Before the majority of holiday shopping begins, the company already has backorders through November.
L.L. Bean has struggled to keep up with the demand for its newest popular trend: the duck boot. Last season, the company had over 100,000 back-ordered pairs and there was no way to make them in time to deliver for Christmas. The company, which is based in Maine, has since upped its operations so that it wouldn't have to worry about them again. In June they added more machinery to the tune of $1 million, so that it could produce the boots at a faster rate. They even opened up a third shift.
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However, recently customers have been alerted that it is happening again. So far, some styles and sizes are already on backorder and won't arrive until November.
According to Bloomberg, the company, which has 500 employees working on the boots, has had to up employment just to deal with the manufacturing of the boots and other items. They've hired 100 new makers and will continue to add more as the holiday gets closer.
"We're making them literally as fast as we can," Mac McKeever, a spokesman for L.L. Bean, said. "It's not something we can just stamp out."
The scarcity of the boot is part of what is helping it sell. Many companies are now producing duck-style boots, but the attention to detail is really what sets it apart from everyone else. It is a high quality product that is bound to last for years - even if the fad doesn't. Boots from L.L. Bean are already popping up on websites like eBay for well over twice the amount you'd pay online.
The boots themselves are made from leather and rubber, and have been known for years as the go-to style for many outdoorsman. However, in 2009 the style caught on in the fashion world and hasn't left since.
Last year the company sold over 450,000 pairs of boots and expects to sell 500,000 or more during this year's season. However, if the winter is particularly harsh and snowy, then the demand could get even worse. For now, they are going to keep on cranking and hope that they can get a grip on what is to come.
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"We realize we could outsource, but that will never happen," McKeever said. "The boots have been hand-sewn in Maine by our own skilled boot workers, and they always will be."