Building on over 20 years of experience, American Wool & Cashmere is Afghanistan’s leading exporter of raw cashmere as a U.S. owned and operated textile brokerage firm. American Wool & Cashmere has exported over 10 million kilos of raw Afghan cashmere to the world’s leading spinning and weaving manufacturers. Since its inception, American Wool & Cashmere has become recognized in the cashmere industry for its trustworthy and exemplary business principles.
Since then, with the assistance of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), American Wool & Cashmere has expanded its business in Herat, Afghanistan, the center of Afghanistan's cashmere industry. In 2003, OPIC granted American Wool & Cashmere a multi-million dollar loan to provide liquidity to Afghan suppliers. Due to the success of the first loan from OPIC, the company secured a significantly larger loan in the summer of 2008.
- In the cashmere industry, a full sales-cycle is typically a year or longer. In Afghanistan, cashmere suppliers exhaust a majority of their working capital purchasing raw cashmere. Once purchased, it must be gathered, hand-dehaired, and sorted in Herat. After sorting, it is packed and shipped to the American Wool & Cashmere warehouse in Verviers, Belgium. At this point the material has been 'en route' for three months. Meanwhile, Afghan cashmere suppliers and farmers have no other income. In the past, goat farmers were forced to slaughter the animals to provide for their families. With the OPIC loan funds, American Wool & Cashmere is able to provide Afghan cashmere suppliers cash advances until buyers are found for their raw cashmere. This allows the cashmere farmers and suppliers to continue producing the raw product. The industry employs over 1,500 women and older men who would otherwise find it difficult to provide for their families.
For several years American Wool & Cashmere has held a license from the Department of Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control to export the company's goods through Bandar Abbas, Iran. This route ensures the goods arrive safely and efficiently in Belgium.
American Wool & Cashmere founder and CEO, Nesar Nusraty, has led the firm since its inception in the late 1980's.
The business quickly grew as word spread through Herat, Afghanistan that Nusraty was a reliable, honest partner. Within two years, American Wool & Cashmere was representing more than 15 Herat-based cashmere suppliers.
During the Taliban years, he moved the company's operations to Kazakhstan where he built a hand-dehairing facility. In an effort to remain fully informed about the industry's development, Nusraty traveled around the world to gain first-hand knowledge of the latest technologies and business models. He later used that knowledge and his expertise to identify key challenges, as well as workable solutions, to developing and expanding the cashmere industry in Afghanistan.
Nusraty attributes a large part of his success to his strong belief in open, fair, and honest communication between all parties. He keeps his suppliers involved in every step of the selling process, and when disputes regarding price or quality arise, he brings the parties together in Belgium so that they have ready access to the goods while they work to resolve the issue. As an Afghan-American, he is uniquely able to bridge cultural and language barriers that often create problems. As a result of his substantive expertise and historical knowledge of the global cashmere industry and specifically Afghan cashmere, Nusraty is able to accurately identify obstacles to grow and to develop solutions that are both feasible and sustainable. His contacts within the Afghan cashmere industry are unrivaled.