5 Minutes with... Chloe Liddell, Founder of Misty Cashmere

When did you found Misty Cashmere and why?

Misty Cashmere was founded mid-2016 receiving my first stock in September of that year. I love jumpers and cashmere and really wanted to design something that was classic, warm, fun and lasting! I had worked for a jumper company as well as being manager of a school uniform shop so I thought - why can’t I do it myself! After trawling the internet I got samples from suppliers in Nepal, Outer Mongolia and Inner Mongolia. The supplier from Inner Mongolia produced the best quality cashmere products – communication was easy and having met my contact in Newcastle and affirmed the company ethics as regards manufacture, trade and animal welfare (my contact came from a long line of herders), I went with them.

What are the steps involved in designing and producing one of your products?

It is a long process! I do a lot of research on current trends and try and produce something that is classic but a bit different resulting in a ‘go-to’ jumper. Once I have come up with a design I pass on my ideas to a knitwear designer in Devon to make up a child size sample of the front of a garment which I then send to my manufacturer with precise instructions on size, yarn type, and other details. My manufacturer then makes up a full sized version of the garment in the colours I have specified. Having received this, I may make a few minor alterations, and then give the go-ahead for production which takes from 2-4 months.

Have you travelled out to Inner Mongolia and Tibet and seen the wool and yarn being produced and spun?

I have not been to Inner Mongolia yet but I have seen the full process of how the garments are made on my manufacturer’s website and I meet with my contact either in London or the North East of England when he is over visiting his customer base in the UK. He will give me an update on the latest knitting techniques and designs available and news concerning production and the team.

How has Misty Cashmere grown?

At first I had just three designs - a printed cashmere cardigan, a long cardigan in a traditional 12-gauge knit and a thicker 7-gauge knit jumper. (The gauge is the number of stitches per inch on the horizontal, and number of rows per inch on the vertical.)  A friend in Sussex, who is a textile designer, had made an animal print template for the printed cardigan but although the end result was good, the end result was not quite the same as what she had produced, so once this sold out I decided not to continue with printing on cashmere for the time being! I now have both men’s and women’s jumpers and cardigans in different colours and gauges as well as different yarns. I have over ten designs including our latest zip neck jumper in a wonderfully deep natural sustainable yak yarn together with a yak scarf and beanie hat which come in a smart recycled gift box.

What does the future hold for you and Misty Cashmere?

Going forward I want to do more block colour designs as in the two colour cardigans and thicker high collar jumpers in a cashmere/merino mix. I also love the natural look and sustainable aspects of the yak yarn and want to produce more garments using this - I have recently had some samples made up for baby and children’s jumpers in yak so watch this space!

On the business side of things I want to build the brand through attendance at fairs, for example the Spirit of Christmas at Olympia in London. I am also doing a pop-up shop in the Portobello Road in December. I want to increase my social media presence to drive more traffic to my website, investing more in marketing and hopefully sell around the world as well as in the UK.

What is your connection with Thomas’s and when did you join The Directory?

My brother has three boys who went to Thomas’s. He and his family live in Kensington so it is lovely to be able to stay with them from Sussex and walk through Holland Park to Olympia when I am doing the Spirit and House & Garden fairs! I joined The Directory last year and I love the fact that I can reach a London audience with my designs.

October 2019

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