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  1. #1
    Join Date
    25th September 04
    Location
    Victoria, BC, Canada 1123.6536.5321
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    Well folks, it's official

    Last evening, my wife Bobbie and I, met with the owners of "Knotty By Nature" a local fiber artists shop, and we signed the contract for the sale of the building which has been headquarters for Freedom Kilts for the last 12 years.

    I can now announce the next step in the transition of Freedom Kilts. What began with a TV program back in January of 2004 and led to the purchase of a single sewing machine has endured through four retail locations, and growth which can only be described as mind boggling. I never honestly believed that the spark of an idea, of what what I would began to call the Contemporary Kilt, would eventually lead to where we are today.

    On Saturday, the 30th of November 2019, the retail shop and storefront of Freedom Kilts will close.



    We will continue to sell off our current retail stock and inventory. The remaining rental fleet will be sold as ex-hire as our rental reservations trickle back to the shop. Our employees will get to keep the sewing machines, tools, irons and layout tables that they have worked on through the years and they all have found suitable income to continue their lives.

    We have set Saturday, the 28th of September as the last date for ordering a custom made kilt due to the time it takes for fabric to arrive from the UK. This will allow us to finish the current orders and ensure that all our customers receive their kilts.

    We have set Saturday, the 2nd of November as the day that we will close the doors of the retail shop to give us time to clean and prepare the building for the new owners.

    We turn over the keys to the building on Friday, the 29th of November 2019.

    As anyone who has been a sole proprietor of a small business can attest, your time is never your own. Vacations, when you can squeeze them in, become business trips to meet suppliers. Weekends are spent keeping up on building maintenance.

    But to tell the truth I will be 69 years old in January. The old bones don't work quite as well as they did when I was 20. I would like to travel and perhaps re-visit some of those places I have lived or was stationed in the Military. And there are still a lot of places I have not seen yet.
    I will of course continue to make kilts and be a part of the kilt community. I will be able to concentrate on those contracts that I currently have and continue to offer individual, fully custom, Contemporary Style Kilts.
    But I can now make kilts without the worry of keeping all the ties, clan crests, and sporrans in inventory. The bills, insurance, taxes and upkeep associated with a retail shop are no longer a worry.



    X Marks will continue. I have tried over all these years to keep X Marks separate from Freedom Kilts. I think most will agree, despite the predictions of some that X Marks would become an advertising venue for Freedom Kilts, that I have not allowed that to happen.
    X Marks is still the world’s oldest, continuous, largest and most active on-line community dedicated to the kilt. That will not change. What we have all built together is far too important.
    I feel honored to have met many of you. Who would have guessed that a little internet forum would be able to bring so many together over a kilt?





    Over the past 15 years a lot of other projects and ideas have been shelved to keep the retail shop running. I really enjoy cranking custom kilt hose on my circular sock machine and I have gained a bit of a name for myself in the sock machine world. I would like to do a series of teaching videos on these fascinating machines and go into production of the yarn winding machine I developed. And, of course, continue to make custom kilt hose in colors, patterns and styles not available anywhere else.




    If we can find a new venue, Kilt Kamp will continue on those alternate west coast years. If we cannot find a venue for large classes, we will transition to smaller classes or one-on-one mentoring. I have been offering what I call “Mini Kilt Kamps” for one and two people at a time for a while now, and those will continue.




    I have been trying for quite a few years to get my kilt making book "The Hand-Crafted Contemporary Kilt" published and printed. I have been anguishing and fussing over the wording and how to best describe the process in a clear, easily understandable, and repeatable manner. I honestly believe that the changes we have seen in the kilt world, which drove to the development of the Contemporary kilt, deserve to have an explanation of how to construct a great looking, long lasting, and practicable Contemporary Kilt. I also honestly believe that I owe it to the next generation of kiltmakers to pass on what I have learned.





    As Bobbie and I work through this transition and perhaps to begin to learn to enjoy our lives, I would like to thank every one of our customers from the last 15 years for their business and loyalty.
    Last edited by Steve Ashton; 4th July 19 at 01:39 PM.
    Steve Ashton
    www.freedomkilts.com
    Skype (webcam enabled) thewizardofbc
    I wear the kilt because:
    Swish + Swagger = Swoon.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    21st January 17
    Location
    Wiltshire, England
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    Congratulations, well at least in being free from many overheads/worries and being able to enjoy life a little more. I had hoped to visit your shop when holidaying in Canada (just back) but unfortunately Bannf, Jasper, Niagra Toronto and Vancouver island was just too much in 2 weeks. The wife has promised that I can make a separate trip over to the island, so not all is lost.

    Certainly been a busy few years since you opened, hope the joy of "semi retirement" is good to you and your better half.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    7th February 11
    Location
    London, Canada
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    Steve, we've watched you slowly making these changes, and being the same age, and similarly semi-retired, we completely understand.

    You have made, and I know, will continue to make a powerful and lasting contribution to the world of kilts. You have also become a good friend, and that too will last. There is a part of me that mourns, and a large part that celebrates for my friend.

    Congratulations to you and Bobbie, and also to the pup-dog who will have to build new routines. Our best to your staff, and recognition of your kindness and mentorship to them.

    We look forward very much to seeing you again and indeed, there may be more time for that now.

    So proud of you, so pleased for you.

    So much to say about this, but for the meantime, congratulations and well-done. old friend.
    Last edited by Father Bill; 3rd July 19 at 04:50 PM.
    Rev'd Father Bill White: Retired Parish Priest & Elementary Headmaster, lover of God, people (most of them!) dogs, joy, humour & clarity. Legion Padre, theologian, teacher, philosopher, linguist, dreamer, traditionalist, bon-vivant, encourager of hearts & souls & a firm believer in dignity, decency, & duty. A proud Sinclair.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    23rd March 12
    Location
    Reno, Nevada
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    Congratulations and best wishes Steve. My wife and I still hope to make it to Canada in the future, and if you are ever down this direction drop me a line or call I'd gladly buy you a pint.
    "Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.' Benjamin Franklin

  5. #5
    Join Date
    26th December 18
    Location
    Nova Scotia
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    Congratulations Steve!

    I had hoped to make it to your shop at some point when I next make it to the west coast. Looks like that won't happen at this point but you never know!

    All the best in the future and many thanks for all the knowledge you share with the forum!

    Looking forward to the book!

    Shane

  6. #6
    Join Date
    24th July 07
    Location
    Spotsylvania, Virginia USA
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    Steve, I tip my Balmoral as a gesture of appreciation to you for your significant contribution to the kilt and our community of kilt wearers. I sweep it off my head in recognition of this momentous announcement in wishing you and Bobbie all the best in the next big chapter of your lives. I look forward to the day our paths will cross.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    16th January 12
    Location
    Northern Virginia
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    Congratulations, Steve! You have indeed built something special with XMarks. We will look forward to your adventures in the future.

    Holcombe
    Last edited by Holcombe Thomas; 3rd July 19 at 04:36 PM.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    20th May 17
    Location
    NJ
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    Congratulations Steve, always nice when a plan comes together!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    26th August 07
    Location
    Fort Worth, TX
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    Congratulations. Here is to a long and fun filled retirement.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    6th December 11
    Location
    Northern California, USA
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    Thank you for being a great part of the kilting world. Your presence and guidance is appreciated.

    Clan Mackintosh North America / Clan Chattan Association
    Cormack, McIntosh, Gow, Finlayson, Farquar, Waters, Swanson, Ross, Oag, Gilbert, Munro, Turnbough,
    McElroy, McCoy, Mackay, Henderson, Ivester, Castles, Copeland, MacQueen, McCumber, Matheson, Burns,
    Wilson, Campbell, Bartlett, Munro - a few of the ancestral names, mainly from the North-east of Scotland




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