Category Archives: Behind the Scenes

The Family Behind Stormy Kromer

For those of you who don’t know, Stormy Kromer is part of a larger company called Jacquart Fabric Products (JFP). Founded in 1958 by Bob Jacquart, Sr., JFP employs about 120 folks in the Ironwood, Michigan area.

Earlier this summer, Gina Jacquart Thorsen – the founder’s granddaughter – sat down in front of a camera to talk about her memories of growing up in the business and her role with Stormy Kromer today. We think you’ll enjoy it.

It’s time to name new plaids!

Our product development team is hard at work on Fall/Winter 2016 new designs – and that means new plaids! Over the years we’ve asked for your suggestions on naming, and this year is no different. So take a look at our three new plaids, offer us your best names and we’ll pick our favorites.

Fall 16 Plaid #1

Plaid #1 combines a rich chocolate background with accents of mustard, cream and sky blue. The scale is on the larger side, and we can tell you that it will be used mainly for men’s products.

AW16PLAID-3

Plaid #2 comes on a light gray background, with teal, raspberry and charcoal lines. This smaller-sized plaid (similar to Wintergreen in scale) will be used for our ladies line.

AW16PLAID-2

Our last plaid has a heathered, medium brown background with olive, chocolate and blue creating a plaid along the same scale as Red Pine, which you can see here in the Flat Top Cap. We’ve got all kinds of plans for this plaid in a variety of products for both men and women.

Now it’s your turn to let us know what you think! Which do you look forward to the most, and what should we name them?

Apply to be a Stormy Kromer Brand Ambassador!

Stormy Kromer Brand Ambassador

We are excited to launch our Ambassador Program and offer you the opportunity to be a part of this inaugural group.  We know that there are countless passionate Stormy Kromer fans across the country who want to share their Stormy Kromer experiences and pass along some Stormy Kindness.

We are looking for Brand Ambassadors who are passionate about Stormy Kromer and our American-made story; influential men and women of all ages, from all areas of the country who can help us spread the word about our rugged, high-quality gear.

Are you a passionate outdoors person, craftsman, athlete or community leader who loves Stormy Kromer?  You could be our next SK envoy.

The exclusive benefits of our Ambassador community include:

  • Access to exclusive member’s only communication channels to communicate directly with Stormy Kromer staff and other ambassadors around the country.
  • The opportunity to wear, test and provide feedback on new products and prototypes.
  • The opportunity to provide feedback on new marketing campaigns, programs and promotions before being released to the public.
  • The SK Ambassador Kit – a coat/jacket, vest, shirt, mittens, 2 caps and a bag, all of your choosing, with a retail value of up to $950.
  • Ability to purchase additional Stormy Kromer gear at a substantial discount.
  • 12 free cap coupon cards to distribute as you see fit.
  • Free product and discount cards to use as promos/giveaways on your blog or other social media channels, based on a case by case evaluation of your proposed program.

Stormy Kromer Ambassador responsibilities are as follows:

  • Posting on Social Media – on both our corporate pages as well as your individual pages, we’ll ask you to share commentary, photos and videos of you putting your Stormy Kromer gear to good use, using the hash tags we’ll provide to you. Social media platforms include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram YouTube and Pinterest.
  • Write at least one post about Stormy Kromer during your ambassador term for our blog and your blog, if applicable.
  • Provide us with candid, honest and timely feedback on any product, ideas or campaigns we send to you for review.
  • Provide feedback for continued program improvement.
  • Agree to and sign our Ambassador Agreement, including a confidentiality clause regarding new products/prototypes you might receive.

Initially we will be selecting individuals to serve as ambassadors from September – December, 2015. Ambassadors will be reevaluated for a full year of service in 2016.

To apply, please complete our online application found here. The deadline to apply is August 15th. We may request a phone interview for final selection of our ambassadors.

We look forward to hearing from you – and please help us spread the word!

Business is a Family Affair

Father’s Day is a great reminder that for Stormy Kromer, business is a family affair. You see, my sister and I have the privilege of working with our Dad – it’s kind of like every day is Father’s Day. For those that don’t know, Stormy Kromer is a part of Jacquart Fabric Products (JFP) – a sewing factory started back in 1958 by my grandfather, Robert Jacquart, Sr., right here in beautiful Ironwood, Michigan. Today, Bob Jacquart, Jr. is our CEO, and my sister KJ and I manage various aspects of the business.

Gina and KJ running a sidewalk sale at the original factory.

For KJ and I, business and family have always been deeply intertwined. We learned early on what it means to be an entrepreneur and my Dad took every opportunity to expose us to the business.

Whether it was spending an evening with him delivering a finished product to a customer (with the promise of ice cream if we shook the customer’s hand, looked them in the eye and asked, “How are you today?”), combining a summer vacation with a quick stop to a supplier’s office, or learning how to make change at the cash register on Saturday mornings, business was ever present for the Jacquart daughers.

Gina at the storefront
Gina at the doorway of the original JFP storefront.

It worked out pretty well for Dad, as he now has his two daughters working with him every day, and preparing to take over the business when he’s ready to retire. (Although, who I am kidding, he’s never going to really retire.)

We’re living proof that you can combine family and business - and when you do, you actually make both the family and the business even better.

Bob, KJ and Gina
Bob Jacquart with his daughters Kari “KJ” Jacquart and Gina Jacquart Thorsen.

Happy Father’s Day Dad. KJ and I are proud to call you both our CEO and our father.

Employee Profiles: Lynn Jackson

Employee Profile: Lynn JacksonI used to work at the hospital, so that qualifies me to take care of Kromers.
- Lynn Jackson, Quality Inspector

As a Stormy Kromer inspector, it’s my job to make sure every cap is sized right and sewn right. No loose stitches. No crooked cuts. No errors of any kind. You can’t make mistakes and make a legend.

Our gear goes out with a “Made in the USA” logo on it, and that means it was made in a small community and made by hard work. It’s so satisfying to see how many different kinds of hats and other products get sewn each day, and to know we’re making them with pride. I want everyone out there to know that, because I want them to wear their hats with pride.

I see a lot of tourists come in for tours, and I love to hear all their questions. The Green Bay Packers even came in once—that was really something. I guess I’m just happy to see people who love our hats, and that’s why I love my job.

Employee Profiles: Jim Berton

Stormy Kromer Employee Profiles: Jim BertonThere are two kinds of people: the kind who work at Stormy Kromer, and the kind who wish they did.
-Jim Berton, Media Specialist

The folks who work here are the lucky ones. And when people ask what I do, I tell them I have the best job in the world, at the best place in the world, for the best people in the world. For 12 years, that’s been true every day.

Technically, though, I’m a “media specialist,” which is French for “graphics, embroidering, digitizing, photography, and anything else they’ll let me do.” Truly, I’ll do anything I can to help, and not just because my wife and I both get our paychecks here. (Yep. She was hired on the same day as me.)

We love it here. We have passion for what we do and where we’re from. And when you buy a piece of Stormy gear, you’re not only getting the highest-quality American-made merchandise money can buy, you’re getting a piece of the company—something made by hardworking Americans who put their reputation on the line every day to guarantee your satisfaction. Just try it on, and you’ll feel that passion, too.

On Location: Salt Lake City

Last week, the Stormy Kromer sales and marketing team were in Salt Lake City for the winter Outdoor Retailer Show. We had a great time showing our new 2015 fall/winter products to retailers from around the country. Read on for a few sneak peeks from the show!

Stormy Kromer Winter OR Booth

This photo shows off about 2/3 of our full booth. Can you spot anything new?

Alan, Kirsten and Gina at Winter OR

Gina, Alan and Kirsten take a break to model some of the new upcoming caps and apparel.

Our favorite booth visitor

This cute pup took a break under our women’s apparel display while his owner took a look at our catalog.

Presenting the 2015 Sassy Awards

During the show, the 3rd Annual American Made Outdoor Gear Awards were given out, hosted by Kokatat in the Liberty Bottleworks booth. We were incredibly honored to be a finalist again this year, after being a category winner in 2013. A big congratulations to this year’s Category Winners, Voormi, Dahlgren Footwear, Polar Bottles, and Cascade Designs, and to this year’s Grand Prize Winner, Sterling Rope. It is always inspiring to learn more about what other American made manufacturers are accomplishing.

Our 2015 fall products will be available to the general public beginning this summer. Stay tuned for all the details!

 

 

Employee Profiles: Jennifer Cvengros

Employee Profiles: Jennifer CvengrosCome see me, and I’ll show you how “Made in America” is done.
-Jennifer Cvengros, Engineering Department

I work in the engineering department at Stormy Kromer, and that means I get to figure out the most efficient way to make the best products. I work on the prototypes, and I determine how much each piece is going to cost to produce. I even get to sew every now and then.

Most importantly, though, I get to work with a great bunch of hardworking people, and we’re helping keep jobs in the U.S.A. I’m more proud of that than anything. I think we all are.

I want people to buy our products, of course, but I also want them to come to our factory in Ironwood, to take the tour, and to see meet the people who make “Made in America” happen. It’s more than just making hats, it’s really something we can be proud of.

Employee Profiles: Patti Alexander

Employee Profiles, Patti AlexanderI make sure you get what you ask for.
- Patti Alexander, Distribution Center Work Lead

Anytime you order an item from Stormy Kromer, it’s made by hardworking people who care about and take pride in making the best product they can. It’s my job to make sure you get that product on time.

My department (Packing and Shipping) works as hard as anyone here to make sure our orders get shipped out correctly and efficiently. And I’ll tell you, the best thing I’ve ever seen was around Christmas last year, when we had 32 pages of orders one day. Everyone jumped in to help—people from other departments, people just coming out of their offices to chip in and get the orders out.

Those are the kinds of people who work here—who make your Kromer gear—and they take the same kind of care as you would, if you were making it for yourself. I’m lucky to get to work with them.

Employee Profiles: Kim Heikkila

I drive a pretty mean forklift. Any questions?
- Kim Heikkila, Warehouse Work Lead

KimCUIf you work at Stormy Kromer—if you’re the type of hard-working, good-natured person who comes in every day excited to make the best gear they can—I’m the one who gets you what you need to do it. If you need a hundred yards of wool, I’ll bring it. If you need a spool of thread, I’ll find it. If you need boxes or bindings, I’ll go hunt them down.

I make it possible for people to make Stormy Kromers.

I’ve only been here two years, and I only own two pieces of gear (the Ida Kromer with Hardware and the SK Convertible), but I really enjoy my job and the quality people I work with. They’re great. They’re dedicated. And if you want the best American-made caps and clothing, they’re the people who can get it for you.