L.L.Bean, Inc. has been a trusted source for quality apparel, reliable outdoor equipment and expert advice for over 100 years. Founded in 1912 by Leon Leonwood Bean, the company began as one-man operation. With L. L.'s firm belief in keeping customers satisfied as a guiding principle, the company eventually grew to a global organization with annual sales of $1.52 billion. Our company headquarters are in Freeport, Maine, just down the road from our original store.
With over a century in business, a satisfied customer is still our most important goal. We're proud of our heritage and values, and we invite you to celebrate with exciting events and activities throughout the year. In the meantime, you're welcome to browse the stories, facts and figures in this section and learn more about our company, our heritage and our history.
L.L.Bean is a privately held, family-owned company. We do not release financial and operational information beyond what you will find here and we do not produce an annual report.
2013 Company Fact Sheet
Current Corporate Information
Customers have trusted L.L.Bean, Inc., for quality apparel, outdoor equipment and expert advice since 1912. With headquarters in Freeport, Maine, the company has grown from a one-man operation to a global organization with annual sales of $1.52 billion. In 2012, L.L.Bean employed nearly 5,000 people year-round. More than 9,400 people worked for L.L.Bean during the 2012 winter holiday season.
L.L.Bean re-introduced everyday free shipping to the US and Canada with no minimum purchase and no end date in March 2011. This continues the tradition that Leon Leonwood started in 1912 by offering all L.L.Bean products in his catalog "postpaid".
In 2012, L.L.Bean produced over 50 separate catalog titles that were distributed to customers in all 50 US states and over 160 countries. In 2012, over 10.5 million customer contacts were received, with over 127,000 contacts received on a single day.
The company Web site, llbean.com, launched in 1995, is among the top-rated e-commerce sites in the industry. Customers can purchase over 100 Outdoor Discovery Schools courses, trips and tours and thousands of products online, including sporting goods, home furnishings and casual and active clothing. In addition, customers can search for information on state, national and international parks, contact customer service, watch product videos, get directions to the stores and share personal comments related to products through Ratings and Reviews and a Share Your Story feature on both llbean.com and L.L.Bean's Facebook page. We've also updated Purchase History, Customer Wish List and Check In-Store Availability to enable a premium customer experience on our Web site. In 2014, llbean.com provided customers with the ability to view, browse and book Outdoor Discovery Schools programs online, making it even easier to learn the skills to explore and enjoy the outdoors.
Business to Business Sales
Since the late 1970s, L.L.Bean's Direct to Business division has served organizations, teams, clubs and companies of all sizes seeking high-quality products and L.L.Bean Gift Cards for use as premiums, incentives, outfitting and recognition programs.
L.L.Bean uses state-of-the-art equipment to customize products for its business customers, adding embroidery of logos and company names as well as monogramming, engraving and screen printing. L.L.Bean Direct to Business catalogs highlight popular products and gift programs.
L.L.Bean products are recognized around the world for their practical design and high quality. Many items have been in the product line for several decades, such as the Field Coat, introduced in 1924, and the Chamois Shirt in 1928. The widely recognized Boat and Tote® Bag was introduced in 1944 as Bean's Ice Carrier. Today, over 150,000 items are stocked for the catalog, Web site and stores.
L.L.Bean Signature line features a modern fit and updated style and includes classic items from the company's archives, such as the 1933 Chamois Shirt, the Matinicus Rock Sweater and Bean's Zipper Duffle.
The company devotes significant time and energy to product research, testing and development. This process includes lab tests, field testers and employee and customer feedback.
L.L.Bean operates its own independent test lab for scientific analysis of materials, construction and design. Prototypes for new products are tested, revised and retested in a continuous cycle until they meet customer requirements and L.L.Bean quality standards. Established products continue to be tested to maintain their high level of performance and quality.
The company also brings new and innovative products into the marketplace through extensive interviews with customers and subsequent concept development meetings that help ensure the products being designed will meet specific customer requirements for outdoor clothing and gear. L.L.Bean product expertise is also reinforced by a group of 1,300 independent field testers – adults and kids – who help assure product quality and performance. The company uses a combination of expertise and testing to enhance existing products even though many are already considered "best in class" based on customer feedback and objective consumer ratings. L.L.Bean's Web site and products are licensed under U.S. Pat. No. 6,330,592.
"We get out into the field as much as we can at L.L.Bean and do the same things that our customers are doing," explains company President Chris McCormick. "We use our own products so that we have a better idea of how they're performing. This practice helps us identify better with our customers' experiences and needs."
While doing business today might differ from doing business in 1912, the philosophy of the company has not changed. As Leon Gorman, chairman of the board of L.L.Bean, stated, "A lot of people have fancy things to say about Customer Service, but it's just a day-in, day-out, ongoing, never-ending, persevering, compassionate kind of activity."
L.L.Bean president Chris McCormick remains firm in his commitment to providing superior service and excellent products. Each product is still guaranteed to provide 100% satisfaction. In Chris's words: "Superior customer service has always been and always will be the cornerstone of our brand and heritage and an attribute that differentiates us from the rest of the pack. It goes back to L.L.'s Golden Rule of treating customers like human beings." In an increasingly competitive industry, L.L.Bean still stands out as the benchmark for customer service.
Now a multichannel business, L.L.Bean continues to serve customers with knowledgeable employees who are highly customer focused. Employees are trained to take the time each individual customer requires to feel valued whether through mail, phone, fax, email, live chat, Facebook, Twitter, Internet or in our stores. Each employee's goal is to ensure customers a consistently superior service experience, no matter which channel they choose to shop. Every channel has been built on the L.L.Bean values of honesty, quality, dependability and a guarantee of 100% satisfaction.
L.L.Bean's Customer Satisfaction department operates out of three customer contact centers in Maine, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The company employed over 2,000 customer service representatives during the 2012 peak holiday season. Customer service representatives answered more than 127,000 calls on their busiest day in December.
L.L.Bean began utilizing social media in 2008 as a means of engaging with customers and building brand awareness on sites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Ratings and Reviews were added to L.L.Bean product pages that same year providing customers the opportunity to comment on and recommend products. Social media links were added to online product pages in 2009 allowing customers the ability to share content on various social media platforms. In 2011, L.L.Bean added "Share Your Story" to both llbean.com and its Facebook page as another opportunity for L.L.Bean fans to share their L.L.Bean experiences by including text, images and video. Later that year L.L.Bean launched its Google+ page as another opportunity to engage with fans in social channels.
L.L.Bean's retail stores allow customers to experience the company's unsurpassed quality and knowledgeable service firsthand. The stores offer a great selection of quality products and the friendly, expert staff is always ready to help, whether you're looking for advice, help with easy returns or even a quiet fly-fishing spot.
The 200,000-square-foot L.L.Bean flagship store campus is located in Freeport, Maine, on the original site where L.L. Bean opened his retail business in 1917. Open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, the flagship store draws close to three million visitors each year. It features a trout pond in the middle of the store and a 3,500-gallon freshwater aquarium that replicates a 25-foot-long section of streambed. Many customers visit the store to stock up on gear and apparel before exploring Maine's mountains, lakes and coastal regions.
The L.L.Bean Hunting & Fishing Store, adjacent to the flagship store, opened in November 2007. It houses L.L.Bean's largest-ever selection of hunting and fishing gear. In 2008, the store received LEED Silver certification from the US Green Building Council, becoming the first certified retail project in Maine. The Hunting & Fishing store is L.L.Bean's first to receive LEED certification with 15 stores currently certified. Next door to the flagship store, the L.L.Bean Bike, Boat & Ski Store opened in May 2007.
Across from the flagship store, the L.L.Bean Home store opened in 2009. The 33,000 square-foot store is reminiscent of a rural country store and includes features such as reclaimed wood floors, tin ceilings, chalkboard signs, and fixtures made from sawhorses, stackable wooden shelves and crates. The store showcases L.L.Bean's popular Home products, which include bedding, rugs, furniture, towels, cookware, food and decorating accessories. The store also offers handcrafted, vintage, one-of-a-kind items.
The seven-acre retail campus also includes the 1912 Cafe, Coffee By Design coffee shop, a 16-foot Bean Boot sculpture, a courtyard and Discovery Park, home to summer concerts and other exciting outdoor events.
L.L.Bean continues to demonstrate its commitment to its hometown of Freeport, Maine, by supporting the development of a 118,000-square-foot retail center and parking structure in the village center. Freeport Village Station opened in 2009 and houses 30 stores, including the new L.L.Bean Outlet®.
L.L.Bean has 23 retail stores outside Maine, with new stores opening each year. All L.L.Bean stores offer the same customer advantages that are the hallmark of L.L.Bean: quality products, superior customer service and a link to outdoor enjoyment and education through free clinics, speakers and outings with the store. Plus L.L.Bean's Outdoor Discovery Schools courses and tours at nearby locations.
L.L.Bean has 10 outlets in locations throughout New England and the Mid-Atlantic region of the US. Outlets feature an ever-changing variety of apparel, outdoor gear, home goods and more – all at discount prices. These products include discontinued and slightly irregular items and overstocks.
L.L.Bean opened its first international retail store in Tokyo, Japan, in 1992 and now operates 20 retail stores and outlets in several cities in Japan. In September 2008, L.L.Bean opened its first store in China. By the end of 2012, L.L.Bean had opened a total of 62 stores in China and expects that number to grow. There is also a large and growing customer base in Canada. L.L.Bean catalogs are sent to over 160 countries.
Celebrating its 35th anniversary in 2014, L.L.Bean Outdoor Discovery Schools provide an opportunity for customers to learn new skills and enjoy outdoor activities at an affordable price, with $20 Discovery Series adventures, instructional courses and guided tours near the company's retail stores. L.L.Bean Outdoor Discovery Schools also offer a variety of courses, guided tours and multiday trips near the flagship store in Maine. Outdoor adventures include activities such as kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, fly casting, clay shooting, archery, biking and canoeing. We also offer wilderness first-aid and guide preparation courses, plus Custom Adventures for groups or individuals, with group rates available. In 2013, we began offering Kids’ Camps and have added more options for 2014. We also offer free clinics, speakers and outings through our retail stores. Over 90,000 people participated in L.L.Bean's Outdoor Discovery Schools in 2013. Recently, we’ve made it even easier to sign up for an adventure by providing customers with the ability to browse and book courses online.
In 2007, the ability to fill customer orders was improved with the expansion of the technologically advanced Order Fulfillment Centers in Freeport, Maine. Our fulfillment centers, with the capacity to store over 10 million units of merchandise and to process an average of 50,000 customer orders a day, represent a familiar L.L.Bean goal: the best in customer service. In 2012, L.L.Bean shipped over 15 million packages including over 1 million packages during its busiest week.
Continuing the tradition, L.L.Bean still manufactures old favorites such as Bean Boots by L.L.Bean®, the Maine Hunting Shoe® and the Boat and Tote® Bag, as well as newer items. The L.L.Bean manufacturing facilities, located in Brunswick and Lewiston, Maine, employed nearly 350 people in 2012.
L.L.Bean is a leader in the manufacturing industry with regard to product quality, ergonomics and health and safety programs. The Brunswick facility has received the Margaret Chase Smith Quality Award for its commitment to quality. The L.L.Bean manufacturing division has achieved OSHA's prestigious Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) status for making safety and health a top priority in the workplace.
Company president Chris McCormick remains committed to preserving the company's manufacturing foundation. He said, "Manufacturing is where L.L.Bean started and our people take great pride in continuing this tradition, using the finest materials along with years of experience in quality craftsmanship."