Meet Your Maker - Introducing Scott T.

by Katherine Ehrlichman

Kitsbow gear is made by humans, not machines, and not by labor that is exploited. Our gear is made by people re-inventing the production of premium apparel in America as a team activity, combining their artisan skills with team-oriented problem-solving and product creation. This is his story. Thanks, Scott.

The Journey to Kitsbow

Scott came to Kitsbow in March of 2019, at the beginning of the pandemic. He started sewing PPE (masks) and is now one of the Trainers in the Old Fort Industrial Sewing Academy, which is operated in conjunction with McDowell Technical Community College inside Kitsbow in Old Fort.
“I love being in production and sewing but I also love helping people learn something new”.

Scott brings decades of experience to Kitsbow and is playing a critical part in revitalizing the apparel industry. “It’s a basic skill that I think has been lost with all of our technological growth.” Before coming to Kitsbow, Scott was a founding partner of several different companies, including a lingerie company & a company that specialized in fitness apparel & men’s underwear. From there, he went on to start a company that manufactured Halloween costumes, novelty hats & wigs. He learned a lot about industrial sewing through all that experience.

The Old Fort Industrial Sewing Academy

Scott has played an important role in developing the curriculum and launching the Old Fort Industrial Sewing Academy. “Our program ensures folks are prepared to get a job where they can feel confident. They’ll graduate knowing the terminology, the technology, and methods to sew in an industrial sewing environment”. This program prepares people to work in apparel manufacturing, whether it's our own factory here in Old Fort or someone else’s.

The Old Fort Industrial Sewing Academy is enabling Kitsbow to open up more job opportunities for people and “we’re teaching people skills that are truly enriching their lives.” Which in turn improves Kitsbow's production capacity. With customers waiting 1 to 8 weeks for their item to be made, the Academy is a key factor in customer satisfaction and Kitsbow's growth.
When asked who the sewing academy is geared toward, Scott responded “Anyone can do this. It’s a machine — you’re a machine operator. I love opening different types of people up to things that they never thought they could do. So far, we’ve had a 100% success rate with the sewing academy! Beyond their extraordinary skills as mew makers, they are seeing that Kitsbow is a safe & positive place to work.”

It’s No Laughing Matter

One of Scott’s first impressions of Kitsbow involves laughter. The Director of Production, Jessie, would come around & check on everyone throughout the shift & Scott recalls being shocked early on by the laughter & good energy of the production floor. “I would hear Jessie’s laughter throughout the building all the time. She was constantly laughing & always engaged with people, constantly checking in with everyone”.

Our Makers are very serious about the work they do, and they are also serious about ensuring happiness. “What an awesome place to work when what I hear the most is laughter — that really stuck with me and made an impression and one of the reasons I’m here today.”

Growth Through Change

Change and growth are two common themes at Kitsbow, and personally for Scott, too. He has been a small business owner his whole life and sold his thriving business in downtown Asheville, NC to become more involved with Kitsbow. “Change is essential. You have to be able to be good at change because it's inevitable. You’re going to evolve. You’re going to pivot. You’re going to move forward. You’re going to grow. I came in and didn’t expect Kitsbow to grow as fast as it has, but it’s exciting. Through all the growth & change, I’ve fallen into something that I really enjoy.”

The Reason For Being

Ikigai is a Japanese concept that means your ‘reason for being'. Your ikigai is your life purpose, what brings you joy and inspires you to get out of bed every day. “Kitsbow is my Ikagi. I’m proud to be involved with a company that is touching so many people and positively influencing our industry.”

“I love that people see and recognize the Kitsbow I’m wearing. They know our story and always have something positive to say. There’s a big overlap between Kitsbow and the local bike community. I love that Kitsbow supports many organizations like Asheville on Bikes and the G5 Trail Collective. It’s a blessing to work for a company that I am proud to be a part of.”

Thank you, Scott, for helping Kitsbow change an industry.

If you're interested in learning from Scott, applications for students in the Old Fort Sewing Academy can be made on our careers page. Students are paid $15.00/hour during the initial 4-week Academy.

If you're not interested in becoming a Maker, there are many other open positions where you can help us change the apparel industry in the U.S.