Monday, 22 December 2008

Solar Panels & Concrete


We are moving the factory, from the southern end of Kathmandu to the northern end. The primary reason is because the ground water here naturally contains too much iron which can affect the dyeing process. The cost of having water brought by truck from an area without the iron is getting too expensive (it's also wasteful).

The new factory will have access to iron-free ground water, more space and conveniently is in a part of the valley which is full of women who are skilled handknitters. So expect to see more items like these 'oh so cute' baby socks/booties on

Most of the building work in Kathmandu is in concrete. Personally I think it is quite ugly - and the old building style from clay bricks and wood looks nicer. Also the sand to mix with the cement is dredged from the Bagmati river. This is killing the river - as when the river loses it's sand plants grow in from the banks shrinking the river. The other disadvantage of concrete is the amount of CO2 released in the production of cement.

With this in mind, we are keeping the use of concrete in the factory to a minimum. We will have wood floors in most of the production areas, brick walls, bamboo supports and (as in 99% of factorys in Kathmandu) a corrigated iron and glass fibre roof. The wood costs about double the concrete - which explains why nearly all new buildings here are concrete.

We wanted to run the factory completely with solar power (You can import solar panels tax and duty free if you get approved by the government, but can't get approved without having a quality test on 3 types of panels - and they can't test until they have set the fee - which has been in discussion for at least 2 months .... I may be getting cynical, but can't help wonder who benefits from this??).

However we will have the lighting solar powered. This can be expanded later to power the washing machines and dryers. We don't use the horribly noisy 'power looms' so we don't have to have electricity to power them. All our cashmere knitwear and pashminas are made on hand looms.

If anyone wants to find out the test fee , or ask about the testing procedure the email address is .

We will be back in Nepal in February, at the crucial stage of the building work.

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

New! Cashmere Throatwarmers - just £29.50

New on - Pure cashmere throatwarmers.

These are all unique combinations of stripes.

They are double layer cashmere , and measure 18x100cm.

We have 149 of them in stock.

We expect they will go pretty quickly.. so don't hang about !

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Mypashmina gives 185,400Nprs to Namaste Banepa

Thanks to all the Mypashmina customers that have donated to our favourite charity - Namaste Banepa. In the last year you have raised over £1500. I would like to especially thank the 7 people who donated £50 - as promised I matched your donations, so its an extra £350 in the pot.

We are in Kathmandu now, and have just been to visit the person who runs Namaste Banepa. His name is Sudarson Karki, and he spends his time making films to promote awareness about issues in Nepal.

Here is a new film, including the kids that go to school in Banepa.

Nepalese children sing a song for peace. In this video some children are from a school in Banepa near Kathmandu, and some are from an international school in Kathmandu. The children from Banepa come from poor families and are supported by a charity called Namaste Banepa ( The pay for books, clothes and fees. They also take time to persuade parents that it is better for the kids to be in school rather than helping them on the land.

To find out more visit - If you want to donate, you can do so on the basket/checkout page of - we cover all transaction fees so anything you donate goes straight to the kids. Currently 35 children are being kept in school.

Sunday, 7 December 2008

Mypashmina Sale - 20% off until Dec 14th

It's all doom and gloom in the newspapers, but it's happy days for those in the public sector, and here's an extra 20% off to make yours and anyone elses Christmas even better.

Just use the code "aw20" before December 14th and you will save 20% off on your order.

The minimum order is £40, so you will save at least £8.

This includes anything and everything ...
Fine Pashminas, Ladies Cashmere Knitwear, Mens Cashmere Knitwear,
Silk Scarves, Custom Made Cashmere and even Clearance items

Saturday, 6 December 2008

This week at the cashmere factory

This week at the cashmere factory in Kathmandu....

1. We have put in a new rubbish sorting system.

We have put extra bins everywhere, and some big bins near the entrance ready for collection.

The tiny bits of waste cashmere that were thrown away before, are now being collected, and put inside nice cushion covers. (The result is cushions containing about $150 worth of cashmere by weight!). The are for workers who mostly sit down while doing there work and for decoration.

The paper and card will be sold to a recycling company for 2 rupees per kilo.

The hard plastic and metal will be collected by someone who then sells it.

The soft plastic - which there is not much will go to the city dump (not to the Bagmati river, where a lot of rubbish collectors dump their rubbish .. grrrr!)

2. A shiney new noticeboard is clear to see in the middle of the factory
We found from our questionnaire of the staff that they would like to know more about what is going on in the factory, and indeed to work closer with the management. So a noticeboard is a simple solution.

The first things to go on the noticeboard are:
a. News about the new rubbish sorting
b. Information about training options
c. Information about new monthly meetings between different departments and factory management
d. News of a staff picnic on the 20th December - and the planned activites
e. The factory mission (in many Chinese factorys I saw big slogans on the walls). I asked for these to be translated and found out they said things like "Work hard today, and you will have a job tomorrow"). I thought this was a bit threatening - especially in 6ft high red letters! But the idea of having reminders in the factory about the mission for quality and timeliness are good.

3. Quality Control Book
Every piece of cashmere knitwear that is made is thoroughly checked (when i have a good internet connection, i will put some videos of this online).

Now, records of every item are being kept, so at the end of every day it can be reviewed and system inprovements can be made.

Also at the end of every week, statistics from the book can be collected, and displayed on the noticeboard in order to (hopefully) show everyone the continual improvement.

Thats all for now. Today Caroline is making the voiceover on a video about the situation of women in western Nepal - which is shocking and tragic (and will be uploaded once we have decent internet connections) - Doctors and money required .. if anyone out there wants to help contact us, and we will put you in touch with the right people .