As we continue to celebrate our 40th anniversary, our President and CEO Chris Bradley shares his thoughts on what inspired him to create our online Cuddledown “Factory Seconds” store.Cuddledown President and CEO Chris Bradley:
We recently launched a selection of “factory seconds” on our website, something that I have wanted to do for years. When I was a kid my mom would take us every summer to the Bass factory store in Wilton (west of Farmington, Maine) to buy our shoes for the year – a favorite destination for every New England value shopper. As kids, shopping for shoes in the middle of summer when we could be swimming was always a drag! The store clerk helping us saw 1, 2, 3, 4 sets of long skinny feet, and then one set of short and wide and said “hey, you’re not in this family!” He was right – it was my sister’s friend!
Factory outlets in those days were the real deal – nothing like the “outlet malls” that have spread all over the country, selling goods that are typically “de-engineered” versions of the top line, and not really a bargain. In those days a factory store sold merchandise made on-site at the factory, that didn’t quite measure-up to the brand’s quality standards. Rather than first quality, this class of goods was known as second quality, and it was often a challenge to spot the flaws.
Factory stores attracted a group of shoppers that would be hard-pressed to pay full price. These were the same folks that re-used aluminum foil, and stored bars of soap in their dresser drawers so it would harden in the air and last longer – oh, they had the money to pay full retail, but it just wasn’t in their nature. My mother referred to this frugality as being “Scotch.” My hope is that our selection of factory seconds will attract a group of shoppers that appreciate Cuddledown’s long lasting quality, and do not mind a few flaws if they feel that they are getting a great price!