When it comes to carefully crafted and quality shoes made in US there’s only a handful of shoemakers that come to mind, and Allen Edmonds is definitely high on that list. Being a brand with long tradition, they recently reinvented the whole company and struck a big success by doing so. Restructuring their whole business model and expanding their shoe line to accessories and apparel made them more accessible to young generations of urban hipsters who value their 90-year old tradition. The success also goes to Allen Edmonds’ recraftable shoes which are available in over 100 sizes and widths. An all-American brand, which is now operated by Paul Grangaard, still manufactures all its shoes domestically, in order to maintain the level of quality that was set by the founders. To get to know this truly amazing brand, we came up with 10 things you need to know about Allen Edmonds Shoe Company.
Allen Edmonds is one of 7 companies that manufacture shoes in US
With manufacturing costs being so much lover overseas, only a handful of companies still produce shoes in United States. Allen Edmonds is one of 7 shoemakers that still make their shoes domestically, in Port Washington, Wisconsin.
Allen Edmonds supplied shoes for US Army and Navy during World War II
The fact that Allen Edmonds was a shoe supplier for US Army and Navy during World War II tells a lot about the quality and standards of this brand. It is with this successful collaboration that Allen Edmonds gained a lot of their following.
Paul Grangaard saved Allen Edmonds from bankruptcy
With the old thinking in place Allen Edmonds was heading straight towards bankruptcy until the current CEO Paul Grangaard saved it from uncertain future. He made the brand’s product portfolio relevant to a whole new generation of buyers, which turned the numbers around and put them on the ‘hipster’ map.
Transforming Allen Edmonds into a lifestyle brand
What Grangaard had planned for Allen Edmonds was just the beginning. First he added a whole new line of footwear – a whole new collection of casual styles for after work and weekends. Then he implemented the strategy of women’s brand Coach and transformed the company into a lifestyle brand, adding everything from shearling coats, to jeans, ties, and socks to an existing shoe line.
Allen Edmonds’ revenue jumped from $100 million to $145 million annually
With the new strategy in place and with triple the amount of products Allen Edmonds’ revenue tick up after the first year. In 2011 Allen Edmonds earned over $100 million in sales and last year the figures jumped to around $145 million. From the painfull beginnings when Grangaard laid off about 8% of its existing staff, it now grew to over 600 stateside and counting.
Allen Edmonds was acquired by Brentwood Associates
In 2013 the company was acquired by an affiliate of Brentwood Associates, a L.A.-based private equity firm that recognised Allen Edmonds’ growing potential. Grangaard is confident that this is a result of the brand’s effort to uphold a history of quality.
Allen Edmonds handsewn collection is cut and sewn in the Dominican Republic
With the ever growing cost of production in US, in 2006 Allen Edmonds moved a small part of their manufacturing procedure abroad. From their Lewiston, Maine factory they moved the handsewn production to their new, company owned, factory in the Dominican Republic. Currently, raw materials are sent there from the US, where the uppers are sewn together, then shipped back to the factory in Port Washington to complete their construction, which allows them to be considered “Made in the USA.”
Allen Edmonds has a 212-step manufacturing process
Being true to their tradition Allen Edmonds still believes strong in their 212-step manufacturing process that has been the basis for handcrafting Allen Edmonds Goodyear welted shoes since 1922. The method starts with finding the best materials, which are hand-cut and hand-sewn. After that, their veteran team begins the lasting procedure. From there, an operator attaches a 360Â° Goodyear welt and applies a sole. Finally, the shoes are hand-finished with polishing techniques that enhance the natural appearance and protect the shoe.
Allen Edmonds encourages repair
With shoes like Allen Edmonds where it’s all about timeless design and quality execution, there’s no need to replace them each season. Allen Edmonds actually encourages to rather get them repaired. Shoe owners can simply send the damaged shoe to their repair shop and get them fixed. The company offers recrafting services, rebuilding a pair of shoes for a fee, replacing soles and heels, creating a new cork base and strip, and reapplying the finish.
Allen Edmonds appeals to urban hipsters
With everything that has a long-lasting tradition suddenly becoming ‘hip’, Allen Edmonds quickly fell into that category and got adopted by the young generation. In evidence, there’s an entire thread on Reddit dubbed the “Ridiculously comprehensive guide to buying used Allen Edmonds” which helps youngsters get their hands on their first Allen Edmonds pair.