Meet Sabrina Hamilton
Written by Burgeon Employee, Megan Johnson
Title: Production Team Leader
Hails from: The Northern White Mountains
Favorite food: Pasta anything!
Go-to author: John Grisham
Preferred ways to move-it outdoors:
Kayaking, biking, and all the nature walks and hikes around her neck of the woods.
Pastimes: Hanging with family, crafting and making, writing, and scoring a good deal.
Past lives: Full-time LNA, Bootmaker
It’s hard to summarize what Sabrina does for Burgeon Outdoor in just a title. As our Lead Stitcher, she fabricates a significant portion of our products herself (I can think of at least five items in my closet right now that have been made by her hands), but she brings so much more to the Burgeon team than the skills of a talented stitcher. She also keeps our in-house production team on schedule with updates and direction, collaborates with the design team, trains and supports new employees, turns around customer repairs in days (or hours), prepares raw materials for assembly, attends off-site events with sewing machine (and production goals!) in tow, and brings her family and homemade goodies to in-store events throughout the year. It’s no exaggeration to say that however long the list of things Sabrina does here, what she means to Burgeon is immeasurable.
A life-long resident of the North Country, Sabrina lives north of Franconia Notch with her children, fiance, and much-loved American Bully. She came to Burgeon nearly three years ago with a background in manufacturing and bootmaking, a creative and disciplined nature, and an appetite for new challenges, and she quickly made herself indispensable to the company by mastering stitching, suggesting some process improvements, and improving production efficiency. Sabrina was relishing some ambitious production goals before the Thanksgiving holiday, so I joined her at the front coverstitch machine to chat about life and livelihoods.
On the path that brought her here…: Sabrina has been a creative and a maker since she could walk and handle materials. In high school, she was a student of the culinary program and learned basic quilting and sewing skills in her Heritage Arts class. She has cross-stitched, made latch-hook rugs, and crocheted, and she continues to cook, bake, and explore any creative pursuit that piques her interest. She currently cuts and engraves the leather patches for our Tuckerman Jackets and Hearthside line! No surprise to say that when Sabrina first visited Burgeon at a friend’s suggestion, she was intrigued by the machines, the in-store studio, and the on-the-job training, and she quickly decided stitching and apparel production were skills she needed to add to her repertoire.…And the things that keep her here: “Working with Rudy side-by-side has been a huge contributor of why I enjoy working here…To be able to see and hear the owner’s enthusiasm every day when
he walks in the door is huge. I do feel that we are a family here…this is my second home,” says Sabrina. She adds that noticing her own growth, seeing the trust that Rudy places in her as a skilled stitcher, and being a valued member of the production team are all part of making Burgeon the place she wants to be. “My voice is heard and taken into consideration and listened to.” Learning a life-long skill, being able to constantly challenge herself, and creating products that she takes pride in are a few more things that make Burgeon a one-of-a-kind place for Sabrina.
On the production process: Sabrina explains that kitting is a critical first step before producing a batch of clothing, because it makes the production process more efficient. “Kitting is organizing the cutwork that comes in by size and color, by men’s and women’s; counting pieces; scanning for fabric flaws and inconsistencies; and putting all the pieces together as individual batches.” She then inkcups (or stamps) pieces with size and wash-and-care tags. “It’s important to know which stamp each item gets,” so she pays close attention to imported versus domestic materials, sizes, right and wrong sides of fabrics, and men’s versus women’s pieces.
And from there to stitching! Sabrina is wired to be learning and doing, and Burgeon has six unique machines to keep her busy with that. Once she learns a skill, though, she can tune in to some music, hone in on her work, and really crank it out.
On learning and challenges: Sabrina’s picked up everything she knows about clothing production from the ground up at Burgeon, and she says she’s learned to give herself a little more credit during her time here. “Every day working here is a challenge, and I like challenges, so each and every day I try to get better, as an individual and for the company. Most days I surprise myself with what I’ve accomplished…Every minute counts, you can do a lot in eight hours.”
Sabrina tackles new skills and troubleshoots unexpected production trials on a regular basis. New fabrics that pull or bunch in the machines, stitches that she wants to perfect for products in development, zippers that won’t cooperate; at the end of the day, all of these seem to be gratifying puzzles to Sabrina, who sets a high bar for herself. “It’s one thing to be able to run a machine, but there’s always tricks and tips that can help you improve…Sometimes you learn on your own, and sometimes you need some teaching and guidance.”
On a new perspective on apparel: Sabrina says her job has absolutely given her an eye for well-made clothing. “I’ve learned to appreciate apparel, I don’t look at clothes the same way since coming to work at Burgeon…Now when I’m purchasing something I either say, ‘Oh, I can make this myself,’ or I’m thinking about what are the possible flaws, or what would I have done differently with this?” She says that seeing people wearing clothing that she knows she’s touched and had a hand in making, and making well, is very satisfying. She’s also learned the ins and outs of outdoor apparel. “Before, I thought, ‘A shirt is a shirt is a shirt,’ but apparently not! I’ve learned about wicking fabrics and all the reasons we use the various materials and techniques we do…The Sunseeker is a great example, there’s an actual purpose when it comes to outdoor clothing.”
Thank you so much for sharing, Sabrina!
Burgeon Outdoor was founded in 2019. Burgeon’s mission is to help mountain communities flourish. Burgeon proudly manufactures premium outdoor apparel in Lincoln and Gorham, NH. By manufacturing locally, Burgeon creates year round jobs in the White Mountains. 5% of Burgeon’s sales support its community and environmental efforts. To learn more, please visit our studio at the Village Shops in Lincoln, our website burgeonoutdoor.com or call us at 603-745-7123.