By Mario Toneguzzi
An ambitious Calgary entrepreneur, who is importing authentic cashmere from India, has plans to open his first boutique store in Canada in either Toronto or Vancouver by the end of this year. He's also seeking investors.
“We aim to bring some really high-end fabric from Kashmir in India over here to the West. Real cashmere comes from Kashmir, just as scotch comes from Scotland,” says Sayeed.
“We source our pashmina wool from sheep in Ladakh, Kashmir. Everything is 100 percent organic, certified by the State and National government. No chemicals are used in the process at all. Each piece is meticulously woven by hand over the course of two months. That’s what sets us apart, we’re trying to keep a tradition alive.”
Sayeed says that years ago there used to be thousands of practitioners of hand-made pashmina products but today there’s only about 300 artisans left and most of them are getting badly undercut by the current market.
“We’re trying to give people the opportunity to keep making these products,” he says, adding that people are buying cashmere from places like Mongolia or Nepal for lower prices because the products are processed in factories with machines.
Kashmir is in between Pakistan and India.
Enyaz officially opened during the summer with a pre-launch event in late July. But the idea in Sayeed’s mind began in November 2016.
“Essentially what happened is that I flew over to India for a quick trip and the family that I work with has been selling fabric to my family for many generations. So the youngest member from that family and me started to talk and things got rolling from there,” says Sayeed.
The fabric is imported to Calgary and a local artisan has hand-crafted boxes out of walnut and maple to house the scarves.
“We’re currently selling online and we’re working on some distribution contracts as well,” says Sayeed.
“We’re looking at distributing through some high-end retailers and we’re also looking at opening our own boutique before the end of the year. In Vancouver or Toronto.”
Sayeed says what sets ENYAZ apart is the fact that its product is of a higher standard.
“Being that our product is completely organic, the actual feel of the material is different. The market we’re trying to target here are people who really understand fashion,” he says. “Something to differentiate ourselves.
“The people I’m targeting they already own (products from popular high-end stores here). They have a piece from everywhere. They need something that’s new and exciting and of a higher quality from people who really understand fabric.”
*Photos were provided by ENYAZ.
Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary has 37 years of experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, city and breaking news, and business. For 12 years as a business writer, his main beats were commercial and residential real estate, retail, small business and general economic news. He nows works on his own as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training. Email: email@example.com.
Canadian Retail News From Around The Web: September 29, 2017