Woolrich Inc. is strengthening its American made ways.
The company is launching a Made in America men’s collection this fall, adding a women’s one next fall, increasing production in its wool mill by 50 percent this year and aims to boost its domestic-made product offerings to ensure that more than 50 percent of the brand’s wool products are made with American made wool. Woolrich president Nicholas P. Brayton underlined these efforts in an open letter published Thursday.
In a phone interview, Brayton said, “We believe in the future of Made in America products. We think that should be part of our DNA not only today, but even more so going forward.”
The new five-style American made men’s line, which will include items in the $250 to $500 retail price range, should generate “north of $1 million” in sales, he said. The brand has also partnered with Boulder-based Topo Designs to produce wool bags.
After a five-year hiatus, Woolrich will soon be returning to New York to open a showroom, design space and sales office. About eight to 10 staffers will work in the 4,500-square-foot space at 300 Park Avenue South when it bows late next month or in early March. “We think this will be a new window to the world of Woolrich. We’re very excited about it,” Brayton said.
The company got its start in 1830, when John Rich, an immigrant from England, built his first woolen mill in Plum Run, Pa. Last year Brayton, a seventh-generation descendant of John Rich, became the first family member since his father Roswell Brayton Jr. to lead the company. The company now employs 200 people in the U.S. with 90 percent in its home state of Pennsylvania.
The company, which provided blankets to Union soldiers in the Civil War, is also ramping up its domestic-made blanket business, Brayton said. In addition, collaborations with Clark’s, Converse and ProKeds are in place for the brand.
In his letter, Brayton wrote, “In the coming months, for Woolrich to set and accomplish these goals, it’s going to take more than a company commitment. It’s going to take support from our loyal customers as well. At Woolrich, we are proud of our rich heritage, and eager to begin writing the next chapter of the American manufacturing story. Moreover, we are excited to work side by side with you to accomplish these worthwhile goals.”