Good news for those of you who love your cashmere but don’t want to burn a hole in your pocket. Naadam, a cashmere startup, is now selling top-grade cashmere sweaters for $75. Until now, the lowest price you could pay for high-quality cashmere was $99 from brands like Everlane and Grana. And of course, it’s possible to pay even less for low-grade cashmere that is artificially softened and will quickly degrade.
Naadam is banking that these $75 sweaters will be such a hit that it’s launching a store in New York’s SoHo district in late October that will exclusively sell this one product, in addition to its brand-new Bleecker Street store that sells a wider range of merchandise. The sweater store is an interesting concept because it will allow Naadam to explain to customers how it’s able to create ethical, high-end cashmere at such low prices.
Naadam is known for its unorthodox approach to its supply chain. Most apparel companies buy their cashmere on a global exchange through third-party suppliers. But Matthew Scanlan, Naadam’s founder, had no idea about any of that when he started his business. He happened to be on a trip to Mongolia when he got lost in the Gobi Desert, where he met goat farmers. When he realized how little these farmers were getting paid, given how expensive cashmere is in the U.S., he decided buy raw cashmere from the farmers directly and paid them 50% more than other brokers and middlemen.
And this is how he ended up buying $3 million worth of cashmere in Mongolia with money that was stuffed in plastic bags, a story documented in the funny video below.