KEEN FOOTWEAR OPENS NEW FACTORY IN THE MIDDLE OF THE PANDEMIC
Team Plans, Builds and Opens New Dominican Republic Factory Without Leaving Home
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PORTLAND, Ore. (July 8, 2021) – KEEN, Inc. (KEEN), the footwear brand on a mission to make outside inclusive and accessible to all, expanded its own supply chain capabilities during the pandemic and today announced the opening of its newest owned factory, KEEN Dominican Republic (KDR), spanning 55,000 square feet in Santiago. Working from its headquarters in Portland, Oregon with an international team with offices in the U.S., Thailand, China and the Dominican Republic, KEEN handled every planning detail via video calls and literally no plane travel. Specifically, KEEN will produce its footwear, led by the iconic Newport H2 Sandal, turning out 500,000 pairs a year, beginning 2021, with the capacity to grow to 2,000,000 pairs in the future. The first pairs are scheduled to arrive to KEEN Garages and at retail in July, 2021
At a time when the global pandemic was forcing many factories to stop production, KEEN went against the odds to open a new one. KEEN established new processes and systems enabling teams to work completely virtually. This process included daily video briefings between its manufacturing experts from five countries on three continents. KEEN leaned heavily on technology, including video conferencing, to replace what would have been hundreds of in-person visits while laying out the factory plan, testing machinery, commercializing products, building samples, hiring production and support personnel and qualifying production lines.
As part of KEEN’s Detox the Planet initiative, the KDR factory will adhere to KEEN’s stringent Restricted Substances List (RSL). This means that all footwear will be consciously created to minimize impact on the planet and will be PFC Free, and free of antimicrobials, pesticides and biocides.
“I am incredibly proud of what we accomplished as a team to have this factory up and running in less than six months,” said Ross Vonhoff, senior vice president of global product and manufacturing. “In normal times, starting a new production factory is a complex process that not only entails onsite knowledge, collaboration but also a dedicated team working together on-site. It’s a great feat to open a factory without setting foot in the country, in the middle of a global pandemic. We did it safely, on time and on budget. Amazing!”
Driven by a passion to make the outside and trades accessible for all, KEEN is a values-led, family-owned footwear brand from Portland, Oregon committed to creating original and versatile products, enhancing lives, and inspiring adventures outside. Founded in 2003, it launched a revolution in the industry with the debut of the Newport adventure sandal. It continues to launch game-changing products and establish new standards for performance, comfort, and design while actively working to Detox the Planet. The brand formalized its values commitment under the banner of The KEEN Effect. Learn more at www.keenfootwear.com