The Millennial-favored cashmere brand on a mission — Naadam — is taking up tenancy in Hudson Yards with a 750-square-foot store opening Saturday.
This will be the brand’s third store in New York, following locations on Bleecker Street in West Village and Prince Street in SoHo. This comes after the momentum of Naadam securing $16 million in series A funding last year, which included Torch Capital, among others.
“We built the brand to speak to this Millennial generation,” said Scanlan, a Millennial himself as well as investor. He feels the appeal of Naadam is truly ageless though. The former Wall Street executive counts an array of sustainable investments under the venture capital firm he cofounded called Magic Hour Ventures.
When speaking about his other friends and investments in the space, Scanlan said, “If you do similar work, you have a lot in common.”
What is sustainability to Naadam? “Sustainability is actually the format to which we achieve those things. We go direct to the source, we can pay more than others, cut costs to the customer,” said Scanlan.
This includes ingraining fair wages and animal welfare at the core. When WWD asked about the company’s manufacturing processes and why they were more sustainable, Scanlan pointed to how the teams are seeing a “renewed effort” across the company, even meeting monthly to ensure greater transparency.
At present, Scanlan said they monitor every one of their facilities, using third-party audits to track energy, water and chemical usage, among other factors.
“The best corporate sustainability processes are the ongoing ones,” said Scanlan.
Naadam is able to make cashmere that prioritizes, as Scanlan says: “quality, sustainability and affordability,” by staying close to the source (herders in Mongolia) of its materials (goats which are ethically combed, instead of sheared, a practice which has been key to the Mongolian culture for thousands of years).
Scanlan doesn’t like to follow the herd in the use of sustainability buzzwords and even questions when companies tout “recycled cashmere” too heavily, although he said the brand is looking into it for the next year.
But their marketing videos do capture a certain energy. “I try to have a sense of humor about it. That’s our brand tone. We do things the right way, but we don’t take ourselves too seriously,” said Scanlan.
When Scanlan spoke to WWD a couple of years ago, wholesale was still very much a performing channel for the 2013-founded brand (not a focus today), but now the majority of the brand’s growth is through its web site, with physical retail being another performing touchpoint.
Which leads back to opening a Naadam location in Hudson Yards.
Is Hudson Yards a mall? Not in so many words, according to Scanlan who said: “When I think of malls I think of something really really different.” He listed off several amenities and factors such as strong foot traffic, right brand alignment and customer demographics, that make the location an ideal fit for Naadam.
“We feel like we can have a lot of stores in New York City,” said Scanlan, adding that “next year will be another big year for retail” with the goal of opening four to five stores next year, without revealing tentative locations.
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