Norlha: Scaling Up Sustainable Luxury on the Tibetan Plateau
(8 pages of text)
Norlha Textiles was a yak wool enterprise located on the Tibetan Plateau in China. Founded in 2007, the company designed and produced yak wool textiles made by Tibetan nomads and sold globally to customers that included such luxury brands as Hermès, Louis Vuitton, and Yves Saint Laurent. In 2015, the company employed 120 local people, enabling them to adapt to the modern world while preserving their local traditions. Also in 2015, the local government invited the company to expand its model to another nomadic community on the Tibetan Plateau. Although this seemed to be a good opportunity to grow the company’s influence, the chief executive officer hesitated, reflecting on the pros and cons. Was such a partnership the right opportunity to grow the company?
This case is suitable for undergraduate and graduate courses in sustainability, luxury goods, social entrepreneurship, and international development. Following the discussion of the case, students will be able to
- identify the challenges faced by an indigenous community due to modernization and globalization;
- explain a community-based enterprise and its potential to offer an alternative to the dominant industrial business model for sustainable development; and
- outline the scaling-up challenges of a community-based enterprise model.
Arts, Entertainment, Sports and Recreation
China, Medium, 2015
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