18. Matt Scanlan | Naadam (cashmere apparel)


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Matt Scanlan is the Co-Founder and CEO of Naadam.
Despite getting kicked out of more schools than he was let into, Matt left college early after landing a great job in private equity. After 3 years and a lot of burn out, he decided to take a break and travel throughout Asia. When he got to his first stop in Mongolia, he wound up deep in the countryside, looking to experience the true nomadic lifestyle. After living with a family of goat herders for the next month, he started to notice some of the pain points of their lifestyle, and launched a nonprofit with initiatives like livestock insurance, water and grasslands projects and veterinary care to help improve and preserve their culture and livelihood. What he realized was that the economic system the herders were a part of, selling goat fiber used for cashmere to local buyers, was rigged. The buyers would come in, set a super low price, and get away with it because they were literally the only buyer in town. Matt realized that the best way to help his nomadic friends and other communities like theirs was to buy up all their raw material. And that’s how Naadam was born.
Today at Naadam, Matt and his team make men’s and women’s clothes from the best cashmere in the world, straight off the backs of goats from Mongolia’s Gobi desert. They cut out all the middle men from the traditional cashmere trade and work directly with local herders so they can pay them 50% more and charge you 50% less for the softest knitwear on the planet. Their $75, 100% cashmere sweater blew up their business when it launched in 2018, and today, they employ over 100 people. Perhaps the most impressive thing about their business is the commitment to sustainability from Day 1. They have goals to ensure livable wages across their supply chain, promote ethical conditions for the animals that produce their raw materials and go carbon neutral by reducing emissions and leveraging renewable energy.
Tune in to hear Matt's story!
As a special offer, Matt is giving our listeners 15% off all products on their site. Just use code "TheFounder15" at checkout.

  • (2:55) Naadam snapshot today
  • (4:16) Background and Naadam founding story
  • (23:46) Customer acquisition and marketing
  • (26:10) Cashmere vs other materials
  • (29:23) Omni-channel distribution strategy
  • (33:33) Angel investing strategies
  • (40:35) Something Navy, Thakoon CEO role
  • (43:16) Hiring
  • (45:55) Investor lessons learned
  • (47:31) Manifesting the future
  • (50:01) Emerging trends
  • (51:14) Learning & resources
  • (51:57) Matt's startup manifesto
  • (52:42) Matt's founder nomination

Naadam - naadam.co

The Founder - www.thefounderpod.com

55 episodes