Kentucky Clothing Line Aims To Shine Positive Light on Appalachia

MOREHEAD, Ky. — With $200 and a laptop, brothers Jared and Joshua Ravenscraft turned an idea into the clothing line New Frontier Outfitters. The company has a store in Morehead, Kentucky and ships orders internationally, and there are more plans for 2020.

“We gathered that $200 for being janitors at a local high school,” Co-founder Joshua Ravenscraft said.

With no background in the industry, the two brothers have taken their clothing line to a place far from where it started, selling vintage-looking trucker hats out of a jeep selling in their hometown of Morehead.

“We wanted to build an outdoor brand here in Eastern Kentucky, which represents the Appalachian region and encompasses all the good things here in this region,” Ravenscraft said.

“They were selling them like crazy,” said Hayden Pratt, who was an initial customer. “And I was like can you hook me up? He was like, ‘I will just deliver it straight to you,” Pratt said. So he bought one of the vintage trucker hats at a local gas station.

Ravenscraft, who was a senior in high school when New Frontier Outfitters started, said that Channing Tatum was an early customer when the company was still out of a garage.

Through word-of-mouth and social media, the brand grew. In 2018, the brothers opened a store on Morehead’s Main Street, and where Ravenscraft usually works behind-the-counter. He doesn’t just ring up customers, but he also fills orders. He said 20 percent of New Frontier’s business is in-store, while the other 80-percent is online.

“I mean I’m a co-founder and co-owner but I play all roles,” the 23-year-old said. He even said he cleans the bathroom in the back.

From 2018 to 2019, Ravenscraft said online sales grew 835 percent, and its e-commerce business hits at the core of what impact the company wants to have.

“I think about all the good people, and the hard-working people in our state, Eastern Kentucky, the Appalachia region, and people who don’t have the opportunity to step out and express their selves, if we can be a small part in shining a good light back on this area, then we’re gonna do it,” Ravenscraft said.

Beyond the U.S., New Frontier also ships to 27 countries, which won the brothers an International Trade Award from the Kentucky World Trade Center in 2019

“So you know each online order that ships out, they get the package and it says, Morehead, Kentucky. You know, so it’s cool for Morehead, and it’s cool for Kentucky. So all good things coming from us,” Ravenscraft told Spectrum News 1.

For 2020, the brothers have big plans for their clothing line. Ravenscraft said one of them is to become an entirely sustainable, eco-friendly brand. The company already takes some measures, such as solar panels at the store and some beanies made from recycled wool. In 2020, they want to take it a step further and make products from recycled water bottles and other recycled materials. Ravenscraft also said 51 percent of their products are made in the United States, but the goal is 100 percent in 2020 to be more sustainable.

Every online order comes with a handwritten note to show customers that this is about more than just selling clothes.

“Let them know it’s more than just making an order and buying stuff. It’s not about the product. It’s about the people, and it’s about building a culture around the brand, and the community more so,” Ravenscraft explained.

A big reason why three years after New Frontier Outfitters started, Pratt keeps coming back.

“When you walk in this place, they don’t treat you like a customer, they treat you more like family.”

The store is located at 139 E Main Street in Morehead or you can see what New Frontier Outfitters is up to on their website and social media.