Haleigh Palmer, the owner of Golightly Cashmere, available exclusively online or at her two retail outlets, Chocolate and Cashmere in Taos and Santa Fe, is smiling.
And well she should be! Haleigh opened Chocolate and Cashmere on Bent St in Taos 4 years ago, thinking the two luxury goods would go together like, well Chocolate and Cashmere; both a treat for the senses, and balm for the soul.
Haleigh already had success with Golightly Cashmere, a line of bespoke, pure cashmere goods she produces mainly in New Mexico.
We met at the World Cup recently to talk about her growing business. She looked great as always – Haleigh epitomises understated chic, usually in jeans and often, cashmere of course – she was on her way to pick up her 11 year old son from school, and had a little time to chat.
She’s had a website for years, sends out annual catalogues and runs a continuous advertisement in The New Yorker magazine. She calls that ad the “bread and butter” of her business, and says it’s what’s enabled her to expand her business to include her retail outlets.
I asked her if she’s planning on more shops.
“Yes, I think so,” she said. “It looks like it’s going that way.”
Haleigh Palmer grew up in Albuquerque, both her grandfathers were engineers who worked at the labs. After high school she went to University in Los Cruces before heading to LA where she began working on film sets.
Winding up back in New Mexico via a ski trip, culminated in her moving to Taos, where she is now raising her own child.
Golightly Cashmere is pure, unadulterated cashmere taken from the belly of Mongolian goats. It’s the real thing. The cashmere Haleigh sources is from the oldest mill in Scotland, where the technique of spinning and weaving fine cashmere originated during the Raj Era of the British Empire, when paisley shawls became popular among the upper classes. The traditions came from Kashmir and Nepal, but Scotland turned it into a fine art.
These are true luxury items, intended to last a lifetime. Each piece comes in an array of mouth-watering colours – a visit to her shops is almost an overload of eye candy – the scarves, for example, are available in more than 40 different hues.
“People ask why the pieces are so expensive,” she told me,”and I tell them that most of the stuff passed off as cashmere on the market, is not the quality of our line.”
“It may not in fact be cashmere at all or perhaps some of it came from another part of the goat.”
“Real cashmere is expensive, but it lasts.”
As for the chocolate?
“I had friends who were chocolatiers and I just thought it would be a great pairing, both are just so sensual you know?”
“I thought that was a great way to appeal to people.”
I can report that the chocolates, all made in New Mexico, are heavenly, and new flavours arrive far more often than I’d like – who could resist trying each one as they appear? Thankfully one can purchase a single piece at a time. The boxes make great gifts, preferably included with a scarf or hat, or tucked into one of the great bags on display in both stores.
There are new cashmere pieces in the works too; a classic 4ply, Raglan sleeve crew neck for men and a cardigan Haleigh is working on perfecting for women.
“It’s hard to make a cardigan look sexy,” she explains, “but I’m working on it.”
“A wrap would be great but then the cost skyrockets, so I’m problem solving.” She laughed.
Her Santa Fe shop is located at 109 E Palace Road. An historical location, it’s the building that once housed J.Robert Oppenheimer’s offices.
“I get people coming in all the time looking at the building, it’s great, it’s brings people in who might not otherwise know about us.”
At the rate she’s going, Golightly will soon be known by many more but for now, please visit their site linked below this post – I can’t think of a better place to start a wish list or a gift list for your loved ones – how divine would it be, to be wrapped in cashmere for the holidays, nibbling on a truffle or two?
Portrait, exterior of Taos shop and 2 bottom shots of Sante Fe shop interior care of Haleigh. 3 top pics taken on my iphone in the Taos shop.