Ambler Mountain Works

Ambler Mountain Works

Where: Nelson, BC

Years in Business: 26


Owner: Christian Rawles

Ambler started off as a side project of sewing fleece hats to help supplement the tree planting money through the winter months. Today, Ambler has two product lines released throughout the year. In the fall and winter months we make hand knit wool toques and felt slippers in Nepal and caps and toques in Canada. In the warmer months, Ambler sells hats and t-shirts that are all produced here in Canada.

Give us a brief description of your manufacturing processes and philosophy.

Our priority is to make quality products by working with factories and producers for the long haul. We have been working with the same producers in Nepal and Canada for over 15 years. These long-term relationships allow us to invest in the process and relationships that are vital to making quality products. We guarantee all of our products for life so quality is very high on the priority list.

How many employees and/or contractors do you work with?

Ambler is run out of a home office in Uphill and we have two contractors in Nelson who help with administration and design. We use third party warehouses in BC and in California to fulfill our orders.

What brought you to the Kootenays and how long have you been here?

Ambler was founded in Canmore, AB. The current owner, Christian, was working for Ambler in Canmore. After purchasing the business from the Ambler family Christian and his wife, Jackie, started scoping out new towns to move the business and family to. The plan was to spend 3 months in 3 different towns and make a choice on where to move. Nelson happened to be the first town on the list. After 2 months the decision was made to move permanently and Ambler has been in Nelson ever since. That was in 2013.

Tell us about the history and relative work experience of your founder(s).

Christian was working the typical odd jobs in a mountain town trying to piece it all together. He wanted to start a brand in the outdoor industry and knew that he needed some real world experience working for another company first. Through a mutual friend he was introduced to the owners of Ambler. He wasn’t hired for the job that he applied for but they showed pity and gave him a job in the warehouse. He stuck around and moved his way up the ranks until they finally sold him the business in 2009. Christian then convinced his wife Jackie to leave her teaching job to join the entrepreneurial roller coaster. The two of them have managed to grow the business, raise a family and maintain a healthy marriage throughout all of it. That’s probably the company’s greatest accomplishment to date.

Describe the mission, vision, goals, and aspirations of your company.

We’re a husband and wife team and our two boys help us with design ideas and tireless product testing. We live in Nelson and draw inspiration from our natural surroundings and eclectic mountain community. Though we’re not the original founders of the company, we still carry the same vision that Peter Ambler had when he started Ambler Mountain Works in 1993. We sell ethically made products that encourage people to get out and enjoy life outdoors. But we want to do more than just make nice stuff to sell. We believe that small businesses like ours can make a difference in our local communities and across the globe by the decisions we make and actions we take. We want to make a difference in the lives of the people we work with, from the makers to the wearers and everyone in between.