During the winter in Mongolia, temperatures drop to under -40C. In order to protect themselves from the environment, the animals develop superfine wool coats. The natural environment here and the traditional, nomadic, free-range way of raising the animals is what makes Mongolian cashmere the most sought after in the world.
I'm pretty jealous of the goats and their coats. I've been living in Mongolia for 5 years. Originally as a Peace Corps volunteer and then coming back to do business development work, I've felt plenty of those -40 temps. I've got some history with the textiles industry here through a previous clothing label, and am using that experience to bring ULA+LIA international! I need Kickstarter's help to meet the shipping requirements to get some inventory for an online shop, so we are taking pre-orders at direct, wholesale prices!
Most of the 5 years I've lived in Mongolia have been spent in Mongolia's capital, Ulaanbaatar (UB). Sometimes, UB can get some hate for the issues a lot of developing cities have, which are mainly the traffic and the pollution that comes through in the winter. Problems aside, UB is cool, thriving, and has a pulse once you get to know it. It's always changing, and it's also the heart of manufacturing in Mongolia. Without Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia wouldn't work.
I took this idea to the beginning of ULA+LIA. Natural, un-died fibers from the countryside turned into beautiful finish products in the capital, with a high-quality, durable finish. After using the fibers to stay warm through the harsh winters, animals shed their finest fibers in the spring. That's when herders sheer their sheep, or brush the yaks and goats to harvest their rare fibers.
Most of these throws can also be worn as a sweet blanket scarf if you're brave enough! The beautiful fibers carry the Mongolian, nomadic soul, and the infusion of some urban refinement makes them perfect in any home. I personally guarantee you'll love it!
Traditionally overshadowed by its softer wool companion, cashmere, Mongolian sheep's wool has been gaining popularity lately as domestic processing and production in Mongolia have developed enough to support the unique Mongolian wool. Originally, I didn't plan to use sheep wool with this label, but was shocked at the softness and quality of the wool blankets during development. Warm, soft, and durable, sheep's wool provides the Mongolian spirit at a lower price.
Sounds strange, but feels incredible. Exotic and less known than sheep's wool and cashmere, yak wool should actually be called yak cashmere. Being finer and softer than some cashmere from other countries, yak wool feels almost like a merino/cashmere blend.
Due to their unique habitat of high elevations and bitterly cold temperatures, yak wool is both very fine and soft, but also comprised of abnormally long and durable fibers. Even with my years of experience around cashmere and wools, I sometimes need to double check labels to confirm if it's yak wool and not cashmere.
Due to their relatively low numbers and limited supply, I'm promising 7 yak throws for immediate delivery, and the rest before the end of January. They will all probably get out with the first batch, but it might take me a little longer to get them all together. I'll make it happen, I just didn't want to over promise.
The ultimate in luxury. It's hard to put into words how incredible it is to cuddle up with a pure cashmere blanket! Mongolian cashmere is uniquely known for its softness and durability in international markets. Especially with the durable and sturdy woven construction, our blankets and throws are lightly brushed to soften the fabric, while the weave keeps it tightly held together. Cashmere items aren't generally seen as something you can pass down to your children, but if you give them a bit of care, they will be around indefinitely!
This is my favorite hat ever. It's thin enough to wear in the spring or fall, but warm enough to rock in the winter as well. Fold it over and double it up over your ears, or let it out flat for a relaxed look. Timeless! Doesn't matter if you're 16 or 60, this hat will be perfect. Same one I'm wearing in the videos! Will do some stretch goals for different colors, so let me know what you guys are interested in. I always recommend the pure, undyed colors because they are the softest, but sometimes you just can't beat a black beanie!
Heaven is wearing cashmere socks. These are cable knitted for strength and for incredible softness. I recommend wearing these around the home on a cold morning while sipping some coffee, but use 'em in your boots for extra warmth. Recommended for sizes 6-10. Makes an incredible gift!
I know I come off a bit casual, but this campaign and business mean a lot to me. The plan for this brand and campaign is to not only develop into a larger business that I can pursue full time, but to also use it as a proof of concept for small Mongolian businesses to reach international markets.
There are some great companies here with incredible products and unique stories behind them, but need a some cash and a bit of a customer base to get going abroad. I've worked for years doing business development here, and I already have 3 or 4 brands with incredible stories that I want to consult and partner with on kickstarter campaigns, and then work together with them to set up international distribution.
The products ULA + LIA sells also support the the nomadic herders and their lifestyle here in Mongolia. They are vulnerable to climate change and changing economics, and the international support can help to stabilize prices and protect their livelihood.
THANK YOU for reading this far and for supporting the project. If you have any questions about Mongolia, the herders, cashmere, wool, yaks, ANYTHING, let me know! I can and will go on for hours!
Risks and challenges
With half a decade of experience in Mongolia, I understand the business environment and the logistical challenges of working here. I've already met with my suppliers and confirmed that we will have items ready or be able to produce if needed.
I'm starting slow with my new label, but am confident I'll be able to get everything sent out on time. I have great support from my family back home, and they can always help with deliveries and exchanges if I'm in Mongolia!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (25 days)