ENTREPRENEURSHIP IN PRACTICE
The Cashmere Collection:
launching a new brand
William S. Lightfoot
Brenau University, Gainesville, Georgia, USA, and
International University of Monaco, Monaco
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to provoke further research and analysis into what it takes to
successfully start and grow a new global venture, which sources a product in China, and resells it in
Europe and the USA.
Design/methodology/approach – This paper explores the early stages of the establishment of a
new venture, and a new brand. The venture – Zelective, was founded by two MBA students working
on an applied research project that was then turned into a company located in the Principality of
Monaco. Importing their cashmere clothing from Inner Mongolia, China, this small ﬁrm has enjoyed
signiﬁcant success by designing a line of clothing that is colorful, sexy, and distinctive, while also
executing a sales and marketing strategy that has increased their brands awareness, and
consequently, their sales to some top tier retailers in Europe.
Findings – The next challenge for the ﬁrm is to expand their efforts, while maintaining the
Originality/value – This case provides insight into the challenges of starting up a new venture
which sources product from China. Students have a series of questions which are designed at having
them research the opportunities for Zelective moving forward, helping them determine the ﬁrms
growth strategy. This case can be used in a wide range of context, from marketing, sales, and brand
management, to strategy and logistics.
Keywords Small enterprises, Retailing, Sales, Clothing, Brands, China
Paper type Case study
“SorryI am late ...Alexis in London, and the orders just keep pouring in.” Karl Robertson,
Co-founder of Zelective was running an hour late for a scheduled meeting to discuss
new markets for their product line – The Cashmere Collection (TCC). Since it was
founded in June, 2005, the Monaco-based company had grown rapidly, catching the eye of
major retail stores including Harrods. With this initial wave of success, Karl and his
partner Alex, were starting to look at how they could further expand their sales.
Karl and Alex met in the fall of 2004 when they both joined the MBA program at the
International University of Monaco (IUM). They immediately hit it off, and started
looking at business ideas that would enable them to work together, while also
maintaining a base in Monaco after they graduated in June 2005.
By November, as a part of their capstone applied research project course, they had
started to focus on importing Cashmere into Europe. “Worst case – we can add a new
product category for my stores in Norway. Best case, we develop a new brand” –
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available at
Journal of Chinese Entrepreneurship
Vol. 1 No. 1, 2009
q Emerald Group Publishing Limited