Food for Thought: Established 1937, Has that company really been around as long as you thought?

In an eye opening article that I recently discovered thanks to Capitol Hill Style, I was surprised to find that some fashion companies may not be who you think they are.  The brand in question is Madewell, established 1937.  When a company touts, established 1937, it provokes thoughts of quality, tradition, and nostalgia in a customer.  The funny thing is, this name and trademark were purchased by the CEO of J.Crew in 2003 from a company that had been dissolved for many years prior.  Madewell was originally a workforce company, a far cry from the fashionable boutique style clothing offered there today.

The full article, by Dan Nosowitz details how he came upon the store in shock and realized that J.Crew had no part in the 50 year history that was built by his great-grandfather.  It’s a great read and will open your eyes.  Read the full article here.

How many other companies are run by their original owners or their descendants?  You might be surprised.  Levis and L.L. Bean are still in the family, but Frye boots is held by a Chinese company and Kiehls beauty products were bought by L’oreal.  Don’t get me wrong, J.Crew bought the rights to the trademark legally, but it was a bit of an eye opener for me as the daughter of an entrepreneur.

I would be appalled if I ran into an impostor Village Sub Shop (my dad’s business, started by my grandfather in Baltimore).  Nosowitz doesn’t seem angry – just confused.  He embarks on a journey to discover some family history about the company and goes on to interview one of the current lead designers at Madewell.  It’s interesting.  Check it out.

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