Just over a year ago, Chris Sutton launched his own high-quality, American-made jeans company in Over-the-Rhine
called Noble Denim
. With a year under its belt, Noble Denim has found some key partners to help the business expand while continuing its dedication to sustainably made, quality product.
When Soapbox last featured Noble Denim
, the startup was looking to hire three to four employees to boost up production.
“We quickly realized that the average person isn’t able to pick up the craft that easily, but we knew that Chris alone couldn’t keep up with demand,” Abby Sutton, co-founder of Noble Denim, says. Instead, they were able to form a partnership that made the work they do even more meaningful.
“Through a random e-mail, we were connected with a family-run factory in Tennessee that used to make jeans back in the '70s and is just getting back into it,” Abby says. “We met them in May and fell in love. They are incredible craftsman with 40+ years of experience sewing. They are kind and the perfect people for us to work with.”
“Before we met Danny and his team in Tennessee, the vision for Noble Denim had felt very individualistic,” says Chris Sutton. “When we learned that those counties in Tennessee used to be bustling with orders until NAFTA went into effect and caused the massive outsourcing of jobs, it clicked. We realized that it is about a lot more than just me sewing; it is about employing a community and letting them continue to do what they do best.”
With the current partnership, Noble has allowed the family factory to remain one of the few such factories in the heart of America to stay in business, while it frees up the Cincinnati shop to continue focusing on small batches of unique products.
“We really value small business and try to work as local as we can find,” Abby says.
A few more of Noble Denim’s partners include South Paw Prints
(Cincinnati-based), Steamwhistle Press
(Cincinnati-based), Cone Mills
for denim (White Oak, N.C.-based) and more.
“We are proud and grateful of how Cincinnati has embraced us,” Chris says. “In our first year, we sold 95% of our jeans to locals. We’re excited for 2014, when we’ll launch a small line of clothes in addition to the jeans.”
By Mike Sarason