Posted on Feb 9, 2017

To say Naadam Cashmere co-founder Matt Scanlan’s story is legendary would be an understatement. In an epic turn of events (the type that can only be described as “fate”), Matt quit his job at a New York City venture capital firm and embarked on a 20-hour journey across Mongolia where he met a group of nomadic herders who for centuries have produced some of the highest quality cashmere in the world. Inspired by the trek, Matt and business partner Diederik Rijsemus founded Naadam Cashmere. The business produces high-quality, eco-friendly garments, while actively supporting the nomadic herders who produce the materials. We caught up with the NYC-based entrepreneur to see what makes him tick.

I started Naadam Cashmere because…
We saw an opportunity to disintermediate a 1,000-year-old supply chain problem that marginalized rural farming and herding communities and inflated prices for consumers. It just didn’t seem fair to either the bottom or the top of the supply chain. The nomadic herders should be paid more money, and the customer should pay less.
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The most challenging part about running a business is…
Learning to say “no”. It’s easy to let other people make important decisions for you when you are doing so much at once. It’s easy to let other people make the hard decisions. Learning to say no to the things you don’t want to or can’t afford to is super important while not always fun!

I keep myself centered by…
Eating healthy and getting as much sleep as I can. I don’t believe in wearing sleep deprivation as a badge of honor. I need to be performing at my absolute best all the time. It’s not fair to my team, investors, or customers if I am not always putting my best effort into my work. It’s great to work hard but it’s better to get a good night’s sleep. I couldn’t build this business if I wasn’t healthy, as I don’t have the luxury of taking days off or getting sick. Eating healthy improves my mood, allows me to sleep better, and maintains consistent outputs regulated by consistent inputs. 

My favorite place I’ve visited is…
Mongolia. The people are incredible and the landscape is breathtaking. The food can be tough but it just requires some getting used to.
image001 In 2017, I will…
Cultivate a strong culture. I am really dedicated to building the company culture I always wanted. Fun and relaxed but inspired and motivated. I think it is always a top-down thing. I want to have a company that I can be proud of that makes me want to come to work.

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My go-to NYC restaurant is…
Perry Street. It’s my absolute favorite place for dinner – when I can afford it!

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My favorite Laundress product is…
The Laundress Wool & Cashmere Shampoo.

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A perfect day off includes…
Sitting on the beach reading a book.

I never leave the apartment without…
My wireless headphones. My Beats by Dre headphones are the best things that ever happened to me.

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One thing that may surprise you about me is…
That I am actually kind of a homebody. I rely heavily on having a strong base and a comfortable place to call home.