A&F, now L.L. Bean

Discussion in 'Clothing' started by TrespassersWilliam, Nov 7, 2017.

  1. TrespassersWilliam

    TrespassersWilliam Supporter Supporter

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    via Google News:

    http://www.ivy-style.com/lotsa-luck-ll-bean-to-go-global-shed-stodgy-new-england-image.html
     
  2. GKiT

    GKiT Supporter Supporter

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    The company had a great history and customer service but this report doesn’t surprise me. They haven’t sold much that holds any interest to me in about 40 years. More PC garbage is par for the course. I got one of their catalogs in the mail today and couldn’t get it into the trash fast enough.
     
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  3. kairo

    kairo Supporter Supporter

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    I have bean boots and 3 of their backpacks (school type, Maine Warden, and Continental Ruck)

    Bean does make some fine products, but when I need to buy something I never think "Oh, I should check Bean first." That's probably an issue with their marketing and an already crowded marketplace selling the things they sell.
     
  4. mikejd

    mikejd Scout

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    If they had a USA made product in there catalog maybe I would buy something from them.
     
  5. kairo

    kairo Supporter Supporter

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    Bean Boots are still hand stitched in the USA in Maine
     
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  6. wrath0r

    wrath0r Supporter Supporter

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    I actually do. I grew up ordering from the Bean catalog. It was a ritual that my father and I had, looking through that catalog, and we still do it now. I cringed when the L.L. Bean Signature line came out, and I suspect there will be more of that to come.

    But a company needs to evolve to keep alive. I guess we'll see what happens.
     
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  7. kairo

    kairo Supporter Supporter

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    I grew up in Washington State, about as far away from Maine as you can get. Had my folks not been from Pennsylvania / Virginia and my dad always worn his Bean Boots, I probably never even would have heard of them.

    When I grew up, it was all REI, Eddie Bauer, Filson, and Columbia and Patagonia. West vs East I suppose.
     
  8. Riverpirate

    Riverpirate Supporter Supporter

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    I grew up buying and still buy lots of LL Bean products. But I like classics. Their clothes are classics. What I wear today is that same as I wore 30 years ago. Of course the rest of the world likes new fangeled designs and materials. Give me cotton and wool.....alas I am left behind again. I guess I will have to get more modern. But I Dang sure ain’t going Patigonia!
     
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  9. Seacapt.

    Seacapt. Supporter Supporter

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  10. kaywoodie

    kaywoodie Scout

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    One day while working at shop young lady and her dad came in with gun problem. Young lady had on A&F TShirt. I rather tongue in cheek mentioned to her "I remember when they sold guns!" Her dad busted out laughing at the look on her face!!
     
  11. Seacapt.

    Seacapt. Supporter Supporter

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    If you still want USA made classic Northwoods clothing where Bean's left off several years ago you'll have to go to or Google (for mail order) Johnson's Woolens Mills of Vermont.
     
  12. NJStricker

    NJStricker Supporter Supporter

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    Back in the 1990's there were a lot of independent outdoor equipment companies--MSR, Moss, North Face, etc.--that were gobbled up by a couple big corporations that were trying to dominate the outdoors market. The lifetime warranties that the independent companies had offered were the first to go, as well as product quality.

    It's sad to see, but traditional outdoors recreation as we and our fathers knew it is dying. Sometimes I wonder if the Cabelas family knew that and got out while they could.
     
  13. Riverpirate

    Riverpirate Supporter Supporter

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    I guess the good thing is I only got 15 good years left...maybe.
     
  14. TrespassersWilliam

    TrespassersWilliam Supporter Supporter

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    Nice! The L.L. Bean in Freeport, Maine is still selling guns... for who knows how much longer.
     
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  15. RobbieinME

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    The Freeport store only sells PC long guns, no handguns.
     
  16. Lichen

    Lichen Supporter Supporter

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    I still order all of my jeans and flannel shirts from L.L. Bean.
     
  17. longhunter

    longhunter Northman Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    :dblthumb::dblthumb::dblthumb:
     
  18. highlander

    highlander Supporter Supporter

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    I’ve dodged A&F because of their smuggieness. I had a friend of mine, she was curvy in a good way, get ran out of an A&F store “because we don’t cater to your size here.” Kinda odd because she was wearing A&F pants...
    I guess LLBean has entered the smug as well.
     
  19. Spinymouse

    Spinymouse Tracker

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    LOL! Most of my clothes come from LL Bean.

    If Bean really does take their product lines further into the mass market, it will just make more room for the small cottage manufacturers to make and sell us excellent stuff.

    Yes, it's sad to see Bean go the way they've been going. But, I'm looking at my EWCC Snowshoe Hare and thinking that if Bean made comparable products nowadays, there's no way EWCC could exist. Or the excellent UGQ hammock quilts I have piled up next to me here. The devolution of A&F, North Face, Bean, etc into mass market retail companies does have a silver lining in that it makes room for small and nimble companies that can cater to our unique and specialized tastes.
     
  20. Spinymouse

    Spinymouse Tracker

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    Oh, and I'm proud to say I'm a stodgy New Englander. That's not something I would care to shed.
     
  21. Riverpirate

    Riverpirate Supporter Supporter

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    FYI LL Bean has a 25% off sale today. I just ordered a few things.
     
  22. PMSteve

    PMSteve Old Timey Outdoorsman Supporter

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    Does anyone besides me miss Herter's Catalogs?

    Steve
     
  23. JasonJ

    JasonJ Scout

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    That is/would have been grounds for a glorious lawsuit. They've been taken to court over such discriminatory practices before as well.
     
  24. highlander

    highlander Supporter Supporter

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    This was about the same time period @JasonJ . My friend asked to speak to the manager that particular day. The manager came out, apologized profusely, and offered to help her find the jeans she was looking for. The mgr. then gave her a healthy discount. My friend said the next time she went in there...the snooty little princess salesperson was not there.
     
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  25. Swampyankee101

    Swampyankee101 Scout

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    They should have stayed a more local brand. I looked for some wool items they had sold for years, and now its not listed. Even Orvis reels are now made in China. Just have to look for more local products. 21st century is not turning out well.
     
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  26. LFowler

    LFowler Tracker

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    Not their fault, if no one wants to spend the money to buy quality then companies will stop selling it, plain and simple.


    A&F (and Banana Republic) are a bit of a different case as they were purchased outright and did a complete change, only using the name; LL Bean is simply changing with the times. While some people would rather they just went out of business then change I'm sure the folks working there feel differently.
     
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  27. GreyOne

    GreyOne Elder Lifetime Supporter

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    There is a trend in business that I have seen. Many companies start with expertise in selling outdoor goods. A&F, LLB, Cullum and Boren, even Sears and Montgomery Ward. Over time they move away from the hard goods and away from the practical clothing, going into more clothing /soft goods and more into seasonal and stylish,trendy goods. The soft goods carry much higher markups than hard goods, so clearly they should be more profitable, right?

    Then the company, having lost its original identity, ends up slowly drifting into bankruptcy and often ends up sold simply for the company name and whatever recognition or reputation it still has.
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2017
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  28. wizard

    wizard Guide

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    One of my favorite jackets is an LL Bean Gore-Tex shell in olive drab. I paid $300 for it and wished I had bought 2 of them. I went back a year or so later to buy another and they no longer carried OD, just bright blue and some other bright color. There has been a trend away from practical for quite awhile.

    Eddie Bauer went from real outdoors practical to trendy lumber sexual crap decades ago and now they are trying to market to climbers, backpackers and woodsman but use cutesy models and BS settings to advertise their goods. Fail.

    Retail marketing is getting much tougher. especially with all the online sellers that offer lower prices, mostly because they have less overhead for retail space. The ones that surprise me are Bass Pro Shop and Cabela's. Both have large stores, lots of overhead costs and they manage to stay afloat. I have noted a decline in quality of some Cabela's items that I once bought regularly. They seem to find cheaper suppliers but the quality has suffered. I haven't bought from them for quite a few years now.

    I hate to see LL Bean going away from the high quality items that made their company, they could always be counted on for quality at a fair price. Sign of the times I reckon.
     
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