Making a garment suitable for crashing through the woods in poor weather, yet with the quality of a fine dress shirt, demands particular skills (and attitude).

[A version of this post was originally provided at Kitsbow.com. I’m the CEO at Kitsbow, and I want to explain why each of our customers are truly connected to each of our Makers. These are the artisan craftspeople that are always more important than our machines. Read on to learn why this may matter to you.]

GREAT PRODUCTS REQUIRE GREAT PEOPLE.

With lean manufacturing and the discipline of making one product at a time, the most valuable part of the Kitsbow factory isn’t the $1.5 million in sewing machines and equipment we’ve installed in Old Fort, NC.

Our most precious…


Kitsbow Staff in the Pandemic

[A version of this post was originally provided at Kitsbow.com. I’m the CEO at Kitsbow, and there is an important component of what we do every day: we create jobs. In the sense that we train people to do the work that they initially are not qualified to do, and we build our community as we do it. Read on to learn why.]

It’s become default messaging for companies to label ‘Community’ as one of their pillars or core values.

We’re supportive of this enthusiasm in a fractured world, but a tiny bit cynical. …


This Complicated, Resilient Place

[A version of this post was originally provided at Kitsbow.com, with the expert editing assistance of Tim Clark and Bethany Donovan, my colleagues at Kitsbow. I’m the CEO at Kitsbow, and I’ve been ruminating for over a year on how to explain exactly why an apparel company relocated from Petaluma, California to a declining former factory town in the rural South. This is our story.]

Why did Kitsbow choose Old Fort, North Carolina when we relocated from Petaluma, California? …


Tomorrow, March 21, marks what we call “Day Zero” at Kitsbow Cycling Apparel.

Of course those of you following us closely… you know by now that we really got started on Thursday March 19 last year, when we ordered plastic overnight express to make prototypes the next day. But we call March 21 our Day 0.

Because just 48 hours after prototyping, on Saturday, March 21, 2020 we moved into full-scale production of FDA-authorized plastic face shields.


Almost by definition, every client I work with has plenty of experience finding employees, interviewing them, and hiring them.

A few might even have experience firing them, but not often (and that’s a topic for a different day). So they’ve got the minimum qualifications to recruit, right?

Um, well, not usually.

The “great” companies, whether they are publicly traded monoliths like Google, Intel, and Microsoft or tiny, svelt startups with halo venture capital backing, all share a common trait: the best talent wants to work there, and it is quite difficult to even get an interview at one of these…

David Billstrom

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store