After pivoting its bike apparel production to make face masks and shields for first responders and medical providers in Western North Carolina, Kitsbow experienced unanticipated engagement from across the U.S., with demand totaling more than 100,000 units in the first week.
Asheville-based neighbor, Industry Nine, offered its expertise in large-scale manufacturing and sourcing of raw materials. In less than two days of working together, the companies found a solution to manufacture 10,000 shields per day.
“We never expected to make personal protective equipment (PPE), but there are a lot of things that none of us ever expected about the current state of affairs,” said David Billstrom, Kitsbow CEO. “We were blown away by the demand and quickly turned to Industry Nine for help. We jumped into this—no paperwork—just putting our heads together and knocking out a better solution and a few design tweaks to make the face shields more manufacturable, in a shorter period of time.”
Industry Nine’s engineering teams have years of robotics and automation experience and were in a position to help Kitsbow with the manufacturing of parts needed to produce PPE shields and assisting supply efforts in combating the virus outbreak. Additionally, the entire Asheville community has come together with Industry Nine who tapped local partners, Oweee Products and Watershed in the manufacturing process.
Due to high demand, Kitsbow is only able to supply PPE to medical providers and first responder agencies on a first-come, first-served basis. See kitsbow.com/collections/medical for more information on the PPE products.
Photo courtesy Kitsbow