Darn Tough Vermont
DARN TOUGH VERMONT
Family Business Profile: DARN TOUGH VERMONT
Over 30 years ago the Cabot family opened a hosiery mill in the small town of Northfield, Vermont and began making socks for a variety of retailers. Cabot Hosiery focused almost entirely on knitting socks for the private label market, with major customers like Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy, J Crew, Talbots and various big box outlets. Ric Cabot moved to VT in 1989 and joined his father, Marc Cabot, in the family business at Cabot Hosiery. Ric is the third generation of the Cabots to be in the sock knitting business.
In the early 2000s Cabot Hosiery was in jeopardy when competitors began outsourcing their manufacturing overseas and offering wholesalers cheaper prices. The company lost many of its private label customers to cheaply made imports. Determined to save the jobs of his dedicated employees and to save the family business, Ric Cabot started the premium, performance sock brand, Darn Tough Vermont in 2004. Over a year was spent testing yarn combinations and designs to create a sock with superior fir, comfort and durability. Ric knew he could make a sock that was superior to anything else on the market. The result is Darn Tough Vermont socks – the only socks with an unconditional lifetime guarantee.
Through this brand Cabot has successfully revitalized his family’s three-generation company and kept it in the small Vermont town where it has been for decades, providing over 120 dependable jobs. During a time of outsourcing and corporate takeovers, Darn Tough has remained a local company with the mission to provide the most comfortable and durable socks you can buy. Ric Cabot prides himself on keeping his business local. A sign on the mill wall proudly states, “Nobody ever outsourced anything for quality.” Along with this, Cabot has been quoted saying that “if you are serious about making something, you make it yourself.”
Darn Tough offers both Specialty and Tactical product lines. Darn Tough Vermont’s Specialty line offers footwear in six active wear categories: ski/ride, hike/trek, run/bike, lifestyle, hunt and kid’s styles – all of which carry the industry’s only unconditional lifetime guarantee.
Darn Tough Vermont’s Tactical line of socks has been a top-choice for U.S. Warfighters. In October of 2011, Darn Tough was awarded a contract from the U.S. Marine Corps for 450,000 pairs of its Merino wool Boot Socks. The company also continues to deliver on a four-year contract with PEO Soldier for the Team Soldier Certified Gear sock of the U.S. Army’s Fire Resistant Environmental Ensemble (FREE).
“Our troops need the best equipment and their families back in the States need jobs. Working with the military allows us to achieve both.” – Shannon McKenna, director of government sales at Darn Tough.
Darn Tough’s products are distinguished from industry competitors by 100 percent USA manufacturing; small-needle knitting which results in more stitches per inch and exceptional durability and cushioning; True-Seamless™ technology; and an exclusive blend of either Coolmax® or ultra-fine merino wool for comfort, fit, durability and moisture management.
Darn Tough Vermont socks are available at outdoor retailers nationwide, including stores like Cabelas, REI, and Eastern Mountain Sports (EMS). They are also widely available online from websites like ShoeBuy.com, Backcountry.com, GearX.com and Amazon.com.
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