Maine is home to LL Bean, one of America's oldest outfitters of outdoor and hunting apparel. Founded in 1912 by Leon Leonwood Bean, LL Bean started with a single product: the Maine Hunting Shoe, known to many simply as a "Bean Boot." The Bean boot was a waterproof shoe made with a leather upper and rubber bottom that protected Mainers' feet during cold, wet winter months. Today, the Bean boot stands as a strong example of an age-old American product that has not changed much in over a century.
Recently, we were invited to visit LL Bean headquarters and factory in Freeport, ME to see firsthand how the good folks from this most northeast of states continue to produce the Bean Boot by hand and with pride.
18 miles north of Portland sits the town of Freeport, ME where we find LL Bean's headquarters, factory, and their flagship store, famous for being open 24-hours a day, 365-days a year. LL Bean calls this town home and prides itself on the great locals that make their family one of the strongest in American manufacturing.
On the factory floor, LL Bean employees work mostly by hand in producing not only footwear but other iconic items like their monogrammable Boat and Tote Bag, made famous by women during the '50s and '60s. Like most factories in the United States, the workforce is made up of a diverse group who pride themselves on their diverse skills and attention to details. The craftsmanship found on an American-made LL Bean product speaks for itself and it is these working hands that deliver quality.
Through these series of photographs, we hope to share our view of the LL Bean factory. While we limit the view to their boot-making facility, we should mention that the brand offers a wide range of products for all, including the LL Bean Signature collection, that refines the looks and cuts of their mainline with modern fits and a hat-tip to the legacy of products that have made Bean famous throughout the world.
Our friend Marcus Troy was also on-site with us in Freeport, Maine to experience LL Bean. We share this wonderful video short of his experience.