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Founded in 1928 and headquartered in Stratham, New Hampshire, Timberland’s story is of sweat, struggle and wide global footprint. Its founder Nathan Swartz, a cobbler, born in Odessa, Ukraine, began his shoe making career in Boston as an apprentice stitcher. In early 50s, Nathan bought half an interest in Abington Shoe Company. The company then was doing contract work for other manufacturers. In a few years, Nathan acquired the remaining interest in the company for $20,000. He soon brought in his youngest son Sidney who was then only 19.
After persuading Goodyear to design a synthetic rubber sole capable of withstanding the extreme elements, Nathan’s sons learned to use injection molding to bond the polyurethane soles to genuine blond leather uppers. The result was the company’s first truly waterproof boots. It began marketing the boots under the brand name “Timberland” in 1973. It proved quite a success, and resulted in naming the company as Timberland.
Its global success, however, happened when an Italian distributor named Giuseppe Veronesi visited company and ordered 3,000 pairs of its boots. After testing the markets in few major cities of Italy, Giuseppe soon started selling Timberland boots throughout the country. The Italian success motivated more American retailers to jump on the bandwagon. This resulted in rising boot production to 1.8 million pairs in 1983, with a price tag between $70 and $80 per pair in the US.
Since then, the iconic brand has experienced ups and downs. Most importantly, today its green reputation is widely known due to its sustainable approaches. The company is led by Nathan’s grandson Jeff despite his grandfather’s adamant wish that he should be a doctor or a lawyer so that Jeff could stay away from the business of manufacturing.