Dutch clothing manufacturer uses own breed of goat for sustainable production
Sogoodtowear from Rotterdam manufacturers and sells cashmere clothing from Nepal. The collection is fair, sustainable and animal friendly. Down to the very fibres: Sogoodtowear uses its own Nepalese breed of goat to manage the entire chain.
Sogoodtowear is remarkable in many ways. It is not a company; it is a cooperative. The members are Dutch designers and sales associates alongside Nepalese spinners and weavers. Together they produce high-quality jumpers and shirts: 100% cashmere, 100% Fair Trade. That is unique in the world.
Own wool production
"The only thing we don't make ourselves is the wool," said co-founder Fons Burger. "It comes from China. And even though we work with certificates, it is difficult to verify suppliers there with respect to Fair Trade, which is why we plan to produce wool in Nepal using our own goats."
Importing Australian goats
The problem with Nepalese goats is that they have very little, if any, wool. Consequently, Sogoodtowear set up a breeding programme. "We brought 6 Australian goats to Nepal, because they produce enough wool. When we cross them several times with Nepalese goats, the result is a new native breed that is very suitable."
Pre-financing with International Financing
In 2022, there will be enough animals for Sogoodtowear to establish dedicated farms. "Until then, we won't get anything out of this investment. Fortunately, we were able to make use of the Netherlands Enterprise Agency International Financing scheme. Pre-financing enabled us to transport the Australian goats and start the breeding programme." Sogoodtowear is helping employment in Nepal with the chain organisation (from goat to jumper). The company trains employees and contributes to animal welfare.
Netherlands Enterprise Agency International Financing offers a stepping stone to something big. "Our dream is to have 250 farms by 2030. About 1,000 families will be earning a good living from our goats' 'soft gold'. To kickstart this dream, we are once again teaming up with the Netherlands Enterprise Agency. This time for a loan, which we will be able to repay with profits from the cooperative."