Eddie Bauer (1899-1986)
Did you know that Eddie Bauer was a real person? Born and raised in the state of Washington, he was a husband, a father, a businessman, an innovator and a true outdoorsman. Eddie Bauer lived a full life filled with ideas and inventions. Below are some of the highlights of his extraordinary life.
Eddie Bauer was born on Orcas Island in the San Juan Islands in Washington on October 19.
He got his first job in sporting goods with Piper & Taft. In addition to his basic duties running errands, washing windows and doing other odd jobs, Ed would display his catches on ice at the entrance of the store. This began to develop his reputation as a top fisherman and made his name well known among Seattle's sports enthusiasts.
He turned his love of the outdoors into a viable business, opening Eddie Bauer's Sport Shop in Seattle, Washington.
He established the Eddie Bauer Creed and Guarantee that is still the foundation for the company's customer service today.
He developed and patented a regulation badminton shuttlecock (the Bauer Shuttlecock) that remains the standard for the sport today.
He created the "Skyliner," the first quilted goose down jacket in North America, a design he would patent in 1940. This innovation revolutionized outerwear as the down jacket has become a classic American sportswear piece.
He began producing garments and sleeping bags in support of the war effort. In the middle of the military garment label sewn into each of these products were the words, "Eddie Bauer Seattle U.S.A." At the end of the war, soldiers from all over the country wrote to him based on that label. "Where can I get more of that down stuff? You saved my life!"
He published the company's first catalog, "Eddie Bauer Alaska Outfitter," selling garments and sleeping bags insulated with goose down.
He was both physically and financially drained as a result of all the work he did to support the war effort. As a result, he reached out to his friend and hunting partner William Niemi for help with his business, transferring all of the common stock in Eddie Bauer, Inc. to Mr. Niemi.
He once again became a shareholder in the business forming a fifty-fifty partnership with Mr. Niemi.
He and his son, Eddie C. Bauer sold their interest in the company to William Niemi, Sr. and William Niemi, Jr. After the sale, he kept busy hunting, fishing and bird shooting. He also raised Labrador Retrievers and created new products such as the B&B flasher, a trolling lure he patented.
He was named "Retriever Breeder of the Year" by the Professional Retriever Trainers Association. His lifelong love of dogs became focused on Labrador retrievers in 1930 when he heard an amazing report from Canada of a young black Lab's skill and strength. He drove straight to British Columbia and paid the owner $65 for "Blackie," the first Labrador retriever in Washington State.
Eddie Bauer died at the age of 86 on April 18.
Eddie's spirit and legacy lives on at Eddie Bauer. The Company continues to build upon the foundation that he built with a great love for the outdoors, quality you can trust, passionate product design, great customer service, and a spirit of innovation.