfare.
– Joanna Buoniconti