The Story Behind Sherpa Adventure Gear and its CEO Tashi Sherpa
You may well have heard of Sherpa Adventure Gear - a brand that produces well-made, technical mountain outdoor gear - but do you know anything about the man behind it all?
Tashi Sherpa is his name and after meeting him at a press launch we knew straight away that he is humble and conscientious man with a real desire and passion for his work.
Since founding the company in 2003, Tashi has taken the brand to new levels not only by selling a ton of outdoor gear, but more importantly - something he can't stress enough - by directly helping the thousands of Nepalese people affected by poverty and natural disaster.
Rarely in this capitalist, money-driven world do you find a company that directly donates to a great cause with every product sold, and still maintains a strong sense of heritage while battling to keep up with modern demands, but this is exactly what Sherpa Adventure Gear has done.
When we went to see Tashi telling the brand's story, he showed ambition that was almost palpable but with a sense of great humility too, which really echoed the brand's ethos. With Tashi's leadership we're sure the brand will continue to help thousands in Nepal and give UK outdoor people something great to wear on the hills.
Biography of Tashi Sherpa
Tashi Sherpa is the CEO of Sherpa Adventure Gear, a Seattle-based apparel company he founded in 2003 to pay tribute to his childhood heroes; the great Sherpa guides on Mount Everest.
Sherpa Adventure Gear was inspired by sheer chance in 2003, when Tashi and his family had already started and owned an import clothing business. In May of that year, while walking down the streets of Manhattan, a magazine issue commemorating the 50th anniversary of the first ascent of Everest caught Tashi's eye.
The familiar face staring at Tashi from the front cover belonged to none other then his Uncle, Ang Gyalzen Sherpa, who was one of the original Sherpa’s on Sir Edmund Hilary's celebrated expedition back in 1953.
As Tashi read the sad story of the many unsung Sherpa heroes like his Uncle who lives in total anonymity, and often poverty, he felt a powerful urge to share the Sherpa story with a wider audience.
So Tashi created Sherpa Adventure Gear and began making outdoor clothing and gear, sponsoring the best high altitude climbers in the world to test his products - the Sherpas themselves. Although not a climber himself, Tashi considers his own life and vision for Sherpa Adventure Gear to be an amazing and rewarding journey.
Overview of Sherpa Adventure Gear
Sherpa Adventure Gear seeks to honour the unsung Sherpa heroes of Everest by creating gear that earns the praise of the world's toughest high-altitude climbers.
Sherpa Adventure Gear create, develop and manufacture over 85% of their products in Nepal, being responsible for the employment of thousands of people in Nepal. There are almost 500 people in the Nepal production centres and over 1,000 local women in employment to hand-knit our caps and sweaters, all while training new talent to lead Sherpa into the future.
As a Sherpa-owned company, they also strive each day to strengthen the lives of their families and villages by giving much needed full education scholarships to underprivileged Sherpa children, in the form of the Paldorje Education Fund, into which a small donation is made for every Sherpa Adventure Gear garment sold.
Sherpa Adventure Gear aspires to achieve worldwide recognition and respect for the Sherpa’s by offering outstanding equipment and service at the very highest level, whilst still in keeping with their heritage, believing in the mantra that 'small brands can influence positive change and make not only great products, but also make a great difference in the lives of its employees, its families and its communities.'
In keeping with this, every garment from Sherpa is then finished with an Endless Knot, an auspicious symbol that represents the unity of thought and action, words and deeds, wisdom and compassion.
We had a quick chat with Tashi
We caught up with Tashi to find out a bit more about the Nepal relief efforts and where Sherpa Adventure Gear sits in the UK market.
"What goes around, comes around"
Can people still donate to the #HelpSherpasHelpNepal relief effort?
Yes. First it was the relief effort and now it’s the reconstruction phase where we see what we can do to reconstruct the lives of children and of their schools, which is as important as the relief effort itself.
For more information on donation to the relief efforts visit www.crowdrise.com/helpsherpashelpnepal.
Are we going to be seeing more of Sherpa in the UK?
This is something our British partners are trying to make happen – it’s a very competitive market here in the UK. We’ve been here three years now and we’re making head way of course, but it’s been kind of a slow process.
I think the whole focus now it telling the story [of the brand] over and over again because we know our products can stand up with anybody’s. But we’re trying to differentiate ourselves by telling our story and explaining our ethos – that’s what counts.
Is Sherpa Adventure Gear suited to UK conditions?
Yes, certainly. We’re not just a mountaineering brand, or what I call and adventure brand, so the mountaineering and highly technical aspect of the gear is just the tip of the iceberg.
We still make a lot of lifestyle, a lot of insulations, or garments for urban outdoor people who could be wearing the rustic jumper anywhere on the streets – it keeps you warm, keeps you dry. So it’s just about getting across all of that.
What does the future hold for Sherpa Adventure Gear?
Basically, we want to get better and better at what we’re doing right now and improve or competence, then after that we’ll properly think about the next step. There’s still a lot of room for us to ramp up what we have and get better and more efficient at what we’re doing right now.
For more details on the brand visit www.sherpaadventuregear.co.uk.