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Muskhane Spirit

  • Our team
  • FOUNDERS

    Above all else, MUSKHANE is a story of social engagement.
    Established in Nepal since the late 1990s when the couple were both working for Handicap International, Valérie and Thierry Billot rapidly fell for the beauty of the Himalayas; the region and its people.
    Enchanted by the traditional techniques of production still very much the norm in their adoptive community, and passionate about improving the conditions of the artisans whose work they so admired, they decided to set about developing a system of fair trade and commerce. Thierry and Valérie created their first collection for MUSKHANE in 2002.

    The story of MUSKHANE began with a link between Nepal and France.
    The mountains, landscapes, and rich colors of Kathmandu lent the tone for the collections dreamed up by Valérie, while Thierry set to work establishing fair-trade and equitable working relationships with the producers and artisans.

    Back in Paris, the MUSKHANE team matched Valérie and Thierry's enthusiasm for making these authentic and contemporary products available for purchase.

    TEAM MEMBERS

    In Kathmandu, Tshering coordinates the production and prepares orders for shipment. The hands behind MUSKHANE'S "hand-made" label belong to Raj Kumari, Lilawati and Leela, along with Tej and Gyanu who perform the meticulous and meditative work of the piqués.

    In France
    The MUSKHANE team is at work every day in the boutiques and at professional trade shows to promote the MUSKHANEs brand, and to educate potential clients and partners about the ethos of the company's founders: sustainable development and fair-trade.

    Thanks to Gaëlle Lunven, Emmanuelle Nivet, Carmen Scovolo, Delphine Goddefroy, Priscilla Ait El Mouhoub et William Berthoud. Also, many thanks to Maeva Delacroix, whose photographer's talents allow us to express all the sensibility and the poetry of our collections

  • Savoir-Faire
  • A passion born in the heart of the Himalayas.
    Since 2002, MUSKHANE draws its inspiration from the artisanal heritage of Nepal, rich in colors and quality materials, to develop its collections in felted wool and cashmere.
    The traditional methods of working with organic materials are still alive in the Kathmandu valley. Thanks to this rich cultural heritage, each and every decorative object, every accessory, and every piece of clothing from MUSKHANE is hand-made. It was here that Valérie learned the artisanal methods of working in felted wool and cashmere, and the aesthetic born of her penchant for pure and clean design coupled with vibrant color represents the identity of MUSKHANE.

    A Standard of Excellence.
    The quality of our wool and the high level of our workmanship make MUSKHANE products truly luxurious. Unique designs, conceived in harmony and balance, whimsical and authentic.

    A place for creativity, infused with softness and joie de vivre.
    MUSKHANE is a state of mind. Our name means "smile" in Nepalese, and it is this optimism that Valérie and Thierry hope to project.

  • Felted Wool
  • Felted wool, natural and renewable, is MUSKHANE's signature textiles.

    Felted wool, first appeared in Asia in the 7th century BC. Used by shepherds in their heavy winter coats, hats, and rugs, it is also the material with which they covered their yurts and even wove their intricate wall hangings.

    Felted wool is an organic material with many excellent properties. Environmentally friendly, it provides excellent insulation against cold and noise, is naturally hypo- allergenic, anti-acarien and anti-bacterial, and emits no harmful substances.

    The fabrication of MUSKHANE's felted wool is entirely artisanal. Felt is created from combed wool, boiling water and soap. A long process of pressure, friction, and exposure to high temperatures causes the fibers of the wool to fuse together.

    In this way, each piece in our collection is designed to welcome you home, and beautify your surroundings.

  • Cashmere
  • Cashmere, MUSKHANE's other favorite material, offers the sensation of complete well-being.  

    Also known as the "diamond fiber", cashmere is the extremely high-quality, silky soft wool of the Capra Hisca goat which lives in the frigid high altitude regions of the Himalayas and Mongolia.

    You will appreciate the lush texture but also the comfort and warmth of these fibers.

    The entirety of our product line is fabricated in our partner workshop on manual knitting machines, which use no electricity.

    Under the artistic direction of Valérie, our Nepalese artisans spin the cashmere into thick or thin strands, knitting tightly or loosely, to create sweaters and accessories, soft and warm, in sparkling colours.

  • MUSKHANE'S commitment in Nepal
  • Our philosophy

    The reason we are here, an ethos of durability...
    MUSKHANE is an ethical brand, committed to social responsibility. The welfare of the artisans, the impacts both social and environmental, are at the heart of every decision we make.

    Thanks to our team in Nepal, on site year-round, our relationship with our suppliers is based on proximity and a durable, on-going dialogue.

    It is this optimism and engagement that we hope will be clear to our clients, as we offer our line of products conceived in a balance of responsiblity, creativity, and harmony.

    Fair Trade and Equitable Commerce

    Respect for the rules of responsible commerce is our ethos, and the driving philosophy behind the story of MUSKHANE.

    MUSKHANE was created as the result of a study by Handicap International which focused on the realities of fair-trade practices in India and Nepal. Except for one of our ateliers, our entire network of suppliers and producers is made up of people we met during that study. Many of them are directly affiliated with the Fair Trade label, and others are family businesses which respect the principles.

    Creating the conditions whereby everyone can give the best of themselves.

    We know of the all workshops with whom we work, and guarantee the good working conditions of each. On our side, we are committed to giving a fair price to the artisans so that they can achieve a comfortable living wage. Rather than negotiate a low price, we ask our suppliers to deliver high-quality materials within the stipulated timeframe. We also finance over 50% of fabrication so that our artisans and suppliers will not have to risk becoming indebted in the process.

    Sustainable Development

    A daily, comprehensive management of resources to ensure nothing is wasted.

    Water conservation and management in Nepal is a daily preoccupation. Water shortages and power outtages are a permanent occurance in Kathmandu. These conditions have lead us to examine the ways in which our means of production are as respectful of resources as can possibly be.
    All of our products are hand-made from the finest natural and renewable materials available: sheep wool, Nepalese cotton and paper for our deco line, and superfine wool of the Capra Hisca goat for our cashmere fashion items.

    Innovation and Fidelity.

    Our products are exported to France by plane, the only mode of transport available from Nepal. To compensate for the CO2 emissions, we are member/contributors to CO2 Solidaire. The funds we've made available to the organization benefitted "1000 energy-neutral buildings", constructing solar-powered habitats in the Himalayas and India. 

    We are also members of the Sustainable Development Collective, whose objective is to educate and raise the awareness of consumers and media outlets about the politics, economics, and environmental impact of Sustainable Development.

    Social Engagement

    Since its creation, MUSKHANE has been active in the support of social work in Nepal, especially in the domaine of education.

    Since 2006, we've provided logistic and financial support to the DEM association in Nepal, who head up a program in the Kathmandu valley aiding poor families and providing educational grants to students. 

    Since 2013, MUSKHANE is also a supporter of the Planète Enfants association, which works to protect the rights of children and fights against their exploitation.