oday we want to talk about vans. A brand that is already legendary and was born humbly under the sun of California.
The origin of Vans goes back to March 1966, when Paul Van Doren and three partners opened their first store to the public. Paul Van Doren had gained experience in footwear manufacturing in the 1960s and decided to move to retail. At that time, the Van Doren store was a unique concept because they made the shoes and sold them directly to the public.
I guess it is unlikely that at the time, one could even dream that this shoe model, like the brand, becomes what it is today.
The company listed on the Van Doren Rubber Company and the Van Doren shoes were simply known as vans.
The following year, the first major expansion of the brand took place when a new store was opened almost every week, after a strict sequence in which Van Doren sought a place on Monday, signed the contract on Tuesday and established this last. On Wednesday, he added shelves, merchandise and decorative items on Thursdays and Fridays, hired a manager on Saturday and trained employees on Sunday.
These openings were the first major increase in van sales, while allowing the brand to be in touch with the public. From this intimate relationship arise the first complaints about the sole of the shoes, because they broke and did not help much. To solve this problem, Vans added vertical lines to the pattern in the form of diamonds and was patented.
When skaters started demanding new designs and colors, Vans reacted by releasing the Vans # 95 model, known today as “The Era”, designed by legendary skaters Tony Alva and Stacy Peralta and offering a two-color design (red and black). blue). From then on, the pickups are the shoes chosen by all the skaters of the generation … which supposes the beginning of the association that the brand has always had with the sport.
In 1976, the percentage of each member of the society was updated and distributed among the four partners. At the same time, James Van Doren took the lead and the main goal was expansion.
For that, he was helped by the new fashion sport that hit California, the BMX. From the first moment, Vans was also the shoe chosen by BMX riders.
During those years, Van Doren finally made a wrong decision. To fight against the major brands of sports teams, he expanded the Vans catalog and created specialized sports shoes in many sports such as basketball, football, wrestling, boxing, etc. At the same time, these big companies had moved their production to Asian countries where there was labor. Much cheaper and regulations against the environment were more permissive, but Van Doren decided to keep his production at home.
If bad news was scarce, in 1984 they were subjected to a labor inspection which resulted in the arrest of some 150 of their alleged illegal workers.
This caused the stopping of the Slip-On fever.
In 21 months, Van Doren lost about $ 3.6 million, adding to the $ 12 million debt they already had. When the bank wanted to recover $ 6.7 million of this debt in 1984, it had no choice but to declare bankruptcy.
That would have made any business would have closed directly … but not the Vans.
In just three years, Vans came out of bankruptcy. In 1987, the demand for his sneakers was still very strong and the 2 million pairs that left his factory assumed sales of $ 50 million, with which Van Doren returned to give profits. At the time, the demand for vans was increasing enormously internationally, especially in Mexico and Europe … and one-third of its turnover came from its bespoke shoes, where stores could order anything which combination of the catalog and have it in their store. stores in 5 days, while the rest of the brands worked with a duration of 9 months. This was due to the fact that all brands already had their production centers in Asia while Vans remained loyal to manufacturing in the United States.
From there, the original story of Vans ends, but the brand continues to fight as a brand for decades and is still part of the references in urban footwear and clothing.