|Mr. Leon Leonwood (L.L.) Bean himself. Photo Credit: L.L. Bean|
Way back in January of 1912, L.L. Bean sold his first pair of boots and the rest is history. A great all American brand was born. I will never forgot how I felt when my first L.L. Bean book bag came in the mail. It was navy blue, complete with a brown leather bottom and my initials embroidered in khaki on the back. At the time, this book bag was the epitome of a uniform wearing prepster attending a private prep school. It was the best book bag ever, and definitely a status symbol. All the cool kids had L.L. Bean book bags. And let's not forget the classic anorak. My school colors were red, white and navy. The red anorak was so popular among students, my school decided to add it to the list of approved uniform apparrel. Let's face it, they didn't really have a choice! They would have been writing demerits to most of the school every day for being out of uniform! Little did I know, my book bag and anorak went way beyond status symbols. It was all about quality craftsmanship and customer satisfaction.
Fast forward a few years to the end of middle school. My book bag had a broken zipper and a hole in the canvas, both war wounds of a treacherous middle school experience. As a last ditch effort to save my status symbol, my mom decided to take L.L. Bean up on their 100% guarantee and send my bag back to be repaired. Just as promised, L.L. Bean repaired my beloved book bag and quickly sent it back to me. After being repaired, that book bag took me through four years of high school and then four and a half years of college, and could have kept going if I would have chosen to go to grad school. If that isn't a testament to L.L. Bean's craftsmanship and warranty, I don't know what is.
The cool thing about L.L. Bean is they stand behind their products 100%, a quality that's hard to find these days. It's actually a brilliant business practice. If a company doesn't stand behind their own products, how can they expect their customers to? From clothing to boots, travel essentials and of course book bags, anything with L.L. Bean's name on it, is built to last. And if it doesn't, they'll repair it. That's just awesome!
So here's to you, L.L. Bean! Keep up the great work! Cheers to 100 years and here's wishing you many, many more!
P.S. I looked high and low for a picture of me with my book bag. Unfortunately, all those lovely pics of me from middle and high school reside at my parent's house. Thank goodness! As for the anorak, I still have the same one that was purchased approximately 17 years ago and have added two more to my collection. All of which are still part of my outerwear wardrobe.