The link between L.L. Bean and president-elect Trump has been highlighted by the social media movement #grabyourwallet, a protest started by technology and media specialist Shannon Coulter who is encouraging shoppers to avoid brands and companies that support the president-elect or carry any brands with the Trump name like, Ivanka Trump.
#Grabyourwallet added L.L. Bean to their list of boycotted brands after news of Linda Bean’s support of the Trump presidency emerged. Linda Bean, granddaughter of L.L. Bean founder Leon Leonwood Bean, holds a large portion of the brands stock and acts as a chairwoman for the company’s board. The Federal Election Commission revealed on Jan. 4 that Bean donated $60,000 to Making America Great Again LLC, exceeding the individual donor limit of $5,000, reports MSN.
As a registered Republican who ran for congress in Maine unsuccessfully in 1988 and 1992, Bean’s support of Trump might be in response to the president-elect’s promises to strengthen American manufacturing and place heavy tariffs on imports. As a brand proud of its heritage, L.L. Bean still produces many of their products, including the Bean Boot, in Maine.
L.L. Bean, however, responded on their Facebook page stating the company “does not endorse political candidates, take positions on political matters, or make political contributions…To be included in this boycott campaign is simply misguided and we respectfully request that Grab Your Wallet reverse its position.”
Like New Balance, a fellow New England brand which still produces in the United States, L.L. Bean has a lot to gain from protectionist manufacturing policies like the ones proposed by Trump. A few days before the controversy linking Bean to Trump emerged, Vamp asked L.L. Bean’s footwear merchandising manager Willie Lambart if he thought the brand would benefit from Trump’s proposed manufacturing policies.
“Right now we have our hands full just keeping up with the domestic demand that we have under the current political landscape,” said Lambart. “Anything that pours fuel on the demand for American made footwear will take out-of-the box thinking for L.L. Bean to meet that demand.”