Gobi Cashmere is well versed in creating traditional cashmere clothing items, such as luxurious cardigans, hats and ponchos. Prices range from £79 for a men’s knit hat to £899 for a coat, and £69 for a pair of women’s gloves to £1,899 for a coat, but now the brand has dipped its toe into footwear, with its first capsule trainer collection.
Amarsaikhan Baatarsaikhan, managing director of Gobi
The trainers (pictured above) feature a 100% cashmere outer in colours grey, navy and sand and are available in a high top version for £229 or a low cut version for £199. The inside of each shoe is lined with wool, which helps to provide a natural temperature regulation for the wearer, thanks to the two fabric’s breathability and moisture wicking properties. Meanwhile, the sole of the shoes combines 20% sugarcane with Green EVA, a soft and rubber-like material. The collection, which launched in August, is available via the brand’s direct-to-consumer website.
Despite having no UK stockists currently, Amarsaikhan Baatarsaikhan, managing director of Gobi, is keen to grow the brand’s presence by opening new physical stores in the future. Here he details the new categories the business is considering to capture different customers while supporting their needs throughout the year, and why sustainability plays a big part in the ethos of the brand.
In August, Gobi Cashmere announced its first foray into footwear. How can cashmere transition into trainers?
This strategic move aligns with our vision of ‘making cashmere a lifestyle.’ We believe that cashmere, known for its luxurious comfort and quality, can be integrated into various product categories beyond traditional apparel. Cashmere can transition to footwear easily; while walking in light rain is generally fine, we recommend dry cleaning for washing, ensuring the longevity and quality of the product.
The brand has plans to expand its offering with the addition of homeware items such as pillows and throws
Are there any new categories you might consider expanding into in the future?
Looking ahead, we have plans to diversify our product range. With our strong commitment to innovation, we are exploring different categories to develop new and adapted product lines, including kidswear, home textiles (such as blankets, pillows, and throws), streetwear and in particular super-thin summer cashmere products [which first launched in summer 2023]. The 2023 super-thin collection featured a 70% cashmere and 30% silk blend, priced with a 10% difference from 100% cashmere products. [A super-thin sweater costs £232, whereas a 100% cashmere sweater costs £319.]
In the upcoming spring/summer 24 collection, our chief designer, Giorgio Spina, will introduce two more blends: 85% silk and 15% cashmere, and 60% cotton, 20% cashmere, and 20% silk. We will continue to experiment with different combinations to fuse cashmere to meet our customer’s needs.
How are Gobi products made sustainably?
Our long-term vision is to position Gobi as a brand that offers exceptional value to all types of customers, regardless of gender, age group, and for all types of occasions and seasons. Our sustainability focus includes sourcing directly from nomadic herders [which are based in arid and semiarid parts of Africa, Asia and Europe] with a 40-year history, ensuring ethical practices. In-house manufacturing in Mongolia minimises waste, water, electricity and energy. The Gobi Organic line, constituting 25% of sales and includes items such as unisex socks priced at £34 and a women’s belted cardigan for £345, uses natural colours, avoiding chemicals or dyes and saves 50% more water and energy.
Gobi’s kidswear line launched in the UK in 2020
How is the kidswear category performing for Gobi?
The kidswear category at Gobi is currently in its early stages and its sales contribution is relatively modest. We introduced kids’ collections in the Mongolian domestic market in the early 2010s, with international launches in 2020 [via its DTC website]. This can be attributed to our brand’s awareness level, which is still evolving. As more and more people become acquainted with Gobi and its commitment to delivering 100% Mongolian quality and sustainable cashmere at reasonable and affordable prices, we anticipate a positive shift in the performance in all categories, including kidswear.
Analysts have identified that the luxury market is increasing in popularity as customers are shopping for items that last and steering away from fast fashion. Is this something you have noticed?
We’ve observed that both luxury and fast fashion segments are growing, each for distinct reasons. Fast fashion remains popular for its convenience and affordability, especially for basic items like t-shirts, socks and basic sweaters. However, we believe there to be a growing segment of customers who seek longevity and value in their purchases.
At Gobi, our strategic focus is on serving customers who view purchases as an investment in their wardrobe. We offer products crafted with care and precision, using 100% Mongolian cashmere, known for its quality and durability. These ‘love items’ are designed to stand the test of time, providing lasting value and satisfaction to our customers. As the preference for enduring, high-quality items continues to rise, we are committed to meeting this demand by offering a range of products that reflect our dedication to quality, sustainability and timeless style.
What markets is Gobi currently available in? Will you be branching out into others?
Gobi is currently accessible to customers worldwide through our direct-to-consumer website gobicashmere.com. While we serve customers globally through our website, our key markets are primarily in Europe, including Germany, the UK, Nordic countries and Central European nations [Gobi has no UK stockists currently]. As part of our strategic growth initiative, we have ambitious plans to expand our physical presence. Over the next three years, we intend to open more than 25 physical stores in various locations such as London, Munich, Paris, Milan, Brussels, New York, Los Angeles and Copenhagen.
This expansion will enhance accessibility to Gobi products for our customers, providing them with the opportunity to experience our high-quality cashmere offerings in person and enjoy a more immersive shopping experience. Our goal is to continue reaching new markets such as Canada, Australia, South Korea and Kazakhstan, along with enhancing operations in existing markets of European countries, the USA and China. We also plan on strengthening our presence in existing ones, which is why we are open to further channels such as department stores to further enable more touchpoints for our customers.