This week, Missègle’s managers and employees had the immense joy of welcoming two Mongolian yak breeders. The opportunity for the Tarn company to show them how they turn their yak fur into clothes.
They’ve never been to France. They had never left their country. Also, from the 5th to the 11th of March, at the invitation of Missègle, Mandakhbayar Zevgee and Nyambuunyadmaa Dugarsuren, two yak breeders from Mongolia made the trip to our lands. “We chose them because they are people from the countryside who have a lot of charisma. It seemed interesting to us to be able to empower grassroots breeders, giving them knowledge”, said Myriam Joly, manager of Missègle.
An important visit for the South Tarn company, which for 4 years has established strong ties with these creators who work according to ancestral nomadic traditions. Myriam Joly and her sons Olivier and Gaëtan also made the trip twice, in 2018 and 2019, to the Mongolian steppes. There, they were able to count on Zoljargal Mels, nicknamed “Zolo”, a tourist guide in Mongolia, to exchange with the creators.
“These trips allowed us to understand the yak industry directly, to know who the breeders and processors were, but also to discover that there was a whole sector organized around this ecosystem,” explained Olivier Billant. In short, they all came together around common values: the desire to preserve the environment and the absolute need for animal welfare.
After three days in Paris at the agricultural fair, Myriam Joly took these two breeders to Creuse, to the Fonty spinning mill, which turns their yak into yarn. They then visited Missègle’s workshops, in particular in the presence of French mohair producers. They were able to interact with the company’s “fairy hands”, the ones that turn their precious yak wool into socks and sweaters. “That was the main objective of this trip. We wanted these creators to find out how we approach making a garment. Let them see that the fruit of their labor is preciously preserved,” confided Myriam Joly.
” It is an honor…”
“It’s a study trip for them, as it was for us there. A real exchange of good practices. And even if we don’t have anything to teach them from a knitting point of view, we can show them how to recycle wool and separate wool,” added Olivier Billant.
The yak imported from Mongolia represents 15% of Missègle’s turnover. “For us, the yak is really an extremely differentiating fiber. It is difficult to obtain supplies of this product and, moreover, the particularity is that we even mix it, associate it with mohair fiber and silk to give it an even more qualitative use. This allows us to offer a unique yarn and have real added value for our products”, explained Olivier Billant.
A technique and know-how that Mongolian breeders greatly appreciated during their visit. “Before coming here, it was difficult to understand the use that certain companies, including Missègle, could make of yak hair and what it could give as a finished product. But there it is concrete, we saw the result with our own eyes and it is incredible. The fur of our yaks ends up in very warm and pleasant clothes and that pleases the French. So it’s an honor…”, confided one of the breeders, who has more than 1,000 animals on his land. Before returning to their countries, the Mongols went to discover farms on the Larzac plateau.