Timberland planted its roots in 1952, when Nathan Swartz bought parts of the Abington Shoe Company. His education from this company led to his own innovation, learning the craft of making shoes and then working on ways to make them better. In 1965, the Swartz family introduced injection molding to the footwear industry and the first truly waterproof Timberland leather footwear was born. Eight years later, the first Timberland boot was introduced. This now iconic piece of footwear was Timberland’s shining example of rugged durability and exceptional craftsmanship. In 1978, the company took on the official name “The Timberland Company,” and they sewed their first hand-sewn casual shoe.
As a new decade started, this small New England footwear company dabbled in exporting to Italy, which accelerated Timberland into the international fashion market. This new footprint in the European sector led to further exports to other locations throughout Europe and the Far East. In 1986, Nathan Swartz’s son Sidney took the company reigns and became sole proprietor of the Timberland Company. Keeping with family tradition, Sidney’s own son joined the company as head of international sales. The next year, the Timberland Company would go public on the American Stock Exchange.
After over thirty-five years in footwear perfection, the Timberland Company introduced men’s and women’s clothing lines. In suit, Timberland opened specialty stores in Boston, New York City and London. In 1989, Timberland introduced their first innovative lightweight hiking boot, with the now easily-recognized Timberland Trail Grip sole that provides stellar traction without harming the trails.
In 1991, Sidney’s son Jeffrey took the role as COO with the Timberland company. Innovations this year include the Timberland waterproof leather outerwear and accessories, expanding their line even further. Jeffrey Swartz’s lead sees the Path of Service program launched, which offers employees sixteen hours of paid leave to perform service in their communities every year. This embrace of community and conservation leads the industry, and Timberland makes moves to create an even stronger bond with the global community through efforts like 1992′s teaming with Business for Social Responsibility, launching a “Give Racism the Boot” campaign. The next year, they signed a set of environmental guidelines from the Coalition of Environmentally Responsible Economies (CERES).
As a new millennium approaches, the Timberland Company continues to innovate and perfect its products. In 1996, Timberland launched its boots and shoes for kids, giving them exposure to an entirely new generation. They also expanded their line with accessory items like watches, backpacks, travel gear, gloves and more. Innovations like Advanced Combination Construction (ACC) and B.S.F.P. outsole technology make Timberland footwear even more comfortable and durable.
Continuing with their embrace of community, they expanded the Path of Service program to give employees 40 hours of paid leave per year. The same year, Fortune magazine lists Timberland as one of the best places to work for the next ten years. Now 46 years since Nathan Swartz founded the company, grandson Jeffrey Swartz takes the helm as president and chief executive officer. This same year, Timberland celebrates by launching their first ever company-wide day of community service, calling it “Serv-a-palooza,” and it becomes an annual worldwide event.
As the century turns, Timberland introduces their Pro series, which features superior quality footwear designed for working professionals. As the feel of the world turns to global health, Timberland also introduces plans to encourage their employees to reduce their carbon footprint, offering options like $3000 stipends toward the purchase of a hybrid vehicle. Timberland extended a hand to the victims of Hurricane Katrina, donating footwear and gear to the relief efforts and extended its employee sabbatical program with the Red Cross. In 2006, Timberland’s distribution center in Ontario, California is generating 60% of its power through the installation of solar panels. This installation reduces greenhouse gas emissions by an estimated 480,000 pounds per year.
What does the future hold for the Timberland Company? We can only assume the best. With leadership that embraces the need for more efficiency and minimal environmental impact and progressive technology that leads the footwear industry, the world can expect great things!