L.L.Bean (Maine) : The most successful mail-order business in the United States


(USKings.us) L.L.Bean is an American, privately held retail company founded in 1912 by Leon Leonwood Bean. The company is headquartered where it was founded, in Freeport, Maine. It specializes in clothing and outdoor recreation equipment.

L.L.Bean was founded in 1912 by its namesake, hunter and fisherman Leon Leonwood Bean in Freeport, Maine. The company began as a one-room operation selling a single product, the Maine Hunting Shoe (also known as duck boots). Bean had developed a waterproof boot, which is a combination of lightweight leather uppers and rubber bottoms, that he sold to hunters.

He obtained a list of nonresident Maine hunting license holders, prepared a descriptive mail order circular, set up a shop in his brother's basement in Freeport and started a nationwide mail-order business. By 1912, he was selling the Bean Boot, or Maine Hunting Shoe, through a four-page mail-order catalog, and the boot remains a staple of the company's outdoor image. Defects in the initial design led to 90 percent of the original production run being returned: Bean honored his money-back guarantee, corrected the design, and continued selling them.

The 220,000 sq ft (20,000 m2) L.L.Bean retail store campus in Freeport, Maine is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Leon Leonwood Bean

Since its inception, the company has branched out not only to variations on its boots but to other outdoor equipment such as firearms, backpacks, tents, as well as producing a full line of clothing, which is now its mainstay.

L.L.Bean is a global company sourcing its products from the US and across the globe. In 2016, its Brunswick, Maine factory employed more than 450 people who handmake the company's products such as the Maine Hunting Shoe, L.L.Bean Boot, Boat and Totes, dog beds, leather goods and backpacks.

In 2000, L.L.Bean formed a contract with the Japanese automaker Subaru, making L.L.Bean the official outfitter of Subaru, spawning an L.L.Bean edition Subaru Outback and Subaru Forester for the US market. The L.L.Bean trim levels were top-spec versions, with all available options included as standard equipment. This relationship with Subaru ended June 28, 2008.

In 2010, L.L.Bean created a contemporary sub-brand called L.L.Bean Signature. The Signature line is a modern interpretation of L.L.Bean's previous products with modern fits.

According to wikipedia

Xiang Yun (Collect and Nominate for the U.S. Record) - USKings (Source of photos: internet)

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