Ottawa business helps rebuild Nepal, one cashmere wrap at a time

An Ottawa cashmere company is selling scarves and wraps in this country that help to rebuild classrooms in Nepal.

By Ryan Tumilty

Corala Cashmere – the brainchild of husband-and-wife team David Venn and Prajeena Karmacharya – sells items online made from the rare fabric.

The couple met while both were living in Holland, and after getting married they went to Karmacharya’s home country of Nepal, where they first encountered the cashmere industry.

The fabric is taken from Nepalese mountain goats after they shed it in spring and is then woven together over days.

Karmacharya said they thought it was interesting when they visited, but it was only later they saw the business potential. 

“We learned a bit more about the industry and that was all during our honeymoon, so we didn’t think that much about it,” she said. 

After spending nine months apart while immigration issues were sorted out, the couple moved to Ottawa and Karmacharya said they realized there was a potential for the business.

She said she liked the idea that it would keep her attached to Nepal. 

“I knew I would be joining him in Canada, but for me, I wanted something that would still keep me attached to my home country,” she said.

Since the beginning, the company has also had a charitable mandate, donating a percentage of proceeds to charities in Nepal, Venn said.

“Contributing to social causes that are important to us in particular for a country like Nepal where our products originate was important,” he said.

Venn said all of that was given more urgency when the earthquake hit Nepal in 2015.

“When disaster strikes like that you want to do something, especially when you are more connected to the sense of place,” he said.

So far the portion the company is contributing from each sale has really managed to add up.

“We were able to contribute to contribute to building 20 classrooms in three of thehardest hit villages,” said Karmacharya.

She said while they hope to keep growing the business as a business, there will always be a contribution back to the people of Nepal.

This article originally appeared in Metro News.