Oowee® Products in Asheville Making A Difference

Article from “The Spectrum” | Vol. 31 No.2 | Summer 2015

The integration of individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder into workplaces with typical peers enables them to build relationships outside their immediate families and circle of support and to develop a sense of greater connection to the community in which they live. Recently, one of the Autism Society of North Carolina’s longtime partners, Oowee Products in Asheville, successfully transitioned its employees with ASD to on-site workers, making an even bigger difference in their lives.

Gabriel Hargett founded Oowee in 2009 with a mission to produce quality goods that were responsibly manufactured and sustainable in the United States. Oowee makes beverage accessories out of wood,
metal, and leather that can be branded with companies’ logos or an image of choice.

By 2011, demand had picked up for the company’s first product, the leather pint-glass sleeve, and Hargett began looking for employees to help with production. He was strongly committed to providing employment for individuals who were differently abled and recognized that Oowee’s manufacturing process involved very structured tasks, making it a good employment opportunity for those individuals.

In the Autism Society of North Carolina, Hargett found a collaborative partner with a mutual mission to provide meaningful work opportunities to people who often have limited options. ASNC joined with Hargett in his efforts to ensure that the production systems that were created by the company were accessible and understandable to all employees he would hire, including those with ASD.

For a few years, Hargett contracted with several individuals with ASD to make the products off-site. These employees learned all facets of producing the leather beverage sleeves including sewing, sorting, matching, and branding the leather, as well as labeling, packaging, and tagging the finished products. Hargett was extremely pleased with the results of the work and was thrilled that his company was not only manufacturing in the USA, but was “doing it in a way that was providing job skills and employment opportunities for individuals in need.”As demand for Oowee’s products increased and the company continued to grow, ASNC and Hargett began to focus their mutual efforts on greater integration for his workers with ASD. Together, they set a goal of transitioning them from doing the work off-site, to the space in the Oowee warehouse with their typical peers.While the benefits of integration were the ultimate focus, there were initial concerns that the transition of all employees to the Oowee warehouse would be too difficult for some of the individuals with ASD or that the unique needs of its diverse employees would not be able to be met. But Hargett’s collaboration with ASNC to identify and make needed – and often minor – accommodations resulted in a highly successful transition. As of this spring, all employees are working within his warehouse, including four individuals with autism. The transition for these employees to a fully integrated work site is a wonderful example of how individuals with ASD can be valuable members of the workforce and greater community when others recognize and value the contributions that they are ready and able to make.

Oowee is continuously improving its work environment and processes to make production more efficient and easier for its employees. Hargett is also a strong advocate for a fair and livable wage for all of his employees.

“In my opinion, our employees on the spectrum do a better job completing the task asked of them than most other individuals,” Hargett said. “I enjoy working with our employees on the spectrum and the Autism Society and hope to continue to grow and employ more individuals with autism in the future.”

ASNC is extremely thankful for the partnership we have had with Oowee and the model they have provided for other employers. “Individuals with disabilities, including ASD, experience less turnover than non-disabled individuals, allow access to numerous tax incentives, and return an average of $28.69 for each dollar invested in accommodations,” said David Ingram, ASNC Employment Supports Director. “With individuals with disabilities and their networks representing a $3 trillion market segment, and 87% of customers preferring to patronize businesses hiring employees with disabilities, I’m excited to see businesses starting to understand, integrate their workforce more, and contact us seeking support in placing someone with ASD with their corporation.”


Oowee Products – Employing Individuals with Autism

Oowee Products – Employing Individuals with Autism

Oowee and Bloom Community Helping people with IDD

Oowee and Bloom Community Helping people with IDD

Sales and Business Development Job Opportunity

Oowee Products — Is a rapidly growing, small business that is seeking a Sales/ Business Development Representative. This is an in-house position working out of our North Asheville office. 

We will be reviewing and responding to all applications after 2-15-17.

Job Description

Position: Sales/Business development representative
Hours: Full-time 30-35 hours per week with some week and weekend and overnight travel.
Compensation: Hourly plus commission
Requirements: 2 years of sales and marketing experience. Must have a good attitude and strong understanding of how to establish new business relationships.
Responsibilities: To be an integral & dependable part of Oowee Products interactive sales and marketing team. Managing and maintaining wholesale accounts and identifying new business opportunities. Must be organized and comfortable with reaching out to new clients as well as maintaining established accounts. Previous experience with customer relations management software a plus. Tracking, assessment and continuous modification of all communication efforts based on level of success, engagement and outcomes are important aspects of this position. Ability to multitask and work around interruptions is imperative.

Skills & Knowledge Required:
• Must enjoy drinking craft beer and have interest in the beer and beverage industry.
• Good attitude and positive outlook
• Proficient at implementing and managing marketing strategy
• Use of CRM ( customer relations management software )
• Must understand and have experience with the sales process
• Digital asset management
• Social media development engagement on Facebook , Instagram, Twitter and Blog pages
• Adobe Creative Suite — Photoshop and Illustrator ( not required but a plus )

• Propel growth of Oowee Products.
• Expand wholesale distribution of our products
• Assist in the development of new markets
• Help facilitate trade show and festival marketing
• Increase philanthropy and awareness regarding how we manufacture our products with the Autism Spectrum Community .

Office Environment: We have a positive and casual work environment.

For more detailed information about Oowee, our products, partners and values, please have a look at our website https://www.ooweeproducts.com/

If you think you could contribute something positive to help our growing company, send us your resume and a brief cover letter explaining why you would be the perfect new Oowee team member!
We will be reviewing and responding to all applications after 2-15-17.
email: ooweeproducts @ Gmail.com

Gabriel Hargett

Pendleton Directors’ Reserve 20 Year Aged – Custom Label Manufacturing

Finished Penleton Label Presentation (Photo by Erickson Design, Co.)

Oowee ® Products is the proud manufacturer of the 2017 Pendleton Whiskey Directors’ Reserve leather bottle label. We worked with Hood River Distilling and Erickson Design to create these custom bottle wraps.  The original label design was handcrafted by third-generation saddle maker Randy Severe.

Pendleton Label Front Detailed (Photo by Erickson Design, Co.)

Stitching Pattern Detail (Photo by Erickson Design, Co.)









Contact Oowee Products for more information about our custom leather label / bottle wrap manufacturing.

Contact Gabriel at OoweeProducts (at) gmail.com

Pendleton Whisky – Directors’ Reserve from Corey Adams on Vimeo.


Labor Day Sale

Group on a Mountain off the cutIn honor of Labor Day, we are taking the day off. That means there is an extra day of discounts! Order online this weekend and take advantage of our sale. This weekend only, you will receive 15% off plus free shipping.

Start shopping for the holidays, or accessorize you house or next event. We have an Oowee that is just waiting for you.


Job Opportunity: Production

Oowee Products – Job Opportunity !!Clips of the new Warehouse for the Oowee Products crew.

Join a rapidly growing, small business that is seeking a Production Tech. This is an in-house position in our north Asheville shop.
Job Description-
Position: Production tech – hourly
Hours: Full-time 30-35 hours per week.

Responsibilities: are to be an integral & dependable part of Oowee Products production team and to assist in the production of leather products. Sorting, cutting, branding, riveting, sewing leather.
Ability to multitask and work around interruptions is imperative.
Skills & Knowledge Required: We will teach you all about leather. No previous leather working skills required, just a positive attitude and willingness to learn.
• Positive attitude
• Hand eye coordination
• Organizational skills
• Must have an understanding of craftsmanship
• Ability to lift 60 LBS
Work Environment: We have a positive and casual work environment. Shop / production environment that has regular loud noises and dogs.
For more detailed information about Oowee, our products, partners and values, please have a look at our website https://www.ooweeproducts.com/
If you think you could contribute something positive to our growing company, please send your resume and a brief cover letter, explaining why you would be the perfect new Oowee team member!
Email Resume to Gabriel at OoweeProducts@gmail.com

Limited Edition Pumpkin Pedaller Coozys

The Pumpkin Pedaller is a fundraiser held each year to sponsor Asheville on Bikes. For 2015, Asheville on Bikes wanted to celebrate in style, so they are having a huge Halloween Bash at New Mountain AVL. Get dressed up, join the ride and then join the party!

Get the party details here!

2015 Pumpkin Pedaller Group


Pre-order your Limited Edition Pumpkin Pedaller Oowee Leather Sleeves now!    No Longer Available

Pick up your order Saturday October 31st at New Mountain between 5pm – 8pm.

leather pint glass sleeve with lanyard

Fall Product Release at French Broad Brew Fest!

FBBF 2015 Pint Sleeve

Oowee branded leather pint glass sleeve with detachable lanyard holder.

For the previous four years, Oowee had sponsored the French Broad Brew Fest (Fall Festival) by releasing a new product at each event. Oowee has offered festival guests the first look at our new products. In years past we have revealed our full color metal badge sleeves, double-stitched pint sleeve, stainless steel pint sleeve, mason jar sleeves and now this year we are proud to announce the new Oowee Pint with Lanyard necklace.

The Oowee lanyard makes it easy to go hands free around the festival. Your beer goes where you go, no setting it down and walking away. Best of all, this lanyard fits on ANY Oowee® leather hugger. This is a must have for you craft beer lovers and festival goers.

Leather Pint Combo

Leather pint glass sleeve with lanyard necklace holder

The lanyard-pint combo will be exclusively released this weekend at the French Broad Brew Fest in Hot Springs, NC. Come out for good music, good beer, and great leather products!!!

FBFF2015_PintLanyard-3 FBFF2015_PintLanyard-4


While doing some research today, I stumbled across this wonderful non-profit organization, Lance’s Brewery Tour.  I am so impressed with the supporters and community that surrounds this organization and the message they are sending, #BeerAutismHope. After four years of working in partnership with the Autism Society of North Carolina, this makes me so happy to see how many people are rallying support for Autism Awareness.

If it took nearly forty years for your dream to come true, would you give up? Now in his mid-fifties, Lance Rice is a gifted beer historian with a photographic memory. For nearly forty years Lance has used his computer-like mind to memorize a staggering amount of knowledge in beer and brewery history. Yet even more astonishing is the fact that Lance has never been able to share his passion with the world… Lance has autism.

The #BeerAutismHope movement began one year ago this month when Lance Rice, a 56 year-old beer historian with a photographic memory and autism,  left home on his own for the first time to fulfill his dream, inspire the world and give back to the autism community. Lance’s journey is a miracle that continues to astonish and inspire the autism world and beyond and his message is simple: never lose hope!

Since the #BeerAutismHope journey began Lance has traveled 25,000 miles, met the most influential people in American brewing, spoke at autism schools and centers for the disabled, talked to families touched by autism and taken countless TV, radio and news interviews across the country – and all this from a man who was once afraid to speak or leave his own home.