Lena Talley wearing dzhurabi from Caucasus Mountain Knits
Sarasota, Florida November 19, 2015 Bruce Talley, owner of the global events firms, Destination Sochi and Destination Rio, has launched a new venture, offering online sales of high-quality and distinctively handmade and loomed socks, mittens, slippers from the remote, historic Caucasus Mountains.
Caucasus Mountain Knits are handmade or loomed using the simple techniques of the Republic of Kabardino-Balkaria, a remote, underdeveloped region of the Caucasus Mountains in Russia with spectacular and rugged mountain vistas. Kabardino-Balkaria is famed regionally for its high-quality socks, mittens, slippers and beautiful dzhurabi (picture above). The unique craftsmanship and price of the knits make them a great value for outdoor wear in the winter, indoors at any time and for holiday gift-giving. The towns and villages of Kabardino have little in the way of industry or tourism, and locals often survive on $200- $300 or even less per month. So, Caucasus Mountains Knits is helping to boost the local economy by purchasing directly from the villagers and farmers who produce the clothing.
Bruce Talley, a native South Dakotan and long-time Californian, has returned to the United States after a decade abroad, living in Russia for 9 years and Brazil for 1. In Russia, his ventures included Destination Sochi, the largest events firm in Sochi for the 2-year period leading to the Games, as well as land development and promotion of projects nearby in the Republic of Abkhazia. Now based in Sarasota, Florida, Mr. Talley has launched Caucasus Mountain Knits (www.caucasusknits.com) with his wife, Lena, to sell the uniquely beautiful, comfortable and durable knits of Kabardino-Balkaria, in the northern Caucasus.
“Many of our items are handmade from start to finish. The designs, dyeing and knitting methods have been handed down for generations by people who are hardy and know how to make clothes that stand up to brutal winters and a rugged life style. Since many of these folks have little money, they have to make their clothes last. These are fine products made by fine people from the finest quality wool,” Mr. Talley said.
During his time in Russia, Mr. Talley and his wife visited the villages where the knitted products originate. They spoke with the people who raise the sheep and harvested the wool, those who dye it, the artisans who turned the colored wool into warm, durable, and comfortable clothing on their looms. Caucasusknits.com features video of these people, the time-tested processes and the mountain backdrop to all.
“The mountain people who make the clothing take pride in their work. They take the time and care to create clothing that keeps their families and friends warm. They were thrilled with the idea that people in the Unites States and elsewhere may be wearing their creations in their homes thousands of miles from where they make them. It is satisfying and cool to help make this happen, when you think about it,” he added.
After working in investment banking in southern California for almost 20 years, Mr. Talley moved to Russia to pursue land development. He later opened Destination Sochi to provide relocation services, television studios, transport, and staffing services to the companies that work the Olympics. Destination Sochi was the largest on-the-ground firm in Sochi and provided services to nearly 50 broadcasters, Olympic sponsors and partners in the period from 2011- 2014. Previously, he provided guidance to the Republic of Abkhazia on the privatization of state-owned assets. Bringing it full-circle, Mr. Talley was brought up on a cattle and sheep farm in South Dakota, where he helped to raise and shear sheep from the age of 8.
Mr. Talley was profiled in the Atlantic Monthly in 2010, interviewed for the Washington Post, the BBC, HBO, the subject of a television interview for NBC Channel 7 San Diego, profiled in Delovaya Gazeta Yug twice, Real Business and other magazines, newspapers and television stations in Russia and the United States.
Bruce Talley/ Caucasus Mountain Knits
Our new website selling knit clothing made in the Caucasus Mountains is now live. The website, www.caucasusknits.com , offers handmade and loomed socks, mittens, slippers and dzhurabi that are made in the villages and on the farms in the Republic of Kabardino-Balkaria. Kabardino is on the north (Russian) side of the Caucasus and is remote, underdeveloped and spectacularly beautiful. However, this area produces high-quality wool, in a natural, humane environment and the wool is spun into yarn and then knit into the socks, slippers and dzhurabi with the distinctive designs and colors of the region.