Beards, Booze, and Bacon: The Mongolian Cashmere Episode

the manual podcast naadam

First, Matt tells the serendipitous story of how he came to find himself staying for a month with a family of shepherds in the middle of nowhere Mongolia. After arriving in the country on what was supposed to be the first leg of a several-months-long trek through Central, East, and Southeast Asia, a random invitation by two Mongolian strangers to visit the countryside resulted in Matt’s first trip to the Mongolian hinterlands.

Fascinated at this point, Chase and Greg question Matt on what he did while in Mongolia and how this resulted in the brilliant business idea of starting a cashmere company that cuts out the middlemen traders who, according to Scanlan, had been ripping off local goatherds for decades. Complicated business talk ensues but ultimately lands on the fact that Matt found himself back in Mongolia with nearly $3 million in dozens of plastic bags. With that money, Matt made his first purchase of cashmere — about 60 tons of it, to hear him tell the tale.

From there, Matt gives us a rundown of how he’s able to bring luxurious, high-quality cashmere to Americans for just $75. The short answer? Supply-chain economics. Matt built Naadam to eliminate multiple steps in the supply chain, cutting out traders, warehouses, and fabric dealers, which ultimately results in a much less expensive, but just as quality piece of cashmere clothing.

Once you’ve got a great cashmere sweater, how do you take care of it? Greg admits to washing and drying his first cashmere sweater with the predictable result that it shrank severely. Chase and Matt both admit they’ve done the same and Matt offers some helpful tips on how to take care of cashmere so you can wear your soft and supple sweater for as long as you live.

You can check out all of Matt and Naadam’s cool cashmere options at the brand’s official site.

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