Real workers don't leave home without first donning their Carhartts. The clothing maker produces rugged overalls, flame-resistant workwear, outerwear, sweatshirts, sportswear, and pants favored by farmers and other hard-working people. Its products have even appeared in such films as The Perfect Storm and The Horse Whisperer. Most of Carhartt's items, sold to men, women, and children, are made in US factories; the rest are produced in Mexico and Europe. Besides its own shops, Carhartt's apparel is carried by major chains, including Bass Pro Shops and Cabela's, and international retailers in North America, Europe, Japan, and Australia. The family of founder Hamilton Carhartt owns the firm, which was founded in 1889.
Working to broaden its appeal beyond its blue-collar core, Carhartt in 2011 opened its first urban retail location as it enters the fashion market and cashes in on its cult following. The boutique store, which spans 3,000 sq. ft., is located in Chicago and represents a first in Carhartt's long history. The company test-marketed having a retail presence a couple years ago when Carhartt licensed its name for two retail stores in Oregon and Utah and turned a profit there. Subsequently, it bought back the licensed stores and opened the Chicago location. As part of Carhartt's retail strategy, the apparel company is expanding prudently, looking for underpenetrated markets such as Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Milwaukee, and Boston. Indeed, the company's exploring the retail sales channel as its core customers -- carpenters, plumbers, and construction workers -- have been stung by the stalled economy.
Carhartt's high-end workwear became popular in the 1990s and has earned a following. The clothing company works to maintain its longtime customer base by producing high-quality apparel and footwear while others in the industry have cut corners to boost their bottom line.
To expand the scope of its workwear, Carhartt has added flame-resistant women's apparel to its products portfolio. The flame-resistant collection is cut for the female form and complements the company's other offerings for women, including jackets, jeans, sweats, and accessories. – less