Employer of the Year 2022

by Katherine Ehrlichman

Kitsbow was recently recognized by the McDowell Chamber of Commerce as the county's Employer of the Year. We were proud to be honored, especially because they noted outstanding leadership, business acumen, and professionalism within our community; dedicated to quality, customer service, and commitment to employees.

While we deeply appreciate all of those factors, it is the last one mentioned that we think is the key. If you're going to be Employer of the Year, then almost everything you do had better be in commitment to your employees, right?


 How Did This Happen?

The story of Kitsbow in North Carolina is, by definition, a story of learning to make clothes again. Just 2% of all the clothes sold in the U.S. are made in the U.S., a massive shift over 40 years that means there is no one left sewing now that was sewing then. We knew we were starting over when we moved to North Carolina in late 2019.

Which means that the company needed to invest in its people. From the first day. We estimate that we've paid well over $1 million in wages and benefits to employees in training, over nearly 3 years. 

Common sense dictates that if we're going to pay people to learn, then we will want them to stay. If we want them to stay, then we need to commit to making their daily work as fulfilling as possible, in an environment that is as clean and well-lit as possible, and pay them as well as possible.

For example, the starting wage for the entry-level of sewing at Kitsbow (after training) is 26% higher today than it was 2 years ago. 

And 3 years later, we continue to invest in our newest employees by providing most of the funding for the Old Fort Industrial Sewing Academy.



We're not done. We approach all that we do with the perspective we're on a journey, and these are waypoints -- not destinations. We have more to learn, and more to improve, as we evolve and learn how to support our amazing employees.


And How About You?

And as we continue to grow, we need more amazing employees. Yes, this might mean you. Don't hesitate to check out our open positions here.

And if nothing looks like a fit, don't be afraid to submit a general application. We'll take a look, and see if we can find a fit!


Join Our Cause

Get connected to our journey: Sign up for email here. Buy a product or two here


Visit us in North Carolina at the Old Fort Ride House for a FREE factory tour and to see the magic for yourself. Reserve your factory tour here (please reserve at least 2 days in advance).

Ride our trails, hike the ridges, and fish in the streams of the Other Pisgah. Meet our community

Use the power of your purchasing not only to enjoy premium quality products that last for years and sustain the earth, but also employ awesome people in a beautiful community. Help us keep the money here, in the U.S.


And we’re always looking for more talent and artisans. Send your friends, family, and best candidates to join our team here.


Help us change an industry, build a community, and save the world.


The Old Fort community is leading the way: Kitsbow Leadership alongside the Owners & Managers of Hillman Brewing & G5 Trail Collective at the McDowell Country Awards Ceremony.