The most successful artisanal goods startup to emerge from Pakistan is probably Markhor – after all it is the first company from the country to be accepted into Y Combinator. But there’s plenty more where that came from. Earlier this year Esbee Cables banked on consumers’ love for leather to run a successful Kickstarter selling handcrafted iPhone charging cables. And now, Mont5, is the latest company to throw its hat in the ring.
Mont5’s Kickstarter campaign is currently live and has already blown past its fundraising goal of US$18,000. Backers have several options to choose from but the main draw are its five tailormade, customized, premier leather jackets, all under US$400. The startup draws its inspiration from the five highest mountain peaks in Pakistan and each jacket is named after a region straddling them.
It’s not difficult to see why there’s interest in promoting handcrafted leather goods. The sector contributes more than US$1.1 billion in value-added exports from Pakistan and there’s a large number of skilled craftsmen proficient in handstitched products. But the majority of sales in the leather jackets category are business-to-business, meaning consumers get a raw deal in the form of higher prices due to middlemen and taxes. That’s the opportunity Mont5 aims to target.
“Our goal for the Kickstarter campaign was to essentially drum up enough sales to help build a company,” Mont5 creative lead Fahim Akhter tells Tech in Asia. “But the response has been phenomenal and it’s helped us establish a brand outright.”
Fahim says all craftsmen involved in stitching the jackets receive a fair percentage of the sale. If their company takes off then they’ll look into further incentives – such as providing the craftsmen with health insurance and higher premiums. But for now the focus is delivering on their commitment – they’ve promised backers to deliver jackets by February 2016 and aim to stick to it.
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