Jansport is an American backpack company founded in Seattle, Washington in 1967. Created by Murray Pletz, his wife Janice “Jan” Lewis and Skip Yowell, it has become one of the largest apparel companies in the world known for their signature panel loading daypack and convertible travel pack. In 1986 the company was purchased by American clothing corporation VF. Today the company has multiple facilities and offices since closing down the distribution facility in Everett, Washington in 1971. Their current headquarters is in Alameda, California sharing a division with fellow outdoor apparel companies Napapijri and The North Face. They also have a warehouse in Appleton, Wisconsin that holds its partner apparel merchandise.
For years Jansport has successfully sold backpack all across the world. In the 1990’s their new model referred to as a “convenience bag” made record sells bring in upwards of 150 -200 million dollars. In 2002 Jansport introduced a line of business casual luggage as well as cross-over packs and shoulder bags. The company then acquired Eastpak, one of their largest competitors gaining around $90 million in profit a year primarily in Europe. Other primary competitors are L.L. Bean Inc., Samsonite Corporation, and The Timberland Company. American mountaineer Jim Whittaker brought a lot of press attention to Jansport by climbing K2 with the Jansport Alpine Phantom Pack, which he co designed in 1978. In 1996 Skip Yowell and Jim Thomsen took Jansport to Europe introducing a new waterproof rubber based day-pack at a sport convention; The sales from that one day pack alone were over $20 million annually.
Skip Yowell released a long awaited memoir of his life and Jansport called “The Hippie Guide to Climbing the Corporate Ladder & Other Mountains: How JanSport Makes it Happen”
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