C.C. Filson, a Seattle-based manufacturer/marketer of outdoor apparel, luggage, and leather accessories, has been sold to a former executive of Polo Ralph Lauren Corp. and an equity investment firm. Former Polo group president Doug Williams and Brentwood Associates bought Filson on Jan. 1 from Stan Kohls, who has owned it since 1981. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Terri Young, Filson’s director of public relations and catalog development, says that Kohls will serve as a board member of the company now known as Filson Holdings.
Founded in 1897, Filson caters primarily to men — outdoor enthusiasts ages 35-50. The $20 million company, which launched its catalog in 1914, currently mails four 126-page seasonal catalogs; it has had a Website since 1999. Filson’s average order size is in the $100-$200 range.
Filson now operates just one store, in Seattle, but its new owners plan to expand further into retail by opening up to 15 stores throughout the U.S. during the next two years. Young says that Filson is also planning to launch a line of outdoor casual wear dubbed the Lodge Collection.
Brentwood Associates, which carries more than $750 million in capital, is no stranger to the catalog world: Five years ago the firm purchased an undisclosed share of Omaha, NE-based gifts and novelties cataloger Oriental Trading Co.