A positive impact

Our foundations and our future

While staying with a family of nomadic yak herders at 4,500m altitude in a remote corner of the Eastern Himalayas, Michael was struck by the yak's fortitude to cope with their harsh winters and how these giant mammals were central to the Tibetan mountain community's way of life.

Michael learnt how the magnificent yak can cope with extreme cold temperatures thanks to a layer of soft and fine wool under its outer coat. Driven by his desire to keep trekking at altitude for many years to come, Michael decided to investigate the miracle properties of this wool to keep him warm, comfortable and dry whilst out on the trails.

Working with yak wool would prove complex and Michael spent years learning the different production processes and working with each factory partner to adapt their processes to yak wool and the demands of outdoor use. Trips to the plateau to establish partnerships with nomad herder communities served as opportunities to field test prototypes, backed with data from laboratory testing.

In 2013 Michael hit on the ideal formula; a combination of warmth, breathability, comfort and durability. He had what he needed to launch a social enterprise making outdoor clothing from yak wool - a world first.

kora was born.

Sourcing: We work up with the Kegawa Herders' Cooperative, a collective of more than 90 families in the Yushu Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture living at 4,500m all year round. Occasionally we use local agents on the plateau if we need to access wool from areas beyond our reach, however our goal is to buy all our wool directly from herder cooperatives.

Collecting: Each spring, the yaks begin to lose their soft wool underlayer for the summer and in a process that is painless for the animals, the herders collect the loose wool.

Processing: The yak wool is then washed and processed by a specialist local Tibetan factory to produce our yak wool ready to be spun into yarn.

Payment: We buy this wool at a set mid-market rate throughout the buying season in order to offer them price certainty, and in addition we pay a stipend of 10%.

Our future

Our mission is to protect the nomads as guardians of the Himalayas and their way of life and in doing so protect their fragile environment.

We want to achieve a closed loop renewable, repeatable product life cycle, by utilizing resources that are biodegradable and recyclable and leave no harmful traces in our oceans or land-fill. This is why we LOVE wools and all biodegradable materials since they compost easily.

We want to grow our brand and grow our product line for you - but there's no rushing nature. Because yaks will produce wool at their own pace - and climate changes impact that pace - we have become experts in working with what we consider the best natural fibres. As a result, we are developing and creating new blends of natural fabrics with thetechnical credentials you would expect from us, and this is our future...one we are excited about, for us, you and our communities we will continue to support. Stay tuned!