OLD FORT, N.C. (BRAIN) — A year ago, Kitsbow Cycling Apparel committed to a goal of eventually manufacturing all clothes domestically. To help achieve that, Kitsbow relocated from Petaluma, California, to Old Fort in December.
Today, those decisions look wiser when factoring in the hardships supply-chain delays will have on the industry because of COVID-19.
“As you might imagine, during this pandemic, this choice made more than a year ago looks pretty smart,” said CEO David Billstrom. “We are still making product; we’re still selling it (online), and we’re still shipping every day. We’re 110% in business.”
With the new factory and lean manufacturing model, Kitsbow intends to make 95% of its apparel domestically in two years. Kitsbow’s decision was all about eliminating outsourcing, said Billstrom, who added domestic manufacturing enables online sales to be an advantage “rather than a necessary evil, as it is for many brick-and-mortar retailers.”
“In other words, we could closely couple the sales transaction with the making, and then shipping, of the customer’s choice,” he said.
Kitsbow’s cash-flow requirements also will be lower because they won’t be buying finished goods in batch quantities of 300 to 3,000 and won’t be sending wire transfers to Asia with deposit money months …read more