Nancy Johnston, Founder of Tengri, wins Asian Women Achievement
22 May 2016 - Nancy Johnston

Nancy wins Asian Women of Achievement Award in Entrepreneur Category

The Asian Women of Achievement [AWA] Awards, in association with NatWest, announced the winners of the 2016 Awards at an event in London on 12 May. The Awards, now in their 17th year, celebrate the contributions made by Asian women both professionally and in their communities, cutting across a broad range of sectors in British life from business and media to sport, culture and public service.

Thirty-eight-year-old Nancy Johnston swooped her award in the entrepreneur category at the ceremony. Nancy launched Tengri, a London-based sustainable and socially-motivated menswear brand, in 2014. The launch followed the realisation of Nancy’s lifelong dream to live with nomadic herder families in the most remote and rugged parts of Mongolia. Tengri challenges the fashion and textile industry to become ‘fairshare’, and ultimately empower the people of Mongolia to invest profits where they will make a real difference. Tengri products are designed and made with British heritage craftsmanship using natural, un-dyed, hand-combed Khangai Noble Yarns® – Mongolian yak fibres that are as soft as cashmere, breathable and hypoallergenic. The company pioneers a 100% transparent supply chain and a ‘fairshare’ business model, working direct with Mongolian nomadic herders to provide them with a sustainable income.

Nancy Johnston, Founder and CEO Tengri, comments: “I’m so deeply honoured to have been awarded this accolade, not only celebrating pioneering and inspirational women driving business, but also making change for good. I launched Tengri having lived with Mongolian herder families, experiencing the challenges that put pressure on their lives and livelihoods. I saw an opportunity where a collective movement of design, fashion, ethics, business, environmental activism and individual consumer choice could come together to do good and can make a difference.

Nancy adds: “Mongolia is the world’s second largest supplier of luxury fibres, contributing to the €60 billion luxury apparel market. While supporting the livelihoods of herder families, our collaboration also provides the industry with a unique premium product whilst regenerating its source, the communities and land that bear these precious fruits. The fashion industry is experiencing, first-hand, the detrimental impact that economic and environmental challenges are having on the source of much of its premium raw materials, such as the €4 billion cashmere market. The current landscape is unsustainable and we must make a change. We’re set to begin supplying premium fabrics and yarns for the luxury fashion industry, targeting a growing menswear market worth nearly £13 billion.

With the next round of investments we plan to double our impact and buy 10 tonnes of fibre from the nomadic herders in Mongolia who are working with us to supply hand-combed fibres from the indigenous and semi-wild Khangai yak species, that offers a sustainable alternative.”

Pinky Lilani, CBE DL, Founder, Asian Women of Achievement Awards said, “We are thrilled for all the winners, who are united by their passion and inspirational achievements. The diversity of this year’s winners highlights that Asian women in Britain are bucking stereotypes while making an enormous contribution to British life. I am immensely proud to stand alongside this inspiring group of women.”

Les Matheson, CEO, Personal & Business Banking, NatWest said: “NatWest is proud to be a part of Asian Women of Achievement for the 5th year running. Once again, the awards have demonstrated the talent and determination of a remarkable group of British Asian women. My congratulations to the winners and all those shortlisted, who I’m sure will continue to achieve great success.”

The UK is a hub of social innovation and a nation of Angel Investors. Nancy’s journey has been supported by highly experienced fashion industry experts through the Grant Thornton Growth Accelerator programme and the Centre for Sustainable Fashion (CSF), University of the Arts London. As a member of the global Impact Hub and fellow of the RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce), Nancy’s journey from former social worker to social entrepreneur has been supported in the UK by a global network of people, places, and programmes. These inspire, connect and create impact, bringing global change through ideas and action.

For more details about Tengri, visit