Direct-to-consumer cashmere brand Naadam has opened its first store, a 1,000-square-foot unit at 392 Bleecker Street in Manhattan. A store with about half the square footage and where everything will be priced at $75 will bow later this month, further downtown on Prince Street, followed by a 1,500-square-foot unit at Tyson’s Corner in McLean, Va.
“We’ll probably saturate New York City with stores before we go too far,” said Matt Scanlan, cofounder and chief executive officer of Naadam. “Then we’ll look to open in Washington, D.C.; Chicago; Boston, and Milwaukee, and after that, San Francisco and Los Angeles.”
Scanlan launched the company after a trip to Mongolia introduced him to the country’s superior cashmere. He and his partners in 2015 raised $2.5 million to buy 60 tons of cashmere from Mongolian herders. The company this summer closed a $16 million Series A financing round led by industry veteran Silas Chou, the Loro Piana family and Vanterra Capital. Naadam boosted its cashmere haul to 175 tons this year.
“We can pass the savings on to consumers and pay an appropriate amount of money to the herders,” Scanlan said, explaining that the name Naadam comes from a festival of culture.
While the brand launched online, Scanlan realized that it’s crucial for consumers to feel the sweaters. “We have a technique that pumps air into the knitting and spinning processes and produces a hand that feels like heaven,” Scanlan said.
“This store is meant to take you to the Gobi Desert,” he added, motioning to cashmere clouds hanging from the ceiling and turf-covered wall-to-floor areas meant to symbolize the steppes of Mongolia where the goats live and graze. Consumers can don a virtual reality headset and look into one of the clouds to learn more about the country. Cedar walls, pine-scented Diptyque candles and sounds of nature complete the ambience.
Projecting the stores’ sales volume potential based on the productivity of a three-month pop-up shop in Manhattan that did $500,000, Scanlan said he expects them to do about $1.5 million per location.
Naadam Studio, which is designed by Hadas Saar, offers more creative and fashion-forward designs made with advanced weaving and stitching techniques, with select styles available at retailers such as Revolve and Shopbop.
Sweaters are available in a variety of weights and hands, including coastal, with lower tension for breathability; chunky knit, and silk cashmere. A long cashmere cardigan is $225; a wool coat, $300, and a cashmere turtleneck dress, $195. A blanket that contains a kilo of cashmere is $300, and a woven blanket, $195.
“I want to be superfocused,” Scanlan said. “I do one thing that I’m better at than other people.”