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|Articles - December 2010|
|Wednesday, November 17, 2010|
General manager Dave Hansen started working at the business in 1981. A friendly, soft-spoken man who himself could have been an extra in that iconic 1960s movie, he points out during a tour of his shop a collection of jackets hung under a stack of rejected leather. A yellow elk-hide jacket stands out from the others. “That one has been to shows all over Japan,” he says. “I’d say it’s worth, oh, $25,000.”
Ross Langlitz was a motorcycle enthusiast who lost much of his right leg to a bike accident in the 1930s. He founded Langlitz Leathers in 1947 in his basement, where he whipped up jackets for friends. By the time Hansen married Langlitz’s daughter, Jackie, in 1981, it was a well-established shop for leather lovers. The shop relies on word of mouth to promote its product.
The word gets around. Sales exploded in the late 1990s following an article in the Wall Street Journal that featured the shop. “We had a backlog for almost two years,” Hansen says. But following the recent recession, sales declined and the average wait time is now around one month. In the past few years, the shop laid off two of its 15 employees. Despite its drop in sales, its custom jackets still attract customers with money to spare. “The top 1% of the world is a lot of people,” Hansen says. When Hansen bought his first Cascade jacket in the early 1970s, it was $75. It now goes for $850.
Before the recession, Langlitz split its business between catalog and drop-in customers; now 80% of business is non-local. These catalog shoppers are from around the globe, most of them Japanese.
Hansen first started selling to the Japanese market in the early 1990s. “Two [Japanese] sailors came into the shop during the Rose Festival one year and bought jackets,” Hansen says, adding that he gets about one-third of his revenue from Japan.
Hansen credits foreign interest in his products to the rebel-without-a-cause Americana image of their jackets. “Folks like old American stuff made by old American companies.”
Wednesday, July 02, 2014
BY JESSICA RIDGWAY | OB WEB EDITOR
Dress for Success Oregon promotes the economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing professional attire, a network of support and career development tools.
Thursday, June 05, 2014
BY HANNAH WALLACE | OB BLOGGER
What does it take to launch and run one of these mobile food businesses?
Monday, July 14, 2014
BY VIVIAN MCINERNY | OB BLOGGER
Some people think Amazon’s winking eye logo is starting to look like a hoodwink.
Tuesday, June 03, 2014
Citing the transition to catch shares management as a key to rebuilding stocks and reducing bycatch, 13 species caught by the West Coast trawl fishery today earned designation from the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) as sustainable.
Tuesday, July 08, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR
The New Yorker recently published a sharply worded critique of “disruptive innovation,” one of the most widely cited theories in the business world today. The article raises questions about the descriptive value of disruption and innovation — whether the terms are mere buzzwords or actually explain today's extraordinarily complex and fast changing business environment.
Update: We caught up with Portland's Thomas Thurston, who shared his data driven take on the disruption controversy.
Thursday, May 29, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER
Remember mood rings? A team of scientists at Oregon State University has designed what might be considered a 21st-century analog of the ’70s jewelry fad: a bracelet that reveals one’s exposure to pollutants.
Friday, May 30, 2014
Watch the 2014 100 Best Green Companies keynote speech by Eric Friedenwald-Fishman.
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