Archive for September, 2011

10-Sec Tech: Tireless Technology for Sore Feet

If you’re someone who spends all day on your feet (or, if you just FEEL like you do), the latest installment in our 10-sec tech video playlist is for you.  We’ve found the perfect solution for sore, tired feet and we call it “anti-fatigue technology:”

There may, in fact, be more to our anti-fatigue technology than marshmallow soles and cucumber facials (say it isn’t so!), and those of you wanting to pull back the curtain just a little more are invited to watch our VP of Men’s Footwear, Brian, explain the concept in more detail.  And whether you’re a doubter or a dreamer, you’re sure to find a pair of anti-fatigue boots or shoes on our website that will keep you energized and on your feet, all day long.

Tree Planting in Argentina

We’re excited to share the news about one of our newest tree planting initiatives, led by the Timberland team in Argentina.  They’re on their way to planting 3,500 trees this year in San Martin de los Andes – a popular tourist destination, given its location beside Lacar Lake and at the foot of the Andes.

The Argentina project is just one in our portfolio of tree-planting initiatives, and takes us that much closer to reaching our goal of planting 5 million trees before 2015.  For more information about Timberland’s commitment to reforestation in cities and countries all around the globe, visit our tree planting website.

Fan of Facebook?  You can follow the tree planting progress in Argentina on their new Facebook page.

Andy Grammer in the House!

Talk about work perks: look who stopped by to give us a live performance here at Timberland headquarters last Friday afternoon!

Thank you, Andy Grammer, for sharing yourself and your music with us (and for letting us sing along with you, even though we’re far better bootmakers than we are vocalists).

Store Your Stuff in Style: Earthkeepers Stratham Series

Heading back to school isn’t the only good excuse for buying a great new bag or backpack this fall; our new Earthkeepers™ Stratham Series includes bags perfect for laptop lugging, day tripping, hiking, commuting and all-around exploring.  See?

Stratham Series Messenger Bag

Stratham Series Backpack

The Stratham Series is part of Timberland’s Earthkeepers™ Collection, which features products made with recycled and organic materials and/or leathers from tanneries that have been Silver-rated for improved energy, water and waste management. Our Stratham bags feature 55% organic cotton canvas, antiqued brass hardware and premium nubuck leather trim – inspired by packs of earlier eras, but incorporating modern-day materials and functionality.

This beautiful collection of bags has gained quick popularity around the globe, and depending on where you shop, supplies are temporarily limited!  US shoppers will find Stratham bags in retail stores only until November (then you’ll also be able to buy them on Timberland.com); bag buyers in the rest of the world may find them on your country’s Timberland website or in stores.

Stratham Series Small Goods Bag

Stratham Series Lumbar Pack

Got the bag, need a boot?

Even accessories need accessories; pick a pair of our Stratham Heights boots to complement your Stratham bag, and you’re good to go!

Red Carpet Ready? Timberland Takes On the Toronto International Film Festival

The Toronto International Film Festival ranks among the most prestigious international film festivals in the world. The 36th annual Festival was held in the city earlier this month, and for ten days, film lovers, filmmakers, industry professionals and media converged to watch the best in new cinema from established masters and new talent.  While it is a premier event for seeing great films, filmmakers and celebrities alike, the Festival also works to foster creative and cultural discovery through the moving image – truly impacting the way people see the world.

As a proud supporter and official sponsor of the Toronto International Film Festival, Timberland was on hand for this year’s event – helping to reduce the Festival’s overall environmental impact by supplying reusable and recyclable tote bags (reducing the volume of plastic bags) and by offering free EcoCab rides to festival attendees (no fuel, less environmental impact, more pedal power!).  We were even able to make a good experience better by surprising a few lucky film lovers with free tickets to some of the movie premieres.

Our traveling video bloggers Amanda and Ramsey captured the Festival vibe (and hollered at a few celebrities) to bring back and share with all of us.  Here’s the first of their Festival flicks:

Stay tuned as we share more videos from Amanda and Ramsey in the coming weeks. To learn more about the Toronto International Film Festival, please visit their website.

From City Streets to Desert Plains, Making our Difference

This week, we’re proud to share two blog stories of Timberland service — distinctly different in their physical locations, but undeniably similar in spirit and impact.  The first comes from the blog of streetwear clothing company Next, a Timberland retail partner.  Next joined us for our annual community service day in New York on September 9.  In the blog post, Next blogger Steve talks about the tradition, and the impact, of the service day:

Every 9/11, I have the privilege of joining the folks from Timberland in a community service event.  The past two years our “service team” focused our efforts on improving the environment of an elementary school in the Bronx. What started out as an abandoned field next to the school has slowly been transformed into a lush and productive garden. The formally cold and barren concrete school hallways have gradually become populated with colorful murals that the team has painted over the years.

View of the school-side garden and tool shed, courtesy of Rule of Next

Half a world (or so) away, travel blog Malaysia Asia highlighted Timberland’s ongoing reforestation efforts in the Horqin Desert in Inner Mongolia.  Blogger Lilian Chua experienced firsthand what a Timberland tree-planting trip to the Horqin entails – from bumpy bus rides to beautiful landscapes.  She shares:

Thanks to Timberland Malaysia, I had the great opportunity to join in their yearly Horqin Reforestation Project in Inner Mongolia. This trip was an unforgettable journey for me, from the tree planting activities to getting to know the myriad of beautiful people, the spectacular scenery which seems to be everywhere and of course the consumption of glorious local food!

Volunteers form a human chain to water newly-planted saplings in the Horqin Desert, courtesy of Malaysia Asia.

Our thanks to the folks at Next and Malaysia Asia for sharing their Timberland service experiences; we’re honored to be able to share our passion for community and environmental impact with such enthusiastic partners and volunteers!  To read these blog posts in their entirety, please visit Rule of Next and Malaysia Asia.

Timberland Comes to Westfield Stratford City

We are pleased to announce the opening of a new retail store within Westfield Stratford City in East London –  gateway to the Olympic Stadium!

Timberland Stratford City

London is the host city for the 2012 Olympic and Para-Olympic Games; the new Westfield Stratford City is one of Europe’s largest urban shopping centres, and is situated adjacent to the Olympic Park.  Westfield Stratford City is home to 300 fashion, food and lifestyle brands and 50 restaurants, and has fantastic transport links with Stratford Regional Station, which sees 58 trains going to and from central London every hour.

Stratford City also boasts some impressive environmental and sustainability statistics:

  • 75% of all Stratford City’s electrical power will be met through an on-site Combined Cooling, Heat and Power Plant (CCHP)
  • Use of natural light, effective insulation, high efficiency lighting, heating and cooling and control of solar gain will ensure the buildings are 10% more energy efficient than required by building regulations
  • Efficient building design and on-site CCHP will help achieve carbon reduction targets of 50% by 2020
  • A consolidated waste management system will recycle / recover 50% of retail waste
  • Suitable roofs have been designated as ecological brown roofs to encourage wildlife and reduce rain water run-off
  • A 253,000 sq ft rainwater harvesting system is incorporated into the main retail centre

The store introduces a new global retail concept that re-imagines the retail experience for Timberland.  It is a “box within a box” concept that brings the brand to life in an engaging and emotional way – essentially bringing the outdoors indoors!  The retail experience was designed to emotionally connect with consumers, not only inspiring them with the great outdoors but also equipping them with the gear to get out and enjoy it.  The 2500+ sq ft store has a two-story glass fascia and incorporates portions of our iconic tree logo as part of the store front design.

Our new retail concept aims to bring the outdoors in!

We think the Stratford City store succeeds in engaging consumers with our brand and our product in an authentic, approachable way … but we’d love to hear from you!  London-area readers, stop by our new store and then tell us what you think.

Free Music Friday: The Chad Hollister Band

Our pick for artist of the month for September is the Chad Hollister Band – a group of talented musicians with Vermont roots, an infectious sound, and a passion for the environment.  Here’s Chad Hollister himself, talking about what he does to reduce his own environmental footprint … and showing us just how deep his affection for the great outdoors really runs:

The band’s song “Grow” is gaining quick popularity on the airwaves, and you can download it now, for free, on our music page.  While you’re there, check out the other Friday freebies from our previous artists of the month.

Endings and Beginnings

CEOs don’t get paid to watch the grass grow.  So, staring out the window this morning, looking at the Victory Garden sprouting in its raised beds in our front yard here at Timberland is hardly serving my shareholders, which is my fiduciary responsibility.

But staring I am, as Yoda might say.

A few months ago, we announced that VF Corp, a powerful force in our industry would pay $43 a share to our shareholders, acquiring the company and the brand and the culture that my grandfather founded, my father built and I stewarded.  Between Nathan and Sidney and Jeff, we have invested more than 100 years of our living in an idea and a dream and a passion.  And so when we made the announcement, we did so with a wicked strange blend of bone rattling emotions.

How to think about this, as the last sturdy vegetables, flowers and herbs strain towards a September sky here in New Hampshire? We built this Victory Garden a few years ago, and I honestly get deep joy watching my colleagues invest some of their Path of Service volunteer hours to compost and mulch and sow and reap organic produce, which is sold in our headquarters, with the proceeds going to feed the working poor here in southern New Hampshire.  When the idea of paid time to volunteer in the community was an idea, it burned in my gut.  When victory gardens and codes of conducts for ensuring basic human rights went from an idea to a shared passion, things started to happen.  And when shared passion bore fruit, sustainable change began to appear.  One bed of vegetables in the New Hampshire corporate wilderness became a full scale garden, and has continued to spread across the blank, industrial face of our HQ building.  Hardy fruit trees now surround the flagpole in front.  Makes me smile.  And honestly, this morning, generates some tears too.

For three generations, we’ve tried to create and master a weird new kind of modern dance—the one that blends the foxtrot of “fiduciary responsibility to shareholders” with the tango of “authentic brand building,” with the Alvin Ailey contortion of “sustainable for profit business practice.”  Today, having sold the company, I am sitting in the corner office/dance studio of a for-profit business poised on the brink of becoming a truly sustainable enterprise, reflecting, wondering.

Recently, I listened to the acquirer’s CEO addressing Timberland employees, in an open air town hall meeting (we take the 10 minutes of New England summer time seriously here, and so when we can meet outdoors, we do).  It tore my guts out, to sit in the community gathering as a listener, watching my colleagues watching the new boss, wondering what changes are in store for our brand, our business, our community.

I held my breath for much of the 90 minutes outdoors, listening to the new leader speak, watching my colleagues listen.  And then, in best Timberland/New England fashion, the town hall went to work, with questions, respectful but engaged, authentic, old-fashioned civic democracy.  Employees acting like citizens, raising fears, expressing concerns, asking for information.

Made me smile and shake my head.  This is New Hampshire, which means some time too soon, a whole host of slick candidates will parade through our small towns, playing at democracy.  Staged, phony, self-dealing, pandering politicians.  Watching the new guy standing in front of the Timberland community was inspiring—reminded me that the right kind of for-profit business leaders are really accountable, personally and practically, in a way that should be a model for our so-called political leaders.  Whatever this leader said or committed to, his employees will hold him to account.  Not once every four years—every single day.  Engaged democracy—not a fiction or an aspiration, rather a principle in practice, even in a stressful circumstance.

And right on queue, as I was appreciating democracy in actual practice,  an environmental activist in our ranks rose, way in the back, to ask the new guy, the Boss to Be, about sustainability.

“Tell us, please, why sustainability is important to you.”

Wow.  That is town hall democracy the way Rockwell painted it.  Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide—respectful, but a “no quarter granted” question.

And the man with whom I negotiated hard and long for the best possible deal for shareholders stood his ground, and answered, authentically and naturally.  “The answer is simple—we believe that sustainability is good for the business and good for the world environmentally.”

He went on; the answer got more detailed and more concrete.  But I had stopped listening.

For 30 years, we’ve been trying, fighting, struggling, to choreograph the intricate interaction between shareholder value, consumer demand, and social accountability.  I have the scars, and the long list of failed efforts, incomplete outcomes, unrealized dreams and frustrated ambitions before my eyes all the time that reflect this passionate effort.  And yet in this poignant moment of transition, from a business run by my family for three generations to a business to be run by relative strangers–here is the CEO of a 10B$ powerhouse, talking about sustainability simply and easily—good for business, good for the earth.  And he means what he says.  And it strikes me, hard, as I sit there—30 years later, a vitally important conversation has shifted.  Maybe, there comes a time to say, “my job here is finished.”

Used to be, “what in the world does for-profit business have to do with social issues? That’s the purview of the government or the church.”  And yet here, and now—I hear this powerful leader telling my colleagues, announcing to the whole damn world, that the question is not “if” corporations should be involved in questions of sustainability—not “if,” only “how.”  Thirty years later–the corporate conversation turns from “if” to “how.”

Has been one heckuva journey, these nearly 30 years…

Watching the Victory Garden struggle up towards the heavens on this, my final morning at work in corporate America….

We Remember

10 years ago today, a group of Timberland employees were in New York City, preparing to head to the Clara Barton School in the Bronx for a day of community service.

Our CEO Jeff Swartz was among them.  The following is an excerpt from an email he sent later that day to the Timberland community:

As we stood on 5th Avenue this morning, and saw the flames and smoke from the World Trade Center, as we waited to board buses to take us from the safety and security and comfort of midtown Manhattan to the one of the bleakest neighborhoods in urban America—as we stood there, our hearts melted.  And our fears multiplied.  And our hearts raced.

But we went, from midtown to the Bronx.  And by the time the ride was over, the news was clearer, and the emerging clarity did just the opposite of what it usually does—instead of feeling more confident as we knew more, we felt less comfort, more nausea.

When we got off the buses, I told everyone what we knew, and asked the 125 men and women assembled what was in their hearts.  Should we stay, and do the planned day of service at the Clara Barton School in the Bronx, or should we try to find a way out of New York, away from the horror and the fear?  And in small quiet groups of people, the decision was made, to stay, and to serve.

And so a small group of people, on a small concrete patch in the Bronx, responded to hatred with love today.  They met anger with kindness.  They exacted revenge—but the revenge of sweat in good purpose, rather than the revenge of blood spilled in rage.  While we called our families, and consoled each other, and reeled at the news, we stood together, and we served together.  We showed a group of children that there are competing models for how the adult world can work.  There is the model of destruction, and hatred, and despair, and by contrast, there is the model of creation, and community and even congregation—different people, committed to the common goal and good. (Clara Barton’s) Principal Parker told us that he would always remember today for the evil that was done, and he would never forget today for the goodness that was wrought.

Our hearts grieve with all who have lost, and our prayers, from our different traditions and faiths and personal points of view are united in gratitude to those brave men and women who struggle to protect us, and care for the hurt, and rescue the injured.   May all who are grieved be comforted.  May each and every broken body and heart and mind be mended, completely and speedily.  And may each of us find within ourselves the strength to affirm what is expected of us—to do justice, to love mercy and to walk humbly, with our God and with our fellows.

10 years later, our hearts and minds return to New York City.  In honor of the fallen and the heroes, the communities divided by tragedy and terror – and those united in spite of it – we remember.