When cross-country skier Kikkan Randall became a testing and design partner with L.L.Bean, we welcomed her with a pair of custom L.L.Bean Boots. Thanks to Kikkan, those boots have been able to see the world – from the snow-capped slopes of Switzerland to her home state of Alaska, to Sochi, Russia.
This month, those boots were able to return the favor by bringing Kikkan to our manufacturing facility in Brunswick, Maine, where – like all of our L.L.Bean Boots –they were made by our talented boot stitchers. Having never seen what goes into each and every pair of these boots, Kikkan was impressed by the facility and the people working there.
“This is really fun to be back in the U.S. after an exciting winter,” Kikkan told the bootmakers. “After an exciting winter racing all over Europe, to come back and actually meet you guys in person and see you guys work your magic here is great.”
Like athletes, the stitchers working in Brunswick got where they are with hard work, training and practice. Our bootmakers are some of the most experienced workers at L.L.Bean, with more 25- to 30-year veterans than in any other part of the company. There’s a reason our stitchers have been here so long – they love what they do.
Our stitchers craft each boot as if it is their own – every pair even comes with a card signed by the person who made it. Usually, that’s where the relationship ends. The boots go off to a doorstep in Maine or California or the other side of the world, and the stitcher never sees them again. To see these boots come back home, and hear how much Kikkan enjoys them, is something worth making a big deal out of
“I feel like I’m a part of the family already,” said Kikkan. “I feel like this is going to be the start of something great.”