by Bill Amos
Updates have been a little scarce here at NW Alpine so I thought I'd take this opportunity to talk a little bit about what's been going on with us, where we are now, and what's in store for the future.
Where we came from
I launched NW Alpine in 2010 with the goal of making alpine climbing clothing in the United States. Starting on a small scale we were able to utilize local contract manufacturers to develop and manufacture our line. This worked to an extent but being a small brand with small orders, it's quite difficult to get attention from manufacturers who must focus on larger clients to keep the lights on. We started working with a small manufacturer outside of Portland in 2011 and slowly we transitioned most of our business to them. With sales doubling every year it was clear that we were going to outgrow our main manufacturers capabilities. For the fall/winter season of 2014 we took few orders from retailers because we were concerned about being able to fill orders, and this turned out to be a good thing as we had issues even filling the orders that we received. It was during this time that we started to talk to the owner of our manufacturer about their future goals.
Where we are now
In October 2014 we finalized a deal to purchase the manufacturer's assets and launched Kichatna Apparel Manufacturing LLC. KAM's mission is to provide NW Alpine with guaranteed access to manufacturing, as well as provide contract sewing services to other brands that are interested in making their products domestically. We hit the ground running, bought more equipment, hired more people and have spent the last eleven months building this side of the business. If you've tried to contact us during the last year and gotten a delayed response and wondered what was happening, this is it.
Where we're headed
What does this mean for NW Alpine? Throughout the last year we've brainstormed the future of the company, and continued to develop new products. NW Alpine will remain dedicated to our core values of making functional clothing for alpine climbing and manufacturing our products domestically. Owning our own manufacturing means that we have the ability to prioritize our products, as well as greater control over quality and speed to market.
This winter expect to find our products at three of our key retailers: in Portland at the Mountain Shop and MadeHerePDX, and at Mountain Supply in Bend. You'll be able to shop for our full line on our website as well.
As always we greatly appreciate your support. If it wasn't for our loyal and stoked customers we wouldn't be here.