More than great products – great people

 

Six years ago Narrow Gate had a crazy idea.  We were a local non-profit focused on discipleship of young men ages 18-25 and God was definitely at work in these young men creating life-long transformation.  As these young men graduated from their 8-month discipleship experience at Narrow Gate Lodge, many chose to go back to college…some chose to pursue ministry tracks…but the majority of our graduates decide their next step is to get a JOB.  You see, going to work is a privilege.  It’s a part of our design to be productive humans…and contributing to society is noble and essential if we are going to improve our world. So, we decided to launch a business where we could employ graduates who wanted to pursue WORK as their ‘next step’. Because we offered basic woodshop and leathershop skills during the NG Lodge experience, it made sense to create a business centered around wood and leather.  So, in 2014, we launched Narrow Gate Artisans…that business has grown, matured, morphed and even changed names to Narrow Gate Trading Co.  That business has also employed over 45 NG graduates and helped them transition from their time at NG Lodge into their next grand adventure.  Young men who work at our business are not just there to ‘make a buck’…they are there to learn how to express their faith while at work.  They are there to learn how to ‘walk out the Christian life’ in the context of business, products, deadlines, stress, challenges, etc.  As more and more young men came to work at the business, there were a few who saw this business as their ‘calling’ and wanted to stay put, learn more and grow the business and its impact on people’s lives.  Today, we have young men like Kenny Bowling, Blake Smith & Marty Coleman who are leaders in the company and are setting the example of what it looks like to disciple people in business.  As the Business Manager for TN Box Beams (a successful product line of NG Artisans), Kenny is responsible for new product development.  He is constantly developing deep relationships with builders all over the country…meeting their needs and learning about NEW needs they may have.  As he hears about the new needs of builders, he collaborates with the Woodshop Supervisor, Marty Coleman on how our company can meet the new needs of our customers.  One way we’ve recently discovered is to begin building Drawer Stacks.  These high-quality Drawer Stacks are used by homebuilders for closet design and build-out.  We can produce a higher quality product at a comparable price so it’s a Win-Win for our customers….

 

Kenny & Marty worked together to design the product and our Artisan Education Team came out to develop a manufacturing process that made production efficient with consistent high-quality results.  

 

In our leather department, new products are being launched and designed by our Leathershop Supervisor, Blake Smith.  His eye for design and complete commitment to quality shows up in all that he and his team create.  Many of our customers have asked about leather wallets and Blake and his team are working on designs but the process takes time.  Blake uses this opportunity to share with his team the importance of trying new things, letting ‘set-backs’ teach us how to move forward and not to rush the process but to embrace the journey of the process realizing that growth is happening each and every moment 

 

The young men who work at Narrow Gate Artisans not only build products but are building people.  They are learning skills way beyond working with wood and leather.  They are learning problem-solving, they are learning how to launch and market and price new products.  They are learning how failure is just an opportunity to learn and try again.  And, they are leaning how to love and serve one another (and every customer) each and every day.


Our business may sell great products – but our goal is to create an environment where young men can become great people!  When you purchase our products you help support our mission and enable us to continue to impact lives for good! 

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