Empowering Transformation Through Luxury Cashmere
How does a family of seven from Ohio end up living in the midst of goat herders in Kyrgyzstan and developing access to worldwide markets for luxury cashmere? After hearing Sy Belohlevek tell his family's story, the answer seems to be God and grit.
After to the region in 2010, the family set about to learn the language, do general research, and establish relationships with community leaders. Through those efforts, Sy began focusing specifically on cashmere and developed education and training programs to better inform the shepherds about how to properly collect and sort their fiber by quality grades. The years of diligent investment among these communities has resulted in access to this high-quality raw cashmere, birthing the business June Cashmere.
Sy and his team travel village-to-village and house-to-house purchasing cashmere that the shepherds have gently hand-comb from each goat. These personal transactions ensure that top quality fiber is being gathered and ensures that the shepherds receive fair compensation for their elite fiber.
June Cashmere's 100% cashmere yarns are collected directly from Kyrgyz shepherds living on small family farms along the ancient Silk Road amidst the soaring mountains of Central Asia. June is the Kyrgyz word for animal fiber, which is a centuries old vital resource and essential element of their nomadic lifestyle. From felted woolen rugs, to the clothes on their backs, june has made itself an indelible part of Kyrgyz culture. Additionally, the uniquely warm properties of the cashmere from their goats allow them to sustain cold and long winters in the vast mountains in Kyrgyzstan.
Half-way between the East and the West along the legendary Silk Road lies a land of majestic mountains and nomadic shepherd communities--Kyrgyzstan. Daily life in this remote and relatively untouched region of the world is not for the faint of heart. In brilliant adaptation to winter above 10,000 feet, the indigenous cashmere goats have developed their soft, exceptionally warm and silky downy undercoat, otherwise known as cashmere--soft gold.
Although these goats have long produced fiber capable of competing on the world market, until recently Kyrgyz shepherds had virtually no access to international buyers offering fair market value. June Cashmere is committed to changing this situation so that their cashmere has an honored identity as one of the world’s finest fibers. Our passion is that Kyrgyz cashmere can be an engine for social and economic transformation.