Tosca Metz, owner of T&U Mongolian Cashmere by Gobi, on upper Wisconsin Avenue, says that the fall season is a great time to buy cashmere and other cold- weather items.
“Right now, it’s perfect time,” she says.
She should know. Metz moved to the United States from Mongolia 10 years ago. While she personally loves autumn in Washington, D.C., she still remembers how cold Mongolia can be. She didn’t like the cold season there, where it extends from August until May, but loves the winter gear.
Mongolia has more than 45 percent of the global cashmere market, Metz notes. In addition to wanting to share what her country is famous for, she wanted to fulfill her dream of having a small boutique and creating her own designs. And, with two kids, 2 and 7 years old, she wanted to be in full control of her working hours. “I wanted to have my own schedule,” she says.
Born in Mongolia, Metz, who has worked in a variety of fields, moved to the United States because she has family here. She met her husband in Mongolia when he was working for the Peace Corps. She continues to visit Mongolia, often enough to know how the people treat fashion trends. According to Metz, the country has definitely become more modern and trend-conscious. “Every time I visit, it is more fashionable,” she says.
Metz makes it clear that her business isn’t a one-woman show. Gobi, the manufacturer her business is associated with, works with many designers, including
local Mongolian and Italian designers. While Metz designs, she doesn’t knit. Una Ganbold, her best friend from her college days in Mongolia’s capital, Ulaanbaatar, is her business partner and does the bookkeeping (Ganbold currently lives in Canada).
Though Mongolia is becoming trendier in her eyes, Metz’s wares feature a lot of classic colors, such as black, ivory, beige, light brown and navy. There is a wide price range; one can get a scarf or a pair of gloves for $60 to $90 or buy something for $2,000.
Metz chose to open T&U Mongolian Cashmere in Georgetown — in December of last year — because the business seemed to fit in better than in other neighborhoods she checked out. At 31 years old, she is still learning, also drawing on the Georgetown Business Improvement District’s expertise. “It’s a good community and I really like it,” she says.