Chippewa Boots. An All-American Icon Strides In To the Future
Straight Talkin’ With Chippewa’s Chief Marketing Officer
Rope Dye in couversation with Lisa Lankes, Chief Marketing Officer at Chippewa in Fort Worth, Texas.
Denimhunters: There must be millions of eager boot-makers in China, isn’t it tempting to offshore all of your production?
Lisa Lankes: “We take much pride in our four domestic factories and handcrafting product in the United States. While we have partners and suppliers we work with around the world, it’s important to us that we stay true to our brand and what it represents, and that means making premium boots, just as we have since 1901.
We oversee every step of production ourselves to guarantee when you’re wearing Chippewa Boots you have the best-of-class boots on the market.”
DH: Where do you see growth, if any, coming from in this sector?
LL: “Chippewa Boots is an international brand that is seeing very healthy growth. We’ve opened new channels of distribution over the last year in the domestic market. And, recently, we’ve seen increased interest in Asia and Europe, as well as Canada.
We plan to continue to our efforts in those channels and regions by working to grow brand awareness and market share and provide superior footwear to as many as possible.”
DH: How will Chippewa grow its own share of the market? New styles, different demographics, a wider net?
LL: “We know we have a lot of opportunity to expand in these markets, but we also know we have to increase brand awareness for Chippewa.
We are working on a new marketing campaign for next year, being mindful of the very diverse customer base that Chippewa enjoys.
Ultimately, though, it’s all about the product which means expanding our collection of original styles – one of the significant growth areas – and creating new product and technologies.
Styles and trends are constantly changing and we do our best to meet the needs of our customers, but we also don’t want to be a slave to trends. Our boots are classic and timeless.
The demographics, and thus the product demands, vary largely based on geographic location. Our international customer desires more fashion-forward styles such as our Original service and engineer boots, while our core customers here in the States demand a durable, utility boot that can stand up to the rigors of his job or his lifestyle.
At Chippewa Boots, it is very important that we stay true to our heritage and the authenticity that defines our brand and our boots. That is where we won’t compromise.”
DH: You are part of an enviably sound corporate family now, does that encourage you to take risks or do things differently?
LL: “Being part of the Berkshire family of brands is a privilege and we are thankful for this, of course. But it doesn’t change how we operate our business. We were bought many years ago because we have an iconic, established, successful brands and the expectation is that we will continue to be good stewards of these brands and this company.
Chippewa Boots belongs to the Justin Brands, Inc. family of brands. We were founded in 1901 and stay true to our roots and brand philosophy, as a company built on a contemporary perspective of historical, political and cultural events that have shaped our nation. This viewpoint is a retrospect, expressing the strength and struggle of the American endeavor.”
DH: If we were down to our last $300, should we buy a pair of Chippewa boots?
LL: “Purchasing a pair of Chippewa boots is a must for anyone who desires a high-quality, authentic product. Each pair of Chippewa Boots is handcrafted with the finest materials, resulting in a product that is unparalleled.
We put everything we have into each pair of boots so you can get everything out of them for years to come. You can rest assured that every time you pull-on or lace-up your Chippewa Boots, you’re wearing boots that will stand up to the elements and demands of wherever your life takes you and you’ll look GREAT wearing them!
And, you’re supporting a company that supports handcrafted in the USA. How could you not buy a pair??”
Go On Then, We’re Sold!
Stocks ran low over the summer but the collection is now largely replenished. Click here to view the collection online.
Denimhunters’ current favourites are the Black Odessa General Utility Service boot, the Chocolate Apache Classic 6-incher and the totally tasty Tan Renegade Oxford Shoe, which goes especially well with denim for the long winter months ahead.
But, that’s just a personal view. Fact is, you probably wouldn’t kick any of them out of bed for eating crackers.
We have a pair of the 7″ Black Whirlwind Engineers on road test at the moment. Stay tuned for a full product review and to see if they live up to their star-billing.