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How do you rewrite the script of apparel design and manufacturing? How do you make it more efficient, innovative, environmentally friendly, and create skilled manufacturing jobs in the White Mountains of New Hampshire?
For decades the way to bring a new consumer apparel product to market followed a relatively straightforward pattern. Locate your management team in an aspirational location with a trendy vibe. Hire a design team to make location-inspired clothing: beachwear, athleisure, et cetera. Source manufacturing from overseas — “designed in California, made in Vietnam”, and spend lots of money on marketing.
Burgeon Outdoor, located in Lincoln, NH is rewriting this script. Burgeon’s Founder, Rudy Glocker, believes that a domestic supply chain is critical to the success of their business. “We are committed to investing in and growing our domestic manufacturing capabilities.”
“We believe that by making our products in house, we not only make better products, but can bring innovative products to market much faster. Our manufacturing facilities in Lincoln and Gorham are a key competitive advantage.” By investing in its people, trusting its suppliers, and designing, developing, and testing products in house, Burgeon is changing the apparel industry.
This month, Burgeon will release its highly technical Tuckerman Hardshell Jacket and Pants. The Tuckerman is an all-mountain product that is waterproof, windproof, highly breathable, and proudly made in the White Mountains of New Hampshire.
Extreme skiing was born in Tuckerman Ravine. The steep terrain, ample snowfall, and harsh winter conditions have kept people skiing into July. In 1937 it was the location for the first Giant Slalom held in the US. Skiers have made a pilgrimage to this sacred place for approximately 100 years. Mt. Washington, however, offers more than just extreme skiing. Rock climbing, ice climbing, and hiking options are plentiful.
Burgeon wanted to create a backcountry focused, but all- mountain, jacket and pants to handle both the worst and the best Tuckerman ravine and the White Mountains has to offer. As Glocker notes, “the weather on Mt. Washington can go from sunny and warm to 100 mph winds and freezing rain in a matter of hours. We needed to ensure our product could handle these conditions and everything in between.”
Burgeon approached the Tuckerman as not just a product, but a mission. A mission to prove that the highly technical gear required for adventuring in the White Mountains could also be manufactured in the shadows of those very mountains.
To complete the Tuckerman challenge, Burgeon needed to identify materials, design a product, prototype and test it, then manufacture it — all in six months or less. Most companies would allocate 18-24 months to bring a product like this to market. By doing the design and prototyping in-house and using domestic vendors, Burgeon was able to innovate and create the Tuckerman faster and more efficiently than its peers.
For any jacket, the material choice is critical. The material needed to be waterproof, windproof, breathable, lightweight, and functional for skiing, hiking, climbing, and more. After a great deal of research, Burgeon selected Polartec Neoshell, the most breathable and durable waterproof material in the market.
Through its network of suppliers, Burgeon was able to access the canceled orders of other Neoshell customers to get the necessary material in a matter of weeks, as opposed to months. Not only did this speed up its time to market, but it makes the Tuckerman extraordinarily environmentally friendly by eliminating manufacturing waste.
A jacket, however, is more than the material. Zippers, thread, velcro, and many other trims are needed to complete the product. Through its network of domestic suppliers, Burgeon was able to cut the lead time for many of these materials from months to weeks.
Picking materials, zippers, and thread is only one part of creating a new product. How do you design it, prototype and test it, then bring it to life? How do you do it in a couple of months as opposed to seasons?
Harnessing its design team, Burgeon has brought dozens of products to life such as its award-winning Flume Baselayer, Highlander Hoodie, and Hearthside Fleece. But the Tuckerman is far more technical than these pieces — involving a much more intensive process.
When a legendary mountaineering manufacturer closed its facility in Gorham NH, Burgeon moved quickly to hire its highly talented staff. This investment in people not only preserved jobs in New Hampshire, but created a dedicated team focused on creating the Tuckerman line. Their experience in highly technical apparel would not only improve the quality of the product but the speed to market.
As with any new product development, the inevitable hiccups occurred. Burgeon had to navigate a supply chain in recovery, higher prices, last minute product adjustments, and more. Burgeon was able to quickly overcome these challenges due to its reliance and investment in a US based supply chain – eliminating issues such as long transit times, port delays, and overseas COVID lockdowns. The resilience of Burgeon’s supply chain is only surpassed by the resilience of its products.
The Tuckerman Collection is now in production at Burgeon’s Gorham, NH facility. New sizes and colors are available weekly. Click here to see what is available or request to know when your size/color is available.
By investing in people, their technical capabilities, and domestic sourcing, Burgeon was able to bring the Tuckerman product line to life in less than six months. Glocker commented, “I am extremely proud of the whole Burgeon team and grateful for the support of our suppliers. Through hard work, skill, and determination, we were able to bring the Tuckerman product to life in five months. This is an extraordinary accomplishment and this team is what makes Burgeon such a special place and the Tuckerman a special product.”
This waterproof hardshell protects you from winter precipitation and the gusty winds above the treeline. It also allows you to vent off excess heat and moisture on the way to the summit so you don’t overheat. We chose Polartec Neoshell for our Tuckerman products as it is the most breathable waterproof fabric on the market. Both our jacket and pants offer extended zips for venting on those hard uphill climbs.
Shop the Tuckerman Hardshell on Burgeon.com
Named the overall best hiking shirt by Field and Stream, the Flume is a blend of Tencel (made from trees!) and spandex. Tencel is naturally wicking, naturally odor resistant, thermo-regulating, and crazy comfortable. The ¼ zip adds a bit of style for your après hike or ski activities ensuring comfort on the mountain and style at the watering hole.
Shop the Flume Crew Neck on Burgeon.com
This soft and cozy hoodie will keep you warm on the trails and look good in town. Made of a luxurious microfleece fabric, this hoodie will ensconce you in comfort and warmth. The material has a distinctive and stylish waffle pattern to give the product additional depth as well as contrast.
Shop the highlander hoodie on Burgeon.com
Sponsored by Burgeon Outdoor
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