Ten years ago we had an idea – to make the warmest, softest, and versatile clothing from yak, one the world’s rarest and most sustainable fibres. This idea wasn’t hatched in a corporate boardroom or marketing suite, it was hatched in a yak wool tent, at 4,000 metres whilst sipping yak butter tea. Ideas hatched in these environments turn out differently, you think of the needs of those around you, you think of your own needs living in such an environment, and when you come away and start building the framework of the idea, those early interactions remain central to your longer-term thinking.
Since those early sips of tea many things we believed true then have become reality today. Yak fibre is warmer and softer than wool. You can make great clothing from yak fibre. People care about the impact their purchasing decisions have on the planet, people’s lives, and their own health. Yaks are still one of the coolest animals out there. The ideals we had then are as real today as they were then.
Since those early days we've seen a growing acceptance of yak at the premium end of the textile industry, meaning fair prices for the fibre can be sustained. Each year our network of small, high-quality manufacturing partners in China, Italy and the United Kingdom help us make incremental improvements to products as we learn more about the fibres we're working with.
To help sustain those at the source of this supply chain we invest two percent of our revenues back into the communities we source from. These two percent contributions go to entrepreneurial Tibetans who are trying to make a positive difference in their communities, and often the ventures they found are directly linked to our own supply chain. Our partnership with iYak in Qinghai has created jobs, new skills and helped herders maintain their traditional ways of life.
Travel was the original inspiration behind Khunu, and its tales from the plateau that continue to intrigue and inspire us to explore further…..thankfully we can now do that in extra warmth and comfort.