Filson (company)

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C.C. Filson Inc.
Private
Industry
  • Luggage manufacturing
  • Clothing manufacturing
  • Retail
  • Wholesale
Predecessor C.C. Filson's Pioneer Alaska Clothing and Blanket Manufacturers
Founded Seattle, Washington, United States (1897 (1897))
Founder Clinton C. Filson
Headquarters Seattle, Washington, United States
Number of locations
10 company-operated stores and 3 manufacturing locations
Area served
Worldwide
Products
  • Luggage
  • Apparel
Services
  • Clothing repair
  • Clothing rewaxing
Parent Bedrock Manufacturing Co.
Subsidiaries C.C. Filson Co.
Website filson.com

C.C. Filson is a Seattle, Washington,-based, privately owned outfitter and manufacturer of goods for outdoor enthusiasts. The company designs, manufactures, distributes and sells men's and women's outdoor clothing, accessories and luggage. Filson sells its products via company-owned retail stores, catalogs and the Filson website as well as through authorized dealers in the United States and international distributors. The company was originally established in Seattle in 1897 as C.C. Filson's Pioneer Alaska Clothing and Blanket Manufacturers to meet the needs of prospectors passing through Seattle on their way to the Klondike Gold Rush; as of 2012 the brand is owned by Bedrock Manufacturing founder Tom Kartsotis, who also owns Shinola.[1]

Early history[edit]

Clinton C. Filson (born 1850), a former Nebraska homesteader and railroad conductor, moved to Seattle, Washington in the 1890s, where he operated a small loggers' outfitting store. To meet the needs of prospectors passing through Seattle on their way to the Klondike Gold Rush, C.C. Filson founded C.C. Filson's Pioneer Alaska Clothing and Blanket Manufacturers in 1897.[2] The company supplied prospectors with a variety of outdoor gear including clothing, blankets, boots and sleeping bags. After the gold rush ended around 1899, Filson shifted to providing gear for outdoor oriented activities and occupations including hunting, fishing and logging, among others.[3]

Ownership and leadership[edit]

Filson remained under the control of the Filson family until 1970, when they sold their interest to a former distributor of Filson products to independent dealers in Alaska. Stan Kohls, a skiwear entrepreneur, purchased the company in 1981. Kohls expanded the product line from 35 items to 250 items, drawing from the company's archive or designing each new item himself. Kohls attempted to preserve the authenticity of the products by not using modern materials like Velcro.[2][4]

On January 1, 2005, Los Angeles, California-based private equity group Brentwood Associates and former Polo Ralph Lauren Corporation executive Doug Williams acquired C.C. Filson, with Kohls maintaining a minority ownership interest and a seat on the board. Brentwood Associates and Williams renamed the company Filson Holdings and named Williams the Chief Executive Officer.[2][4][5][6] Williams hoped to expand the brand's sales by introducing casual wear and selling to new customers based on Filson's reputation for ruggedness and quality.[2] In 2006, Filson made Bill Kulczycki, a former Patagonia executive, CEO.[7] In 2010, Mark A. Korros became CEO.[8]

In 2012 Brentwood Associates sold Filson Holdings, Inc. to Dallas-based Bedrock Manufacturing Co. for an undisclosed amount.[9][10] Alan Kirk was appointed CEO of Filson in 2013. In June, 2013, the company opened an extensive new manufacturing facility on 1st Avenue South in Seattle's manufacturing district, more than doubling capacity and by year end, more than 100 new jobs were created in production. The company now manufactures luggage, apparel and accessories in three company-owned locations in the USA.

The current Filson president is Gray Madden,[11] who is lead the charge on the construction of a brand-new 6,000-square-foot flagship store in its current headquarters at 1741 First Ave. S. in Seattle. When customers enter the building they see workers manufacturing Filson's luggage products on the first floor. The store on the second floor has clear glass doors that showcase office space where the company's creative teams are coming up with the next big idea.

Retail locations[edit]

In addition to the company's retail website, Filson products are available for sale at Flagship stores in Seattle, Minneapolis, New York, Austin, Portland, Washington DC, London, Dallas, San Francisco, Plano, and Detroit. Filson will open its first Canadian location this March in Vancouver.[12] Each is located in affluent shopping districts and neighborhoods.

Outlet stores are located in Eagan, Minnesota and Burlington, Washington.

Modern product line[edit]

In 1991, Filson revived its line of bridle leather-trimmed canvas luggage.[3] In 1998, Filson opened a flagship retail store near Seattle's Safeco Field. In 2008, Filson introduced a line of women's clothing.[5] In 2010, Filson partnered with Levi Strauss & Co. to produce a collection of jackets, shirts, caps and bags called "Levi’s Workwear by Filson."[13]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Stacy Perman, "The Real History of America's Most Authentic Fake Brand", Inc. magazine, p. 106, April 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d Bourjaily, Phil (October 1, 2005). "Fear of Fashion". CNN Money. Cable News Network. OCLC 727236465. Archived from the original on August 4, 2013. Retrieved August 2, 2013. Clinton C. Filson founded the company in 1897 to outfit prospectors headed for the Klondike....Williams is betting that people who own Filson hunting clothes will also buy Filson casual wear and that others will discover the brand as they learn of its reputation for ruggedness and quality. 
  3. ^ a b "Filson's History". Filson. C.C. Filson Co. Archived from the original on August 4, 2013. Retrieved August 2, 2013. The Gold Rush faded into history, but Filson kept listening to his customers, and outdoorsmen kept coming to Filson for rugged clothes. Drawing from his past experience outfitting loggers, he soon added clothing for the timber industry... 
  4. ^ a b Pemberton, Jeff (May 15, 2006). "A Wilton Hunter and Fisherman Finds His Dream Job". Wilton Online. Mill River Media Group. Archived from the original on August 4, 2013. Retrieved August 2, 2013. By 1980, the company was down to about 35 styles. The family was involved until the 1970s, when it went through another management and, in 1981, it was sold to Stan Kohls, who came out of the ski industry. He saw that many of the great heritage products were gone, and went through the archives, pulling out the old designs. That started the resurrection of Filson. From 1981 until 2004, Kohls ran the company. 
  5. ^ a b Martinez, Amy (February 21, 2008). "Filson Introduces Outdoor Clothing for Women". The Seattle Times. The Seattle Times Company. OCLC 61313571. Archived from the original on August 4, 2013. Retrieved April 21, 2012. For the first time in Filson's 111-year history, the Seattle manufacturer and retailer of outdoor clothing is introducing a line of women's apparel for fishing, hunting and other activities. 
  6. ^ Fischer, John. "Filson Sold to Former Polo Exec". MultiChannel Merchant. Access Intelligence. Archived from the original on August 4, 2013. Retrieved August 2, 2013. Former Polo group president Doug Williams and Brentwood Associates bought Filson on Jan. 1 from Stan Kohls, who has owned it since 1981. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. 
  7. ^ "Another Downtown Seattle Apartment Building Is Going Condo". The Seattle Times. The Seattle Times Company. October 4, 2006. Business Digest. ISSN 0745-9696. OCLC 9198928. Archived from the original on August 4, 2013. Retrieved August 2, 2013. Filson Holdings said it hired former Patagonia executive Bill Kulczycki to run its outdoor apparel company, C.C. Filson. 
  8. ^ "Filson Names Korros New CEO". Puget Sound Business Journal. American City Business Journals. October 14, 2010. ISSN 8750-7757. OCLC 321260598. Archived from the original on August 4, 2013. Retrieved August 2, 2013. Outdoor apparel company Filson has named Mark Korros its new CEO and president. Korros replaces Bill Kulczycki at Seattle-based Filson. 
  9. ^ Sheff, Harry (June 5, 2012). "Bedrock Manufacturing Acquires Filson". Mrketplace. Business Journals. Archived from the original on July 30, 2013. Retrieved July 30, 2013. Outdoor heritage brand Filson has been acquired by Dallas-based Bedrock Manufacturing Co. for an undisclosed amount. The sale was announced today by Filson's previous owner, the private equity group Brentwood Associates. 
  10. ^ "Brentwood Associates Announces Sale of Filson Holdings" (Press release). Los Angeles, California: Brentwood Associates. June 5, 2012. Archived from the original on August 4, 2013. Retrieved August 2, 2013. Brentwood Associates ("Brentwood"), a leading consumer-focused private equity investment firm, announced it has completed the sale of Filson Holdings, Inc. ("Filson"), one of the oldest American brands of premium outdoor apparel and accessories, to Bedrock Manufacturing Co. ("Bedrock"). Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. 
  11. ^ "Seattle DJC.com local business news and data - Real Estate - Real Estate Buzz: Filson wants to show off how it works". www.djc.com. Retrieved 2015-09-01. 
  12. ^ http://www.retail-insider.com/retail-insider/2017/1/filson
  13. ^ "Filson Signs Clothing Deal with Levi's". Puget Sound Business Journal. American City Business Journals. August 3, 2010. ISSN 8750-7757. OCLC 321260598. Archived from the original on August 4, 2013. Retrieved April 21, 2012. Filson said it’s signed a deal with Levi's to sell a line of clothing called “Levi’s Workwear by Filson....Filson said that each Levi's-branded product will be made in its Seattle factory. 

External links[edit]