American Woolen Company
Here is a short video made on 8 September 2022 when I was at American Woolen to pick up the 2nd tranche of our Batch 7 FullWeight Lynx Fabric (some of which is now being turned into Anoraks at Factory8). I love Jacob's backstory, and his vision of where we need to go. Jacob and his company are completely vital Partners of WeatherWool!
NOTE: AMERICAN WOOLEN WAS FEATURED ON MIKE ROWE'S HOW AMERICA WORKS.
On 23 May 2022, American Woolen was featured on How America Works, on Fox Business, hosted by Mike Rowe, who became very well known because of his TV Show Dirty Jobs. The hour-long program gave a great sense of the many complex steps involved -- and problems that must be solved -- when turning woolen fiber into woolen fabric.
Some background on the show, and some photos, are available at the Journal Inquirer, which covers AWC's home turf.
Now that the show has aired, it can be streamed on Fox Nation.
American Woolen Company of Stafford Springs, Connecticut has primary responsibility for turning our clean fiber into finished Fabric ready for the tailors. AWC is our absolutely vital Partner.
We view American Woolen as something like a General Contractor because they not only perform critical operations for us, they advise us and coordinate our manufacture with other Partners who have supplies or equipment that AWC does not (yet?!) have or make in their own plant.
For "official" information about AWC, please visit American Woolen's own website. What follows is my own take!
The American Woolen plant dates from the mid-19th Century.
In the photo (this is my quickie cellphone shot) is Jacob Long, owner of AWC.
This part of the plant was built in 1841.
Way back when, industry was a huge part of the Connecticut River Valley, and the area was a true cornerstone of the Industrial Revolution in the USA. But so much of it is gone now.
For many years, the American Woolen plant had been owned and operated by Loro Piana, one of the world's most-revered textile companies. In the 1980s, Loro Piana sent career textile professional Giuseppe Monteleone from Italy to manage the plant.
In about 2014, when LP was 200 years old, the Loro Piana family sold almost all their interest in the company to LVMH Holdings. But LVMH didn't want a plant in the USA. Jacob Long was a banker involved in the overall LP/LVMH transaction, and, together with his wife, took a tremendous flyer. Despite having no industrial background at all, Jacob bought the American Woolen plant. That part of the story appeals a lot to Debby and me, who also come from the financial industry and had never made anything but symbolic products until we decided to take a shot at WeatherWool.
There is another striking parallel between the LP/LVMH transaction and what we experienced. WeatherWool had worked for several years with Woolrich, a grand name in the history of the woolen industry in the USA. But the Rich family, also after nearly 200 years, sold their interests in Woolrich to a European company that also did not want any US operations. But there was no "Jacob Long" for Woolrich, their plant closed, and the town of Woolrich, Pennsylvania, took a huge hit.
When Woolrich-USA closed, we began to work with American Woolen. Woolrich had not produced luxury woolens until they worked with us. And so Loro Piana's heritage of true luxury garments makes American Woolen a great fit for us.
Giuseppe Monteleone is Plant Manager at AWC. We gave Giuseppe a Black Anorak in October 2021 and we hope he will wear it in all the very variable and often serious weather conditions that occur through a New England winter. We love for our Partners to spend time in our garments so they can better understand what we are doing and help us improve.
Many of the people on Giuseppe's team have also been working at the AWC plant since the 1980s. When it comes to luxury woolens -- (Hardcore Luxury® !!), they have a lot to say. We'll get Giuseppe on video soon, I hope.
In June of 2021, Debby and I had dinner with Jacob and Giuseppe.
When AWC has finished Fabric, I usually pick it up myself. I made a "mill run" on 8 September 2022, and did an interview with Jacob. Two videos appear below ... first, a short clip of Jacob loading my trailer. Jacob looks like a marathon runner and the first clip gives a great sense of working-man-Jacob:
In this next video, Jacob talks about his background and his plans for American Woolen.
THANKS JACOB! -- AS ALWAYS!!!
For further information about WeatherWool production, please visit the How WeatherWool is made page.
THANK YOU --- Ralph
13 September 2022 --- Ralph