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Duck Hunt: L.L. Bean Scrambles to Satisfy Duck Boot Demand

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This holiday season, L.L. Bean duck boots joined the ranks of Tickle Me Elmo, Furby and the Cabbage Patch Kids.

Thanks to the popularity of “glamping” and the ongoing Normcore movement, which has had a hand in resuscitating a number of traditional apparel and footwear brands, demand for L.L. Bean’s iconic “Bean” duck boot has hit a fever pitch. And the company is admittedly unprepared.

According to CNBC, many of the styles are on back order until April 2015.

The $109 hand-stitched traditional duck boot, which has been in the Freeport, Maine-based company’s archives since the brand launched in 1902, has struck hot among the same Millennials that unearthed ironically cool labels like Birkenstock and Teva this past year. And just as those brands experienced a spike in sales, L.L. Bean believes it will sell 450,000 pairs of the duck boots this year alone.

In an effort to try and meet the demand, the company has invested nearly $1 million to double its manufacturing capacity by adding a third shift to its production schedule, adding another molding machine to make rubber soles, and increasing its workforce by 55 percent.

The company has hired 100 additional boot makers at its Brunswick, Maine facility and has begun training the new staff on the boots’ meticulous design, however, employee training takes 26 weeks.

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