Small Brands Can Change the World
Sherpa’s brand foot print may be small, but we like to think that our heart is big and whether we grow large or not, doesn’t matter, as long as we stay true to ourselves, to the Sherpa way. We are a bit different: We create, develop and manufacture over 85% of our products in Nepal, someday we hope to make it 100%. Manufacturing in Nepal is no easy hike and it would be so much easierto outsource to China or Vietnam –but there is much more at stake here. The reward for us comes not in the financials alone, but in seeing the magic of our vision come to life.
We believe small brands can change the world, that they can lift up people, educate and train the next generation, that they can reverse the ravages of a changing environment, ineffective governance and even soothe a despairing soul. Today, we employ over 1,000 women to hand-knit our caps and sweaters; someday, we hope to employ 5,000. We have close to 500 people in our Nepal production centers and are training new talent to lead Sherpa into the future. It won’t happen overnight, and we’re sure we’ll stumble often along the way, but we are committed to be true to our roots and our culture, providing wisdom and guiding the next generation up the mountain. This is a long journey for Sherpa, and we ask you think about your journey and how you can not only be successful, but how you can make our world a better place and make a difference in the lives of people.
Sherpa Adventure Gear was inspired by sheer chance in 2003. Back then, my family and I owned an import clothing business. In May of that year, while walking down the streets of Manhattan, a magazine commemorating the 50th. Anniversary of the first ascent of Mt. Everest caught my eye.
The craggy lines of the familiar face staring at me from the cover belonged to none other than my uncle, Ang Gyalzen Sherpa. I was amazed to discover that he was one of the original Sherpa on Sir Edmund Hillary’s celebrated expedition in 1953.
Today, every climber in his heart is grateful for having a Sherpa companion on the treacherous slopes of the Himalayas. For it is the Sherpa who makes the route, carries the load and lays the rope all the way to top and back.
They risk their lives for a pittance and smile through the life-threatening ordeals on the flanks of Everest and surrounding peaks. But rarely do they receive any of the fame or recognition that follows a successful summit.
As I read the sad story of the many unsung Sherpa heroes like my uncle who live in total anonymity—and often utter poverty—in the shadow of Everest, I felt a powerful urge to share the Sherpa story with a wider audience. So I created Sherpa Adventure Gear and began making outdoor clothing and gear. Then I started sponsoring the best high altitude climbers in the world to test our products --the Sherpas themselves.
As we look back on our short history, we are eternally grateful for all the help and guidance we have received. And for every customer who has put their faith in our products.
Each season we grow. But at the core we will always be a small company with a simple vision of doing business in the inimitable way of the Sherpas: One step at a time, helping each other on the climb up, and never losing sight of the destination.
Founder & CEO