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Our Story

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How we started and how got to where we are today.

 

On a frigid January morning in 2006, we landed in the capital city of Mongolia, Ulaanbaatar, with our two very young children. So began our relationship with a magnificent country that reveres “Ikh Tenger” the great blue sky that meets the grasslands that cover much of the country. The grasslands, “steppe,” are peppered with livestock and dotted with gers, the felt-covered circular dwellings that millions of Mongolians call home.  Herds of sheep, cashmere goats, yak, and camel graze the steppe and mountain landscape.   

 

We had traveled to Mongolia to work with the people and government, helping to build the country’s economic and democratic institutions, but then stayed for over a decade after establishing a PR company that became the affiliate of global communications leader Ogilvy. Our experience was fascinating, and we made lasting friendships.

 

Our relationship with Colorado began in 2014 when we enrolled our kids at the Colorado Rocky Mountain School in Carbondale – their first experience studying and living in the United States.  We fell immediately in love with the Roaring Fork Valley – the mountains, rivers and community. About a year afterwards, we found a lovely house in Old Town Basalt, and it was on our deck, during our first summer in the valley, that the idea for a new enterprise was born.  

 

On a cool August evening, we sat with friends on our deck gazing at the stars and the outline of Mount Sopris.  We pulled out our Mongolian blankets to keep everyone warm as the temperatures dropped. The next day the blankets became the conversation piece that inspired us to explore the possibility of developing a home textile brand that showcases the best of Mongolia's hand-combed cashmere, yak and baby camel fiber.  

 

After many conversations with Mongolian friends, research on fiber harvest and processing, textile design and production, and supply chain logistics, we took the leap and conceived our brand committed to distinguishing and promoting Mongolia's herding, knitting and weaving traditions: Hangai Mountain Textiles.  

 

We are endlessly grateful to the entrepreneurs and clients in Aspen and the Roaring Fork Valley who first partnered with us when we launched our company in 2017, giving us the encouragement and opportunities to bring a concept to fruition.  

 

Today, we are a growing family-owned and run business with a showroom in Basalt, Colorado and a presence in Mongolia, where we source our fiber and produce our collections. We design blankets, throws and accessories knit and woven from hand-combed cashmere, yak down and baby camel.  All of our products are made exclusively in Mongolia, ensuring that local producers benefit most from partnering with us. We have placed our collections with prominent designers, specialty retailers and boutique hotels and resorts across the U.S., including Blackberry Farm, the Auberge Group’s Hotel Jerome and Madeline, the Mollie – Aspen and others, who value products that are luxurious and sustainably produced, and in the case of yak down: 100% undyed, unbleached and naturally hypoallergenic.  

  

What sets us apart is “Purpose”

 

When we launched Hangai, we spent a great deal of time discussing strategy, positioning and what we wanted Hangai - our brand - to be known for in the U.S. market.  

We committed to developing a business with a purpose based on three core tenets which guide our work: 

 

1) All of our products are knit or woven exclusively  in Mongolia, by Mongolian-owned firms (all of which happen to be family-owned) so that our supply chain partners: herders, washers, spinners, and knitters benefit most from partnering with us as we grow together. To the best of our knowledge, we are the only American company that is producing blankets and throws exclusively in Mongolia for the U.S. market: from the herders to your home every Hangai throw, blanket or accessory is 100% Mongolian-made.   

 

Mongolia is the second largest producer of cashmere in the world, but about 90% of its cashmere is exported in raw or minimally-processed form to China, Scotland, Italy and other countries for processing, knitting and weaving. This leaves little fiber for local manufacturers, and exports virtually all of the benefits, the value-added, to foreign countries. We are committed to producing unique collections of blankets and throws that are knit and woven from hand-combed natural fibers exclusively in Mongolia.  This ensures that our production benefits the Mongolian value chain from the many herder families to the knitters and weavers with whom we partner.  

 

2) We are making a market for rare yak down, a more sustainable fiber.  

 

Rare yak down is exquisitely soft and warm, and naturally hypoallergenic.  The fiber itself is comparable in length and diameter to better known fiber, such as cashmere. Longer hand-combed fibers resist pilling, and finer fibers bring luxurious softness.  Most of our yak down products are knit from all-natural unbleached and undyed fiber, which further reduces environmental impacts.   Though the fiber is relatively unknown in the U.S. yak have a special sustainability story. Yak are relatively light on the land because they graze without uprooting the native steppe grasses like other animals. The yak down used in our collections is sourced largely from the Hangai mountain range in the center of the country, which inspired our brand name.

 

3) We specialize in producing small volumes of superior-quality, luxurious blankets, throws, and home accessories. 

 

We are not interested in mass producing Hangai. We develop our unique collections with our partners: herder families, local associations and cooperatives, and the knitters and weavers who share our values that embrace fair trade, sustainable production, and traceability.  

 

The bottom line is that we want to be a business with a purpose, one that upholds values, and grows together with partners who share our values.  We intentionally knit and weave all of Hangai’s products in Mongolia, because we believe that this is the most sincere expression of commitment to the families that produce our collections, and to the many nomadic herder families who hand-harvest the fiber that we source.  

 

 

 

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