Hi, I am not a pashmina goat but I started a story

The story of how an entrepreneurship idea bloomed in the middle of a frozen Himalayan valley.

Once upon a time…

I was living aimlessly in India and Nepal, looking for a purpose to my physical life on this earth. Yup, still doing that at over 50! years old! I was a freelance web developer, but I felt no passion about this function. I wanted something else.  Freelance work is a high-pressure job. Freedom is illusory and you spend so much time fixing your clients problems on your own time. 

 

I thought, hey, what if I was my one and only client?

Why not make my own business with a brilliant idea, then use all my skills and energy on my own website. I was then in Nepal, in March 2015.   I needed an idea, something unique, with a great product and an even better cause that would stand out.

the dangerous road to Jomsom

View  from my bus, of the road ahead, towards Jomson, Nepal

Up up into the Himalayas

All the while pondering about what to do and how, in my little room in Kathmandu, I had an opportunity to travel to Jomson, North of Pokhara, to help one volunteer put up her fundraising website for a small school. Jomson is famous as the departing point for the Annapurna trek. It is hard to reach, requiring days of walk from Pokhara, or 2 days of the scariest bus ride from Pokhara, or an hour even scarier plane ride. I opted for the bus ride.

 

Rain, snow, cold

I was planning on staying there a few days, then trek to Muktinath, a Buddhist pilgrimage destination. But only a few hours after my arrival, heavy rain and snow came pouring down on the valley. It became cold. Very cold. Minus 15 outside, close to minus inside the guesthouse. There is no heating system up there. Electricity eventually quit. The Internet also. I was the only tourist in the town. I stayed fully clothed under my blankets for days, in dark, with nothing much to do except think and meditate. The only road out was blocked by landslides. I had to cancel my trek (a few people had died during those days).

 

Jomsom in the cold

Downtown Jomson, after the storm

Then I met the goat

One day I was visiting a nearby village and met with this goat, on the feature photo. I asked some locals if it was a pashmina goat. Yup, this is how ignorant I was. I knew about pashmina being some kind of expensive cashmere from the Himalayas. But that was it. Well, I was a bit mocked at with my question, as if I was insulting the glorious pashmina celebrities.

goat in Jomsom

So not meeting a pashmina goat had me thinking

After an other freezing night, I woke up next a project;  finding the pashmina goat. This one I saw is an Himalayan Thar goat mix. It doesn’t remotely look like the pashmina goat, which is much smaller, finer, fluffier, and lives in even higher remote areas of the mountains.  Unfortunately, I was told there are no pashmina goat in Nepal, as they live in even colder, hight and northern regions, mostly in the Ladakhy mountains on the Indian side.

 

From the goat the quest bloomed

My own ignorance sparkled a chain reaction that led to my inner eureka; finding the pashmina goat turned into a quest to find its byproducts; the cashmere scarves.  Cashmere is famous all around the world, but it does originate from the Himalayas, Does it? Or maybe not? Isn't the word 'cashmere' inspired from the people of Kashmir? How about pashmina, where does it come from, where does the word come from. On and on and on!

view from my room

The view from my guesthouse in Jomson, that inspired Magic Pashmina

 

I had so much to learn, and no internet

From the beginning, my aim was to learn and share through a website. I wanted a blog, with informative articles and lots of photos. But I was starting as a total newbie, having no idea where to turn to. When I returned to India I thought the greatest sources would be the shopkeepers and all the so-called experts. It was. Not as a source of reliable information, but the beginning of a path on an intricate labyrinthine social network leading me slowly to the truth.

 

Quickly I realized the process would be slow

The first year was about going into stores, looking for scoops, meeting with wholesalers, buying more, doing lots of mistakes, losing money yet learning a lot about the trade. I even had my scarf shop in Rajasthan, to gain a better insider view and quicker access to reliable data and learn about the true value of the goods.

 

Craft shows and an online store

When I returned to Canada in 2016 to test my project, I was hoping to be invited to private presentations to show off the products and do some education. This didn’t happen. I booked many crafts fairs and shows across the country. But still, I found out most people are more interested in a good deal than learn more about the delightful pashmina cashmere. Finally, in 2017 I developed and launched my online store, hoping for the best for this year’s fall and winter season.

 

me Me, with my new mission on my trip back from Jomsom

 

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Clearance sale and online store upcoming temporary closure

Online orders will be disabled on Sunday, Nov 4th, at midnight, for our upcoming trip to Asia. Everything is now on sale at local market prices. Use your coupon code sent in our latest newsletter Did you miss it? Check our ebay auctions and make an offer.

New development coming for 2019!

The current store will specialize in cashmere only starting 2019, we will still sell other variety of scarves on other platforms. 

Shipping is free on all orders to Canada and USA

Shipping is free to Canada and USA locations for all our cashmere products. No minimum order.  Offer valid until June 30th 2019

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