Gorham company gets Bean Boot boost

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GORHAM — For more than 100 years, L.L. Bean has been making its iconic Bean Boot in a variety of styles, but never one quite like the boot unveiled last week in partnership with a Gorham-based outdoor gear company.

L.L. Bean has teamed up with Flowfold, located on Sanford Drive, in its first ever Bean Boot Style collaboration.

Devin McNeill, who co-founded Flowfold in 2010 to make sailcloth wallets with college friend Charles Friedman, said the boot launch is a key moment in his growing company’s history.

“When you look back at what it has taken to go from nothing to where we are today, there are certainly moments that stick out to you as pivotal. I hope when we look back at this, it will be a pivotal moment in which L.L. Bean trusted and believed in us to be part of a co-branding on their most iconic product,” McNeill said.

Flowfold Chief Operating Officer James Morin and co-owner agreed, calling it “a meaningful and monumental moment for the Flowfold team.”

“There is nothing more iconic to Maine we could put Flowfold (logo) on, except maybe a lobster,” he said.

Morin said from a business standpoint, the launch of the co-branded boot gives Flowfold a “strong sense of validation” that both the Flowfold business and its partnership with L.L. Bean is strong.

The boots are made of X-Pac sail cloth fabric, a lightweight durable and flexible material that is “designed to stand up to abrasion, stress and moisture,” according to Flowfold,  and feature the traditional L.L. Bean sole. Men’s styles come in two different color combinations while women’s boots come in three combinations. The boots, with a price tag of $139, are available at L.L. Bean’s flagship store in Freeport or online.

Morin said Flowfold has provided enough fabric for L.L. Bean to create approximately 156 boots a day for a month at their Brunswick manufacturing facility.

“With sizes already sold out, we have outperformed our expectations for sure,” Morin said.

It has been a busy few years for Flowfold, a company that started on Peaks Island close to 10 years ago selling sailcloth wallets and has since expanded to offer more than 30 products, including wallets, backpacks, totes/duffel bags, dog gear and apparel. In December, the company moved from its home for the last few years, an industrial building on Holly Street in the Pine Point section of Scarborough to a new 7,500 facility it owns in the Gorham Industrial Park.

The boot launch Feb. 26 was result of a years-long relationship between Flowfold and L.L. Bean, Morin said.

The relationship began in 2015 when, after numerous pitches by Flowfold, L.L. Bean agreed to sell Flowfold wallets on a trial basis in four of its stores during the Christmas season. The two companies have strengthened that relationship and Flowfold products have been sold in L.L. Bean stores and online since 2016. In 2018, the two companies came together to offer a signature collection of backpacks, cross-body totes, utility organizers and small pouches. Those products, Morin said, are available exclusively in L.L. Bean stores both in the United States and Japan, as well as online.

“It was the culmination of years of success that they said let’s leverage this and do something that makes a splash,” Morin said of how the boot collaboration came to be.

“L.L.Bean Boots remain highly relevant today because of how innovative they were when L.L. first designed them,” Tom Armstrong, chief merchandising officer for L.L.Bean said in a release announcing the product collaboration. “We’re always proud to continue that legacy of innovation with products designed for everyone to enjoy the outdoors, and this collaboration is an exciting new step for both Bean Boots and our partnership with Flowfold.”

Michael Kelley can be reached at 780-9106 or mkelley@keepmecurrent.com or on Twitter @mkelleynews.

Flowfold, an outdoor gear provider in Gorham, has teamed up with L.L. Bean to offer a co-branded Bean boot.

Flowfold production manager Max Harmon, left, and production assistants Elizabeth McCoskrie and Marlena Gonzales work on Flowfold products at the company’s new headquarters in Gorham. Flowfold offers 30 product lines.

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