Ask BCIT Alumni: George Tsogas, CEO and Owner of Kit and Ace

From being a student finishing an industry project to now being the Chief Executive Officer and Owner of a global clothing brand from Vancouver, Kit and Ace, George Tsogas is one of many success stories of a BCIT grad. We had the opportunity to interview this one-of-a-kind leader to learn about his career journey and how he ended up developing his goal and mantra, “Amplify Optimism.”

George finished his Operations Management Diploma at BCIT in 2003. George’s career journey started at lululemon. He first developed a love for the world of leadership development and culture from his vantage point in logistics, with a keen understanding of how the supply chain is key to business success. His drive caught the leadership team’s attention, and he quickly progressed through the ranks, with several promotions throughout his tenure at lululemon. Within 12 years, he became the VP of Global Logistics, overseeing infrastructure.

In 2015, he transitioned his passion for people to Kit and Ace and took the role of Head of Logistics, product management and retail operations. Shortly after, in 2017, he assumed the role of owner and CEO of the technical apparel brand.

Whether it’s leading the vision of Kit and Ace, grabbing coffee with a business student, or sharing his thoughts on a leadership podcast, George Tsogas’ goal to Amplify Optimism is at the core of everything he pursues. With his 20+ years of retail experience, he loves every opportunity to give back and mentor others. Outside of the office, you’ll find George spending time with his wife and two kids, riding his bike, or sharing his leadership advice (and dad jokes!) on LinkedIn.

How did your industry project at BCIT land your first job at Lululemon?

They needed a student project to help out in the start-up businesses’ early stages, and my professor was lucky enough to be placed there. One thing led to another, and lululemon was invited back to work on the team. Almost 13 years later, and after several promotions, I was the VP of Global Logistics for the company. Crazy where one project can lead you…

SEE MORE: BCIT Industry Services: 6 ways organizations can work with BCIT students

What inspired you to become an entrepreneur, and what qualities do you think entrepreneurs should possess or develop?

It was a place of choice for my career and personal life. The independence, creativity, and cultural opportunity of leading my team were too great of an offer to pass up. My mentors had told me I would be a great owner and CEO someday, and it turns out they were right. It requires endless dedication and constant imagination, but it’s been the best decision of my life. The top qualities for entrepreneurs in today’s day and age would be positivity, resilience, communication, and work-life integration.

  • Positivity because being optimistic impacts your team’s vision, customers’ perception and your own mental health
  • Resilience because everything that’s amazing takes more time to build than you expect
  • Communication because you’re responsible for communicating your vision to the team day in and day out. If you can’t do that, your staff will leave.
  • Work-life integration because you also need to know when to stop and have fun or be present with the family/Friends

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What was the most significant learning you’ve gained after becoming the CEO of Kit and Ace?

Culture isn’t built in a day and takes constant focus, experimentation and attracting like-minded leaders to your team that share your values. This has been the most fulfilling yet challenging part of my role that I had to understand in my early days. But once you get it right, you and your team feel unstoppable.

What was the most significant challenge you’ve encountered as a business owner, and how did you overcome that challenge?

Re-branding Kit and Ace to our ideal vision after purchasing the business from the founders. Our team had to do plenty of research, brainstorming, and guest feedback discussions to nail down the new type of customer demographic we wanted to serve. Over time, we have successfully repositioned Kit and Ace from high-end retail to accessible, everyday apparel. We live and breathe optimism in all of our communication, and this has caught the significant attention of our customer base in the best of waves. This has been a 3+ year journey, but I couldn’t be prouder of how our team has rallied and executed.

What best advice can you give BCIT students to graduate and enter the industry?

Take a long approach with your major decisions. You have a 50-year career ahead of you. Warren Buffet is 91 and just held his AGM meeting this week. You have plenty of time. Be patient, be creative, take risks and do the work that no one sees behind the scenes. Eventually, you’ll land in your dream role, and you’ll be in the same spot as me trying to give back as an alumnus. Enjoy the process as much as possible and treat people with kindness at every turn.

Lastly, I encourage students to focus on drafting their 10-year vision and set goals working backwards from their vision focused on Career, Health and personal goals.


Ask BCIT Alumni Series features successful BCIT School of Business + Media grads in their chosen field and industry on BCIT News,  Instagram and LinkedIn. We ask them about their professional journey, share some career advice, and provide insights about their line of work to help guide and inspire fellow BCIT grads and students. Through their unique experience, leadership perspective, and involvement in the community, we provide an avenue to highlight and amplify the messages and stories of our BCIT alumni.

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