Made in Mongolia: From an artist’s studio to a world-renowned Mongolian brand
We, Mongols, have many things that we must be prideful for. Most importantly, we must discover, preserve, pass onto generations, develop and raise public awareness of these items and fame them as “our and Mongolia’s brands”. Products of Hangain Sor, which laid the cornerstones for such achievement, already gained reputations exceeding their local area and even the country becoming commodities consumed internationally; it is worth being proud for. Hangain Sor is run a family couple N.Bolormaa, university trained theatre artist, and Ts.Bundhorol, head of the family and specialist in Mongolian traditional painting. They established a family-based Hangain Sor LLC that produces unique and peculiar Hangain Sor brand products for domestic and international market.
The couple laid the foundation for their business of yak and sheep wool products as early as 1980ies. At her age of 16, Bolormaa made a bag with yak hair and renowned yak researcher Doyoddorj praised her first product saying “rare item that can be said unique in world”. After that she got a patent #252 from the authority of Mongolian People’s Republic for her products made of yak wool and hair products. Later on, they established “Monso” sole proprietorship in 1994 as a start of their family business engaged in production of different items with yak wool, hair and sheep wool.
Though they were equipped with gifted talent and workmanship, they needed to learn felt crafting, develop their skills to higher professional level. This urged Bolormaa to be involved in training on “Primary level wool processing and felt crafting”. Bolormaa often links her success and achievement to her first trainer Byambaa, consultant of “Wool scientific research and experimental institute”. At that time, the business operators were running small scale, household based production of bags and other petty items with yak wool and hair and their traditional fine-arts work.
Now, they already gained their position and share on the market. They established Hangain Sor LLC in 2007 that produces more than 70 products of 30 types including yak and sheep wool bag, hat, socks, waistcoats and cushion. Their Hangain Sor brand products with Mongolia’s registered trademark are exported to Germany, Japan, US, Belgium and Denmark with further plans to establish an online trading platform for new products in cooperation with a Turkish company that they agreed to work with.
They said their achievement in business, success of marketing its produce on international markets and outcomes of raising public awareness on their brand product was because of the company was selected for OVOP initiative and cooperated with UNDP-funded Enterprise Mongolia project. By getting involved with the project, they were trained in series of business skills including expanding business, marketing and management skills. Moreover, Hangain Sor participated in number of domestic and international trade fairs with support from project resulting in making Hangain Sor products familiar to consumers.
Businesses expressed their gratitude to the project for assisting them on product brochure development, packaging, labeling and introducing bar codes. N.Bolormaa, CEO of Hangain Sor LLC, said, “The key outcome of project intervention is that it supported the work of two businesses that was carried out just by their spirit and interests to the level of a production business, finding markets for supplying our produce and increasing the jobs”.
Currently, the company employs 8 full-time staff and 15 part-time contractors. They provide apprenticeship opportunities for their staff before employment as yak wool crafting requires sense and workmanship. Hangain Sor’s products differ from other felt products with its unique design without sewing, but with wool patterns are made on the product by penetrating it from early stage allowing natural color.
Obviously, company had to overcome considerable challenges to reach today’s height. Accessing to bank loan was the biggest challenge. Company director N.Bolormaa says that weak link between SMEs support policy and financial policy and lack of flexible and sensible acts obstacles their commitment to expand their operations more.
They have achieved a great deal. Their previous creative arts that gained fame continued with Hangain Sor product brands. For instance, they were awarded several times for their outstanding performance in creating the national brand product i.e. selected as an “Outstanding producer of Uvurhangai aimag” in 2002, awarded with “Outstanding brand product of Hangai region” from Hangai region partnership-2006 trade fair and “Best local yak wool product” from OVOP-2011 national forum, and this list would go further many pages.
They have been overcoming the challenges and working hard to create great deals. “When thinking of physically easy work, we would just sit and paint our pictures, however our heart-full commitment and ambitions to add up Mongolian brand products always prevails”, once said N.Bolormaa, CEO of Hangain Sor. Their willingness of domestic production of environmentally friendly, ecologically pure and healthy products that would take place on the global market as a Mongolia’s brand product will definitely come true.
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Features publicationsPoverty and MDG Monitoring MDG and Poverty Map-2011 EMP2 final report
Enterprise Mongolia Project, Phase 2