We love working with companies that have similar philosophies as our own. Let’s see how many similarities we can find between Lands’ End and Beekman 1802…
By the time Gary Comer reached his thirties‚ he was already an award-winning copywriter (just like Josh!)‚ champion sailor and world traveler. In 1963‚ he added entrepreneur to his list of accomplishments when he and four friends opened Lands’ End in a basement office on Chicago’s Elston Avenue (ok, we started at our dining room table with Farmer John but close enough)
Launched as a mail-order operation for yachting gear‚ the business filled about 15 orders on a good day (we know this feeling!). It took the team three years to see a real profit‚ and those returns had little to do with fashion. There were 84 pages to the Lands’ End Yachtsman’s Equipment Guide‚ Gary’s first catalog. Only two or three pages featured any clothes at all. And right there‚ on their very first cover‚ was a typo (when you are struggling to make ends meet a copy editor is a luxury—we know this, too—see the latest issue of the Beekman 1802 Almanac for example).
From the beginning‚ Gary set out to make Lands’ End different. While others took weeks to deliver a catalog order‚ Gary made sure orders shipped within two days (Team Beekman aims for this as well–often shipping out within 24 hours). Keenly aware that returning catalog purchases could be frustrating‚ he instituted the company’s now-famous unconditional return policy: “If you’re not satisfied with any item‚ simply return it to us at any time for an exchange or refund of its purchase price.” Guaranteed. Period. (not too different from our own policy)
Gary also relied on his advertising roots—and the help of Creative Director Bernie Roer – to create a catalog unlike any other. Models looked like real people. Breezy copy told engaging stories. And quality products lured readers in‚ until they could almost feel the softness of a knit shirt or the warmth of a wool sweater. (We really try to do this with our website–the modern version of a catalog.)
The company grew with every innovation. By 1977‚ Lands’ End was a million-dollar business. It was time to move.
There was something about Wisconsin’s rolling farmland and friendly Midwestern ways (where Josh grew up!) that impressed Gary Comer. He liked the rural work ethic‚ and the promise of a bigger corporate campus would give him the chance to pursue a new goal: helping employees and their families lead healthier lives (Yes!!!!)
By the 1980s‚ Lands’ End was headquartered in Dodgeville‚ Wisconsin. Within ten years‚ Gary had built his dream: a multimillion-dollar employee fitness center that would eventually offer dozens of wellness programs‚ an on-site medical clinic‚ day care and recreational activities (ok- this might take us a while).
In 1984‚ Gary wrote an article for the summer catalog. He called it “The Principles of Doing Business.” In it‚ he outlined the values that had guided Lands’ End from its “15 orders a day” beginning more than 20 years before.
On the list? Extraordinary service. An excellent product at a fair price. Integrity. And caring for people in a way that makes calling‚ clicking or visiting Lands’ End feel “a little like coming home.”
All these similarities are why we were thrilled when Lands’ End looked us up and asked if we would do something in their holiday pop-up shop. Now if you stop by the location at 580 Broadway in the Soho area of NYC, you can get free samples of our heirloom pantry hot cocoa and take a look at a selection of Beekman 1802 products curated by the folks at Lands’ End.
Let’s get cozy and bright!