Reinventing Capitalism, the Burgeon Way (Part 1)
Note: This is part 1 of a 2-part series Burgeon ran in the Boston Globe in the Fall of 2022.
Born in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, Burgeon Outdoor is reinventing capitalism one piece of apparel at a time. Burgeon’s founder, Rudy Glocker, envisions a world filled with thriving mountain communities that positively impact their economy, environment, and community equally. Within Burgeon, he has found a way to make that dream a reality.
Burgeon Outdoor was founded in Lincoln, NH in 2019. Over the past three years, Burgeon has successfully fostered a sustainable business model that is profitable while still being mindful of the environment and giving back to their local communities. Since inception, they’ve expanded and now manufacture in two locations: their original Lincoln, NH studio and a recently opened production facility in Gorham, NH.
Burgeon is deeply rooted in sustainable production, growth, and employment. By making the majority of their products within their Lincoln and Gorham facilities, they keep the labor local. Local employees improve the chances that the money continues to circulate throughout their community. It also preserves quality jobs in the area, which is good for everyone that lives there.
Even though their focal point may be having a hyper-local business, they also have an online storefront. If you buy one of their products online, such as the award-winning Flume Baselayer – Field & Stream’s 2021 pick for overall best hiking shirt, you are still importing resources into their community, further advancing their mission.
A simple act like buying a luxuriously comfortable and practical Highlander Hoodie keeps their New Hampshire mountain community afloat by giving locals more than just a place to work. It gives all full-time employees sustainable wages, healthcare coverage, and monthly bonuses based on sales. Add in flexible working arrangements, paid vacation, sick days, and volunteer opportunities and you can understand how it gives them a career, not just another job.
The majority of their team is made up of production professionals that make the clothing in both Lincoln and Gorham. This creates a unique shopping experience as customers and visitors can see exactly where and in what conditions the clothing is manufactured.
Burgeon sources the majority of their fabric and materials from domestic suppliers. This is not only an economic decision but an environmental one as well. Domestic mills follow stringent US environmental laws and standards, the transportation impact is lower, and Burgeon utilizes ‘deadstock’ whenever possible. Deadstock is still first quality fabric but is considered waste in the textile industry because another company canceled their order or the color wasn’t just right. These actions also have the added benefits of building critical manufacturing skills here in the United States and shortening their supply chain.
A shorter supply chain means they can be more reactive to changes or delays and respond more rapidly to consumer demand. Instead of having to halt sales and production due to supply chain issues, they can react to production quickly because they are buying, producing, and selling within a local market. It also eliminates a significant amount of plastic and packaging waste that you typically find from other apparel brands.
With such a strong focus on purchasing as much as possible from local businesses and making products in-house, it only makes sense to give back in other ways. Burgeon donates 5% of its sales to its community and environmental efforts and adds another 5% to a bonus fund for their production team.
For example, when you purchase a Highlander Hoodie for $89.95, $4.50 goes directly to Burgeon’s community and environmental efforts. This includes things such as trail maintenance, carbon-neutral efforts, and working with local non-profits to increase access to the outdoors. An additional $4.25 goes directly to the people who made your hoodie. All employees directly participate in the success of the company.
Burgeon is more than a clothing company. They are reinventing capitalism by focusing not only on their bottom line but on how their activities impact and strengthen their environment and community. The positive impact they are creating in the White Mountains of New Hampshire goes far beyond their financial statements; it is about helping to create a healthy flourishing economy, preserving their local environment, and creating a bond in the mountain communities of New Hampshire.
Click here for part 2 of “Reinventing capitalism, the Burgeon way.”