The business plan written on a chocolate wrapper
The idea behind Tengri was conceived by Nancy Johnston when she was travelling with friends and staying with herder families in Mongolia. Nancy became fascinated by the delicate and interwoven relationship between people, animals and the land, developing a deeper understanding and respect for the bond between the herder families' livelihoods, their yaks, and the Mongolian landscape.
Nancy discovered how the Khangai yak – an indigenous wild species found in the Khangai mountains of western Mongolia – could help preserve this nomadic way of life. These native animals support biodiversity and help to prevent land desertification by allowing plant species and wildlife to regenerate and thrive.
Using her knowledge as a trained systemic social worker, Nancy wrote her first business plan on the back of a chocolate wrapper in a dimly lit ger (yurt). Back in London, with modest savings and the support of an extended network of friends in fashion, design, community development, marketing, business and product development, Tengri was born.
A global, local, social business
Tengri is a quintessentially British brand, immersed in global heritage. Based in London, we champion Mongolian yak fibre and purchase our supply directly from cooperatives that represent more than 4,500 nomadic herder families.
To bring Mongolian yak fibre to the forefront of the global fashion and textile industries, Nancy created Tengri as a social business jointly with herders. This means we trade fairly, paying premium prices to the herders for their fibres and sharing profits as part of our fairshare business model.
Creating sustainable natural luxury
Tengri’s 100% traceable and transparent supply chain ensures the integrity of garments and yarns which are sourced and created ethically and sustainably.
We adopt an innovative approach – minimizing waste to do good. We believe it’s wrong that up to 90% of raw woollen fibres sourced for the fashion and textile industry becomes unused yarn by-product. Pioneering circular design, systems-thinking and our curiosity, and respect for people, animals and the environment, we design and engineer innovative new products made of this precious by-product fibre, to support the livelihoods of our suppliers.
Revolutionizing the fashion supply chain
Tengri offers a new, replicable and ethical business model. Our work has enabled Mongolia’s nomadic herder community for the first time to trade and export goods directly on the international market without any intermediary support or third-party assistance. Tengri's international trading activity with nomadic herders has influenced the Mongolian government to grant new land and herding rights to herder families for the first time.
More than a fashion label
When you choose Tengri, you choose much more than beautifully made knitwear. We foster cross-cultural learning and trade opportunities for small companies in Mongolia, and seek to improve the lives and livelihoods of Mongolian nomadic herders, while protecting the country's beautiful and unique landscape and pastures. Discover more with the Tengri manifesto.