Tag Archives: made in usa

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.

Stormy Kromer – Made in USA Gift Guide

‘Tis the season for giving! Stormy Kromer has the perfect item for everyone on your list this year.

For the Classic Guy: The Original Stormy Kromer Cap
It’s called the Original for a reason – this classic cap was created by Stormy and Ida over 100 years ago, and it’s still keeping heads warm with its iconic style.

Original Kromer Cap in Red/Black Plaid

For the Stylish Gal: The Button-Up
Our best-selling new product for good reason. The Button-Up takes our Ida Kromer design, moves the earband off center and replaces the tie with an oversized button. Still functional, but fabulous too.

Button Up Cap in Aurora

For the Commuter: The Tagalong
No matter where you’re headed every morning, The Tagalong carries your laptop or tablet safely and in style. In rugged waxed cotton or premium wool.

The Tagalong Laptop Bag

For the Outdoorsperson: Tough Mitts and Ida’s Mittens
Featuring our rugged wool/nylon blend and all-natural deerskin, the Tough Mitts and Ida’s Mittens are the ultimate handwarmers for winter’s worst.

Tough Mitts Idas Mittens

For the Booklover: The Cabin Blanket
Who wouldn’t want to curl up on the couch with a nice warm blanket and a great book? You could easily spend all day wrapped up in The Cabin Blanket’s fleece and flannel and the next must-read trilogy.

Cabin Blanket in Red Cedar

Why American Made?

We’d like to introduce you to Alan Svoboda. As our Lead Designer, Alan brings us the initial concepts and sketches for our new products each season. His resume includes companies like J Crew and Target, but his real passion is American-made brands. Today, he talks about why American made matters to him – and why it should to you this holiday season.

alansquareOne of my favorite things about buying American made products is the quality.  From first sight, to first touch, you can see and feel the difference immediately.   Growing up, like most, I never gave a second thought about where my garments were produced.  It wasn’t until I began shopping at thrift stores for vintage clothing that I began to take notice of the superiority American made products exude.  Here were 70 year old garments, designed to be used under very grueling circumstances, and they were still in great shape.  It was seeing these pieces of history that made me realize the importance of our American manufacturing traditions, and all the stories each one of these garments has to tell.  You see it’s not about the products keeping up with the latest “trend”; it’s about the product keeping up with our demanding lifestyles.  A piece of apparel that’s an investment, not because it cost more than something you would buy from a big-box store, but because it’s something you will wear for the rest of your life.

Here at Stormy Kromer we design apparel and accessories with you in mind.  Made like you, by people like you.  Outfitting our customers with products designed with a classic style, made from the highest quality materials, and manufactured in America by real people who care about the products they produce.  Our garments are up to the task, and now it’s up to you to write your story.  So spread the American made message this holiday season, and let’s raise the tide together.  After all, quality is the gift that keeps on giving.

Employee Profiles: Dennis ‘Mac’ McRae

Every day on the job is the best day on the job.
- Dennis ‘Mac’ McRae, Purchasing Director

MacCUOkay, I know how that sounds, but for the most part, every day here is great. I work with hardworking, dedicated people, and the company is growing, changing, expanding, and that keeps me coming back.

What do I do here? I’m responsible for sourcing and purchasing the raw goods our gear is made from: the best wools, cottons and other fabrics from all over the world. And for 34 years, I’ve been proud to help keep the team working by keeping up with the growing demands for those raw goods.

I’ve got ten Kromers of my own (my favorite of which is the waxed cotton cap), and I guess what I want to say to other Kromer fans is thank you. Thanks for helping keep a legend alive and growing. Thanks for supporting Made in the USA.

Stormy Stories, Volume 2

Welcome to our next Stormy Stories post. In this series we’ll celebrate the unique, rugged, down-to-earth and genuine people we’re proud to call our customers.

We found Randee the very first year we put out a call on Facebook for models, and she returned to work with us again this year. Randee reminds us a lot of the people here in Ironwood: a small-town, northern Minnesota girl who savors life and all the adventures it brings. She owns her own photography business, Made For You Photography, and when she’s not working she’s usually out shooting trap, hunting, snowmobiling or fishing with her family. Did we mention she also works part-time at a store that sells Kromer products?

randee1Here’s some more about Randee from a recent conversation we had about her connection to Stormy Kromer:

SK: How did you come to know about Stormy Kromer?

RD: As a proud fourth generation Kromer wearer, I’ve known about the caps my whole life. When I finally managed to get a cap of my own, it was the Ida Kromer Cap in Pink. I love that hat. And even though I’ve added on to my collection since then, I still wear it often.

SK: Well, since you brought it up, what’s in your Stormy Kromer collection today?

RD: Counting my most recent purchase just a week or so ago, I’ve got six caps, two pair of mittens, a coat and the new Parkland Vest. But my favorite item is the white and raspberry Petal Pusher. It gives me such easy, warm, adorable style. And while I’ve got a few friends who still think “Elmer Fudd” when I mention Kromer, I think I prove them wrong with this cap.

randee3SK: You’re definitely an outdoorsy kind of gal. What’s your most memorable outside moment?

RD: While I’ve had a lot of fabulous experiences, one of the most memorable would have to be when I shot my first deer. I’ll never forget it – I was four months pregnant with my son at the time! My husband was with me, and almost cried he was so excited for me. And of course, my Stormy Kromer was with me too.

SK: You’ve been on two different photo shoots with us now. Is there a moment during a shoot that stands out?

RD: Things got just a little crazy at the shoot this past March. The photographer, the amazing Mitch Kezar, got the idea to shoot a bunch of us from overhead while we were playing cards. To do this, he had to climb up a gazebo and then lay down on top of it, shooting down at us. He had it in his head he could get a great shot and he made it happen!

randeegroupSK: What’s your favorite Stormy Kromer story?

RD: It’s not so much a story but I love the bond you form with other Kromer wearers. When you see someone wearing a cap, you know you can walk right up to them, start a conversation, and most likely, make a new friend. This has happened to me time and time again.

SK: Our new tagline is Made Like You. What does that mean to you?

RD: It means that you are doing it right. Making things that are real, with high standards of quality and service, all the while giving American citizens jobs. Sadly, you don’t see all of those things in one place much anymore.

randee2

Employee Profiles: Barb Wilman

I’ve made over half a million hats; I’m still here and counting.
Barb Wilman, Sewing Machine Operator

BarbCUMy job at Stormy Kromer just sort of fell in my lap. I’ve been here for over 20 years now and I’m proud of the work I do. We’re all proud to be here and happy to do what we do. For me, that’s 300-400 hats a day for the last five years on the Kromer line—I’m thankful for the God-given talent of being able to sew anything on any line. So when help is needed, I’m there!

The hat, vest or bag you’re holding right now was made right here. Made in America. That makes me proud, too. Honestly, it reminds me of childhood, when my mom sewed some of our clothes. You knew it was made with love and that it was going to last. That’s what you’re getting here, and when we say “Made like you,” we’re talking about being sturdy and long-lasting.

We are a tough breed here in Michigan’s U.P., and we’re proud to be caretakers of the Kromer legend.

Handmade by Him: Jim Berton, the man behind the pictures.

Up next in our series of employee features is Jim Berton – our resident photography/graphics/technology expert who loves learning new skills and putting them to use at Stormy Kromer.

SK: What do you do at Stormy Kromer?
JB: I wear a lot of hats. Really.

SK: Nice pun.
JB: Thank you. Truly, I learned to do what needs to be done. They needed a product photographer, so I’m the product photographer. I also digitize the embroidery for the logos on the custom hats and other products. I went to school for digitizing, so I’m trained in that, and I’ve got a pretty good background in graphics. I guess I’d say my day is split between embroidery, graphics and photography.

SK: How did you get the job?
JB: I was a plant manager for Modern Case Company in Bessemer, making cases for musical instruments. We had one of the first computerized cutting machines in the area, and when Bob (Jacquart, owner of Stormy Kromer) toured the plant to check out that machine, that’s when we met. When he bought his new cutting machine, he hired me to run it. He hired my wife, too.

SK: Your wife works here?
JB: She does, and we started on the same day. May 5th, eleven years ago.

SK: What have you learned in all that time?
JB: I learn something every day. I have to, or I can’t go to bed at night. Really, I’ll stay up until I learn something new. And I never tell anyone I don’t know how to do something—if they give me one day, I’ll know how to do it tomorrow.

SK: What do you think of the new lines of apparel?
JB: Things here just keep getting better and better and better. And the new gear is just a knockout. I shoot the pictures, and I say to myself, “Man, is this really made here?” I can’t wait to see what they come out with next.

SK: So you like it?
JB: We went from the “old man hat” to the “everyman hat,” and the things we’ve done since Gina (Thorsen, VP of Marketing & Sales) started, well, the sky’s the limit. As a matter of fact, my wife and I always planned to move back to Ohio someday, but because of the positive direction this company is going in, we’re going to stay up here ‘til we die.

SK: How many pieces of Kromer gear do you own?
JB: None, sorry. I’m the weird guy who wears shorts 12 months a year—even when snowblowing—so this warm clothing is just too much for me. I buy it all the time for family and friends, though.

SK: What does “Made in America” mean to you?
JB: It says it all. When I see people working here and putting out a product they’re proud to make, it just says it all.

SK: Anything else you want to say to Kromer fans?
JB: There are only two kinds of people in the world: The ones who get to work here and the ones who wished they work here!

Handmade by Him: Dan Pavlovich, dreaming of plaid.

Up next in our series of employee features is Dan Pavlovich – a longtime employee who grew up with Bob Jacquart, and now plays a key role in product design and development.

Stormy Kromer DesignSK: What do you do at Stormy Kromer?
DP:
Wow, what haven’t I done? I started at the front desk with Bob’s mom (Bob Jacquart, the head honcho here at Kromer). I’d sit there with a sewing machine and a telephone—greeting customers, laying out patterns, sewing and answering calls. I graduated to R&D, so now I work with the prototypes and new designs.

SK: So what sorts of things have you designed?
DP:
Oh, I’ve worked on a little bit of everything, but I did the tote bag, messenger bag, overnight bags and developed the plaids for the shirts.

SK: You came up with plaid? How do you come up with plaid?
DP:
I’ll just say you need a critical and artistic eye.

SK: How long have you worked for Bob?
DP:
I’ve been here since the old store on McLeod Avenue, which started out as Bob’s grandfather’s grocery store. It’s been 25 years for me, but I’ve known Bob since I was little. He lived one backyard away.

SK: Is that how you got the job?
DP:
Well, I went to college and got into costume design, then got out of it because I knew I wouldn’t be able to survive on that. Bob knew I could sew, though, so he hired me.

SK: Does costume design influence what you do today?
DP:
All the skills I have I learned in the theater in college. Sewing, colors, design—all of it. I did it all by hand and still do. I think that’s the best way to design—you really get a feel for what you’re making.

SK: How does it feel to know you’re helping stitch together a legend?
DP:
I really enjoy that. Everybody here has a hand in it, and no one has an ego. I’m very proud that we’re making people happy.

SK: What’s the best day you’ve had on the job?
DP:
Every day is my best day! (laughs) There’s truth in that, though. I really enjoy coming here. I won’t say that I don’t like leaving at the end of the day, but I love my job.

SK: What does “Made in America” mean to you?
DP:
It means we’re bucking the trend of making a fast buck.

SK: Anything else you’d like to tell Stormy Kromer fans?
DP:
Keep shopping! And just wait until you see the great gear that’s coming out next!