In a blog post yesterday, Old Fort, North Carolina-based Kitsbow announced that their US-made, employee-owned apparel manufacturing dream has come to an end after 11 years. Kitsbow CEO David Billstrom shared the news that they will be fulfilling the current backlog of “Made to Order” customer purchases before shutting down production entirely on Friday, April 7th.
This news comes following a complete restructuring of the company in 2022 and a more recent unsuccessful attempt to raise $1,000,000 through crowdfunding on WeFunder to help sustain the brand, which only raised about half of the money it needed. Despite domestically manufacturing an impressive 17,000 garments last year and imminent plans to announce several retail partners across the country, Kitsbow simply didn’t have enough operating capital to continue.
Explaining the tough decision, Billstrom wrote that Kitsbow did, “…everything humanly possible to avoid this outcome, including talking with new investors, exploring partnerships with other brands, and offering the possibility of purchase by other brands (and not being fussy about price). The economy has made all of those alternatives impossible. The brands that could truly appreciate the Kitsbow manufacturing expertise were also among those the most financially-constrained by their own challenges. In other words, apparel is tough.”
As of yesterday, Kitsbow has marked down all 7,000 remaining items in their inventory, and all sales are final. No returns, repairs, or warranty. They’re also seeking help to find new opportunities for their roughly 40-person staff of skilled manufacturers, retail, customer service, and marketing, and have asked anyone in need of employees to please get in touch via email@example.com.
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