A great thing about the record sales growth at Allen Edmonds since the “Great Recession” is that we have roughly doubled manufacturing employment at our Wisconsin factory. When a new hire tells you, “This job is the difference between my daughter going to college and not going to college,” that’s a good feeling. With new stores across the country, burgeoning online business and, most important, the amazing loyalty of our customers … our U.S. employment is now the highest it has been in our company’s 91 year history.
Just like with shoes, less than 2% of the apparel bought in the U.S. today was made in this country. Since regaining our footing in 2010, our team’s long-term goal has been the evolution of Allen Edmonds into a broader men’s lifestyle brand. We’ve believed that the values for which Allen Edmonds is renown – i.e. eye-catching handcrafted quality, superior customer service, an unrivaled price/value ratio, and a dogged determination to grow USA manufacturing – will be welcomed in clothing as well as shoes by busy men who desire those qualities across their entire wardrobes but have little time to search for them.
So, we’re proud to launch our curated collection of men’s clothing, including sport coats, vests, sweaters, shirts and pants. These are just the first of several waves of seasonal offerings going forward. Along with these products, we are also launching exciting collections of leather bags inspired by some of our top selling shoes, such as the Park Avenue, McTavish and Neumok, and a substantial broadening of our belts and small leather goods offerings. The clothing, belts and leather goods collections represent our continuing commitment to Made in USA and American employment growth. We’ve partnered with manufacturers across America – in Vermont, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Virginia, Minnesota, California, New York, Florida and, of course, Wisconsin to craft exquisite and timeless pieces right here – between the earth’s two largest oceans, not across them.
We’re also excited to premier our new brand identity. As we move forward with an expanded product line and broader vision, we needed to refresh our brand. That’s why we’re introducing a new crest featuring the year Allen Edmonds was founded, 1922.
The crest harkens to our strong heritage and our special authenticity as American designers and manufacturers. Through the passion and dedication of our people – customers and employees alike – we’re still here, standing for what we’ve always stood for. The cobbler’s hammer references our dedication to excellent craftsmanship and to our core identity as world-class men’s shoemakers. Placed dominantly in the center of the crest, the hammer signifies that Allen Edmonds will always lead with great shoes! Our tagline “An American Original” is a reflection of both our company and our customers, who are originals in the way they lead in their lives.
You can expect to see this renewed identity in everything we do. And you can expect more seasonal product offerings from Allen Edmonds as we continue to grow, at the product quality and service level that you’ve come to expect from us.
Thank you for your continued support.
Paul Grangaard is president and chief executive officer of Port Washington-based Allen Edmonds Shoe Corp.