Posted on May 11 2017
C.C Filson Co. was founded in Seattle Washington in 1879 to outfit the explorers of the Alaskan gold rush. Over the years the company has grown to hold a reputation for the highest quality. Filson's outdoor clothing and gear are backed with a lifetime guarantee and over 100 years of experience. While on a recent trip to Washington state I had the chance to visit Filson's Seattle factory with my brother. We are crazy about Filson goods at Tigertree and were looking forward to witnessing how they manufacture them firsthand.
The factory is located in the shipyards and docks of downtown Seattle. With manufacturing across the United States, this location is special because of Filson's Seattle heritage. Free tours run twice a week through the factory, and getting everything scheduled was easy.
The factory is divided into three levels, with a small atrium in front connecting the first and second floors. The entrance is designed so that the first thing customers see is the factory, located on the ground floor of the building. From the atrium you can also see the flagship store, which is built above the factory. The stairs leading to the store look through a glass wall into the manufacturing space so customers see the products being made before a purchase. Everywhere we looked we could see interior design intent on honoring the history of the area. Near the entrance a long case displays objects from Filson's heritage and a large Totem scuplture is built in the atrium; designed and built by a local Native American craftsman. After a look around the foyer we met our guide Brian and entered the factory.
This location is where Filson's core line of bags are made. The space was clean and organized although busy, and the workers looked relaxed but focused. Brian pointed out that Filson often hires specialist workers from other countries to ensure the best quality. Employees of the factory are trained on multiple tasks and are able to move between workstations. Raw materials and hardware were clearly visible in bins and carts, but everything clearly had a place. The bags are checked for quality control at each phase of construction. An additional quality check takes place once each bag is finished. This means that the bags are rigorously examined to ensure the highest quality.
After the tour we spent some time walking around the beautiful factory store upstairs. Adjoining the store is the restoration department. It's here that Filsonreworks broken and abandoned items into new products. The unique selection of items are only available for sale at the factory store. The design of the space reflected the history of the brand well, and we enjoyed our time in the building. I've long respected Filson for their commitment to quality and durability; my visit to their factory only strengthened that opinion.