It all began with a boot.
L.L. Bean celebrated its 100-year anniversary on Tuesday with a giant mobile replica of its original boot, dubbed the Bootmobile.
The 20-foot-long giant boot replica was unveiled to workers and the public on Tuesday before it makes it voyage to New York City for the official 100-year celebration on Wednesday.
Leon Leonwood Bean started L.L. Bean in 1912 when the first hunting boots were sold. According to The Associated Press, only 100 pairs of boots were manufactured, without the help of consumer research or fashion heavy-hitter input. Instead, the design was based solely on the ideas and satisfaction of Bean, who personally used and tested his products.
The important part of L.L. was his personality. He was a hardy, enthusiastic, outgoing guy. He shouted most of his conversations because he was hard of hearing and assumed everyone else was, too. He was a genuine presence, Bean's grandson, Leon Gorman, now chairman of the board, told The AP.
However, since the first batch of the boots came with a satisfaction guarantee, 90 of the first 100 produced were returned due to the leather separating from the rubber soles of the boots.
Sell good merchandise at a reasonable profit, treat your customers like human beings and they will always come back for more, was Bean's main focus, and today, the money-back satisfaction promise is still in place.
Over the past 100 years, the company has grown exponentially since Bean's first hunting shoe in 1912 and changed within the market.
Gorman took over the post when Bean died in 1967 and in the following years, amidst the changing world of retail sales, still managed to juggle and balance the fine line of customer base loyalty while opening up to fresh markets.
The Freeport, Maine-based company, set to bring in $1.5 billion in projected sales by the 2011 fiscal year end, has since expanded from being a catalog retailer to an online retailer and includes products ranging from hunting and fishing tools to those infamous monogrammed book packs and virtually everything in between.
While the hunting boots are still one of the most popular products, requiring an additional 100 employees to craft them in the factory in Brunswick, Maine each year, L.L. Bean has countless product lines.
In honor of the 100-year anniversary, here's a look at some of the best L.L. Bean products of all time, plus Leon Leonwood Bean's original patent sketch of the Duck Boots.