Vans celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. His story begins with the name Paul Van Doren. He was born in 1930 and spent his childhood on the outskirts of Boston. The young man began his career when he decided to leave school in the 8th grade. In addition, Paul is seriously interested in horse racing. The mother did not approve of her son’s choice and helped to get a job at the Randy plant. She herself also worked there. It was a momentous moment for Van Doren. At the end of 20 years, he made a dizzying career with this company and became vice president.
In the early 60s of the last century, Randy was one of three shoe manufacturers that were leaders in this market. The company’s weak point was the Gardenwell plant on the West Coast, which only caused losses. It was there that Paul was sent with his brother Jim and their friend Gordan Lee. The purpose of the trip was to take production out of the negative and make it profitable. After 8 months, they not only completed their task, but also made the branch in California more profitable than in Boston. It was then that the idea of our own production appeared.
Vans factory 1966
The Van Doren Rubber factory was launched in 1966; its founders were the same Van Doren brothers Paul and Jimm, their friends Gordon Lee and Serj D’Elia. The construction took only a year. But with the equipment for production it was more difficult, they had to buy it all over America. At that time, only a few companies produced vulcanized shoes.
Vans joined them. The first store opened in Costa Mesa, California, a couple of weeks later. In addition to the already existing shoes, the client could choose the tailoring of any model, in accordance with his color preferences. Everything was done in order to please the customers. The sneakers were numbered instead of names.
At the very beginning of the journey, a pair of women’s shoes at Vans cost 2.29, and men’s shoes were almost 2 times more expensive. The brand has provided footwear to Catholic schools and cheerleading teams. Shoes were made to match the color of their uniforms. In order not to waste money on advertising, Paul decided to invest it in a quality sneaker.
Vans sneaker pattern
This is how the world saw “indestructible” authentics. The sole in them was 2 times thicker, and a solid and durable canvas was used for the upper. None of the competitors had anything like it. In appearance, these shoes were the most ordinary, but their quality was impressive. The sneakers were durable and sturdy. The marketing ploy was the conventional slogan “Tell your friends about Vans.” Instead of expensive advertising, Paul’s children were handing out flyers. And their mother, Paul’s wife, worked as a manager. Retail outlets grew like mushrooms. In the first few months, 10 of them were opened. For a year and a half, the number increased 5 times.
In the 70s, California experienced the unprecedented popularity of skateboarding, all young people skated. Every active lifestyle lover was looking for good, quality footwear at an affordable price. Most often, Vans sneakers were their choice. They were ideal for riding: they did not wear out on the skateboard for a long time, did not tear or wear out.
Sneakers by Vans
The Van Dorens have always known how to ride the wave of success. As soon as two skate guys ordered their own designs from them, the idea was born to release a new series called Off The Wall. It went on sale in 1976. It was on the skaters that Vans staked their bets. The most famous skaters were paid simply to buy Vans sneakers. They traveled, rode and participated in photo shoots. They were imitated, they wanted to be like them. And shoe sales grew at an astronomical rate.
A distinctive feature of the founders of the Vans shoe empire is a subtle flair for fashion trends. Paul’s son drew attention to the fact that schoolchildren are drawing a chess texture on the shoes. I liked this idea, they picked it up and released a series of slip-ons, in this color. And then chance intervened. A longtime acquaintance of the Van Dorenovs, PR manager Betty Mitchell, collaborated with Universal. They asked her to pick up a pair of shoes for the hero of the new film “Easy Times at Ridgemont High School,” starring Sean Penn. Betty recommended the chess slip-ons and they appeared on the screen. The film became a cult, sneakers insanely popular, they wanted to buy them all over the world. Millions of pairs have been sold.
Vans sneaker coloring
The brand had its own secret of popularity. The colors and designs of the shoes were special, not like the others. The secret was simple. A competition was held among children for the best color for sneakers. The winners were awarded prizes, and the manufacturers received a unique, one-of-a-kind design. Potential customer polling yielded results. The company produced the right and desired products. The product has always been in great demand.
The overwhelming success after the film weakened the founders’ intuition. Jimm has long dreamed of expanding production and producing footwear for football, basketball, running, tennis, wrestling and break dance. Paul was always against this idea, but at that time Jimm was the president of Vans. And they began to redo the production. The colossal costs spent on this did not pay off. They could not compete with Nike, Adidas and Puma, the shoes were not sold.
Debts grew and the company was forced to declare itself bankrupt. Lengthy legal proceedings began. Jim lost his chair, and Paul sold his property to pay off his debts. It’s time to sell the company. The first time the deal was canceled by a global market crash. As a result, Vans was bought for 60 million in 1988. After the deal, the company changed course, focusing more on the advertising campaign, rather than trying to achieve manufacturing excellence. Paul Van Duerren was unhappy with the new life of his brainchild.
In the 90s
In the 90s, a new time has come for the brand. Vans agreed to organize a concert tour with Kevin Lyman. After all, potential customers of the brand are schoolchildren and students who lead an active lifestyle and attend concerts of alternative groups. Then they began to get used to the environment of snowboarders. The Vans Warped Tour is a music and sports festival. It successfully combines the spirit of competition and spectacular entertainment. The main audience of guests is teenagers and young people. The event has become international and a million young people attend it every year. The company also actively supports the development of women’s sports.
Since 1998, the brand expanded its horizons and became the owner of the developer of step-in snowboard bindings. 2003 was a more than successful year for the shoe giant. An exclusive collection has been created in collaboration with renowned designers Rebecca Taylor and Luella Bartley. It is sold by the best and most expensive boutiques around the world. In the same year, the world got acquainted with the next brainchild of Vans Agency, a new brand that produces snowboard bindings. “Harvest” 2003 presented the first international tour “Glad to meet you”.
Vans Triple Crown Cup
The venue is 7 European countries and 30 American cities. The Vans Triple Crown Cup is broadcast by NBC Sports and Fox Sports Net, where the company controls the majority of television coverage. More than 50 million viewers watch the competition from their TV screen. The number of spectators present is at least 200 thousand. To the great delight of fans, the production of retro models resumed in the 2000s. It was on time and very helpful. Customers had time to miss the old models and happily bought them. At the moment, the founding family of Van Dorren is still involved in the life of the brand. Although Vans is now owned by another corporation, certain leadership positions remain with members of the Paul and Jim family.
The contribution to the development of sports, music and a healthy lifestyle sets the company apart from other brands. The quality of footwear is legendary. Confirmation of this is the case that happened on the day the first store was opened, in the distant 60s. There was no change in the store and twelve customers were given their shoes for free, asking them to return the next day and pay for their purchase. All 12 people returned.
From 2001 to the present day, the company has supported financially the construction of skateboarding parks and actively supports the development of this industry.