This year has yielded a very strong foothold for our company in the footwear industry, and for this we have our customer base to thank. The folks who buy our boots are in large part why we do what we do, and the energy from them has really kept things positive, motivated and moving forward as a team.
Moving back to Oregon after 10 years away has really made me focus in on the core reason that a pair of boots makes itself important to me, personally. Working outdoors in the PNW weather quickly weeds out leathers and soles that simply cannot hold up to the climate’s conditions. When you're slipping off a pair of boots at the end of the day, it can literally make or break your opinion of a product, and I’ve focused in on this aspect quite a bit.
There’s nothing quite like working all day out in the elements and coming back to the same pair of boots the very next day, ready to tackle the weather and work as if the brutal combination of the two were eagerly awaiting the challenge.
In 2018, we made the switch from stitch-down construction to good-year welting on the majority of our collections. While we have considered dropping stitch-down from our collection for several years in a row, this past year seemed to really yield that progression for us. The numbers for those customers electing stitch-down indicated that it no longer made sense for us to maintain the components for this construction on the factory floor, and therefore, we have shifted to remove the construction method from our current and future production in it’s entirety. And, although we have built boots utilizing stitch-down construction for 6 years, the transition away from this method doesn't feel a negative one in any way. This shift is simply just answering our customer's demand.
I know a lot of folks get nervous as we produce boots in more and more leathers that are not as “wild" as the leathers we have released in the past. However, as the company grows and we begin to refine our craft even more, we find ourselves working closer with tanneries to develop leathers that work the best for us, and ultimately, the customer. From that aspect, we continue to tweak leathers to suit our needs as a factory, bettering the product, quickening the lead time, and improving our craft. Leathers like Cheaha from Seidel, we see to be trend-setters, and it feels great to be the first to build boots in these leathers. We’re happy to the be the first company to test a leather straight out of the tannery, and you're going to find us producing boots with a leather 6 months before it finds itself on any other factory floor. This is in large part because of our ability to rapidly develop and test leathers, as all aspects of production are done here in-house, in Oregon.
A little known fact: The first last we’ve used, our 79 last, was actually a last developed by Musebeck shoe company. The last gets its number from the year it went out of production in 1979. Our 55 last, I developed in-house, as a much more refined last. It took some time to go from boot-maker to last designer, and nothing about it sets any trends, but if you're looking for something form-fitting, this is your last. It’s been a great addition and well-received, which we appreciate.
2020 produced our 20 last. With how busy this year has been personally, I left the design work in the hands of our trusted last producers in Italy. The 20 last instantly set itself apart from the other lasts we were sampling, and the fit and form really solidified our decision to move forward on this last. The room in the forepart of the boot provides for comfort and forgiveness, while the narrow heel keeps slippage to a minimum. Overall, we really feel the 20 last is a great fit. We are working on several additional lasts at the moment, but with testing samples in the various aspects of production, we never know which one will make it to the factory floor for release. So, no promises, but know that there are always new projects in the works.
Our brand is really coming to fruition. This is in part because of the people ( ie. Tyler Dylan), behind the maturity of what the Truman brand means. He’s really been a great addition to the company and he’s successfully working his way into the fabric of the brand. While it is difficult for me not to micromanage every aspect of branding, it does happen to be in very good hands with Tyler, and I am confident that he continues set the bar in the industry. I would imagine that the projects he is currently working on will be an example of that standard as early as spring 2021. Brace yourselves.
Refined variations of our seasonal favorites like our chukka and sneaker will come back and styles such as our gun boot and upland have found their way to every day production, and for that, I am truly excited. I know our cowboy boot was scheduled for 2020, however, the components were varied from our standard production and it has taken me some time to work that aspect out. These boots will make their way to market shortly, though! MTO will have a greater focus placed on it, but will become something we schedule into production on the factory floor to cause less disruptions. We’ll simply make the focus on the experience and the flexibility.
A big thanks to everyone that has supported us over the past 8 years!