Whole-Hearted Living~November 29

On some Thursdays, there are Because of Grace Wholehearted Living Stories:

LLBean first boot design


It’s no surprise to readers of this blog that I love shoes. So I giggled with glee when I read about a story of success built upward, literally,  from the soles of the feet.

November is the birth month of Leon Leonwood Bean, American inventor, author and founder of the L.L. Bean. Garrison Keillor writes the story of his life which is worthwhile reading at this link.

Leon Bean’s story demonstrates whole-hearted living because:

  • He experienced loss at the early age of 12 years when both of his parents died
  • He experienced rejection in his job as a door-to-door salesman invented a boot to withstand the cold, snowy trails.
  • Although Bean’s first “Maine Hunting Shoe” was defective in design and 90% of the orders were returned, he kept improving on his model and did not give up.
  • Bean took his guarantee of quality and workmanship seriously, and although it cost almost all the money he had, he returned the money his customer’s spent and worked to improve the boot’s design. Because of this, Keillor writes, “He quickly garnered a reputation for his personal integrity and orders began to flow.”
  • He took advantage of the technology of the time. When the U.S. Postal Service begun offering parcel delivery, he opened a factory directly above the post office in Freeport, Maine, where his brother served as the local postmaster.  This streamlined the distribution of his growing product line and also the hunting and fishing licenses he sold. Soon his business was open 24 hours a day in case a hunter or fisherman needed a license or supplies.
  • He did not outsource his R&D and as Bean’s product line grew, he tested every new item personally.

Bean insisted on this practice: “Sell good merchandise at a reasonable profit, treat your customers like human beings, and they will always come back for more.” Even during the Depression his stores made a profit.

  • He continued to write and edit his catalog until his death at age 94 years.

Staying with what he knew, designing to solve a problem and then consistently refining and improving this product has kept L.L. Bean a successful company for 100 years. Bean’s legacy outlived his life.

See the L.L. Bean Anniversary timeline at this link.
Read more about L.L. Bean’s life at this post

Read more Whole-hearted living stories by clicking here

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