The founder of the company was a 40 year old man name Leon Leonwood Bean from Maine. Leon was orphaned at the age of 12, which is when he began to develop his entrepreneurial skills by selling soap door-to-door. Although he was a great salesman he was never satisfied in what he was doing. Something he did love doing was fishing and hunting. That love carried on to the development of the most popular products in American retailing today.
Bean had a problem with hiking with waterlogged boots like many outdoorsmen in the early 1900s. In 1912 he decided to add on to a pair of ordinary rubber boots by adding leather tops. Then he sought the services of a local shoemaker and after several pairs of boots had been sewed together he entitled it “The Maine Hunting Shoe”. It was a direct mail advertising, which he priced at $3.50 per pair and offered a money-back guarantee. Although Bean had remarkable marketing skills, his shoe was not so remarkable. Out of the 100 pairs of his Maine Hunting Shoes, 90 were returned due to the top of the shoe separating from the bottom. Bean burrowed $400 to redesign his boots and made his money-back guarantee promise which is still a guarantee till this day at L.L. Bean incorporation. Later his small company grew, and customers spread the word of L.L. Bean’s fine service and quality.
Off his success he began to double his boot making efforts and made efforts to expand his marketing into other states. Bean knew hunters from other states would come through Freeport at night to some hunting camp in the far wilds. He opened his business for 24 hours a day and night customers rung a doorbell and read a sign that said “push once a minute until clerk appears”. Within two years sales rose to 135,000 annually and two years after that he had a full-sized catalog mailed, featuring sporting gear. In 1927 when the company expanded, fishing and camping equipment was added to the Bean line. This equipment included the “Maine Guide Shirt, the...
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