Our story began in Duluth in 1991, when two tradesmen saw guys lugging tools to the job site in all kinds of strange containers, and thought, "There's got to be a better way." So they invented the Bucket Boss®. We carry on their ingenious tradition today with gear that solves problems for working people.
It goes like this.
Back in 1989, there were these two brothers in Duluth – wild and woolly, hippie tradesmen kinda guys, working in the construction business. Every day, they saw guys dragging a jumble of tools from job to job using discarded five-gallon drywall compound buckets. A few of the guys strung wire around the bucket to hold tools, or even used bungee cords. The two brothers thought, "There's got to be a better way." So they invented the Bucket Boss – a ruggedly durable canvas tool organizer that fit on a drywall bucket. Today, Bucket Boss® is a trademark of Pull’r Holding Company, LLC.
One thing led to another, and pretty soon they came out with a little catalog called Portable Products. Under the heading "Job Tough, Job Smart," it offered 8 pages of products dedicated to improving and expanding on existing methods of tool storage, organization and transport. To save money, everything in the catalog was illustrated by a friend of the two brothers, a free spirit named Rick. (Who still illustrates the catalogs today, when he's not off canoeing.) The first outpost that could be called a headquarters was a refurbished barge on the waterfront of Lake Superior in Duluth's shipping district.
In 1993, having had some success, the brothers decided to expand their product line beyond tool organizers, and Portable Products became Duluth Trading. But the idea was still the same: innovation for the job site. Every product was field tested on job sites by a grizzly bunch of construction workers, dock hands, cycle riders, old hippies and other hard-as-nails characters. If those guys couldn't break it, the brothers added it to the line. Everything Duluth Trading offered was designed and tested by tradesmen.
Eventually the company changed hands, but the innovative spirit of the two brothers lived on. The original grizzly bunch of product testers became the Duluth Trades Panel, but they still do the same thing: use, abuse and improve our products by testing them in real-world conditions. Even as you read this, some of them may be testing out an upcoming Duluth item as they frame a new house, demolish a dysfunctional kitchen or bend down to see what's up with a drip-drip-drippy sink. If anything doesn't measure up, they let us know about it in no uncertain terms.
If it was the bucket organizer that got Duluth Trading off the ground, it was the introduction of the Longtail T® Shirtin 2002 that put us on the map. A little bit of innovation – just three extra inches of shirt body length – solved the age old, notorious and much feared problem known as Plumber's Butt. Now thousands of guys who have to bend over when they work can stay in the good graces of their clients and fellow tradesmen. "My husband loves his Longtail T Shirts and so does everyone that's behind him!" wrote a customer from Michigan, expressing a widely-held sentiment.
Of course, there's more to Duluth Trading than tool bagsand Longtail T Shirts. Like our soft-yet-tough Fire Hose® workwear – made of the same rugged canvas that once wrapped fire hoses. Our Presentation Jacket that's tough enough for the job site, yet presentable enough to handle the Suits. Easy-moving F.O.M.™ (Freedom of Movement) shirts and pants that let you bend, stretch and work in complete comfort. Sweat survival gear incorporating the latest in moisture-wicking, antimicrobial technology. And much more.
Through a series of business events we won't bore you with, we are now located in Belleville, Wisconsin. Our headquarters includes a state-of-the-art call center and 140,000 sq. ft. distribution center.
All that expansion led to a whole new business: women's clothing, designed to work as hard and last as long as anything built for men. In 2005, we mailed the first women's catalog to all the Duluth wives who'd told us they were sick of flimsy work wear. Today, thousands of women with tough, dirty jobs and hobbies look to us for workwear tested and approved by real women.
Each year, we get a little better, a little smarter, offering a wider and wider selection, while working hard to remember our roots. We still care deeply about what we are doing, and spend a lot of time on new product development and researching features and durability. We're committed to outstanding, rapid service – when you call, a real person will answer not a machine. And we offer a 100% No Bull satisfaction guarantee. We hope all this makes up for any shortcomings we may have when compared to the industry giants.
The most satisfying aspect of our business remains our interaction with you, so don't hesitate to contact us. We accept phone calls, e-mail, cards, singing telegrams, napkin doodles, manuscripts, letters just to say "hello," photos (nothing racy), diary pages or anything else you'd like to contribute to help make our products, catalog or web site better.
At Duluth, we’re a band of hellbent tinkerers and taunters. We’re fussers, futzers and fine-tuners. We don’t take workwear, or too much of anything for that matter, for what it is. We see things for what they could be and what they should be. Then we find a way to make them exactly that. At Duluth, we get our jollies from prodding all things expected with a big pointy stick. See for yourself…
If you like the sound of all this, you might just be the next perfect addition to our team. We’re growing fast and taking care of business through our catalog, web and retail stores. And that means we need great people with all manner of skills and one singular commitment to outthink, outsmart and outcraft average in everything we do. Check out our open positions — we might just have the perfect spot for you.
We’re headquartered in a little slice of paradise known as Belleville, WI, with offices in Mount Horeb, WI, just on the edge of another paradise named Madison – as in the city countless magazines and newspapers have talked up as one of the healthiest, bike friendliest, tech happiest and cultured cities in the US. We could enthuse at length about the joys of sailing on the lakes here, dining on all manner of cuisine, enjoying one of the country’s largest farmers’ markets, or taking in the rollicking Badgers games, but that would just be bragging. Suffice to say it’s a great place to live – and most of the folks who come out to visit us leave just a tad jealous.
But don’t take our word for it. Magazines, newspapers and websites across the country have waxed poetic about the Madison area. Here’s just a sampling of the rave reviews they’ve given the place we call home.
At Duluth Trading, we pride ourselves on the great work/life balance - and that’s not just the standard HR song and dance. We work hard in the office, have families we love to go home to and believe days off are best spent banging nails and digging in the garden - not worrying about work. We add to that balance by giving great benefits to help our employees and their families live happier and healthier lives.
I have been working at Duluth Trading Company full-time (More than 3 years)
-Outstanding growth of company
-Great opportunities for advancement and to broaden scope of learning
-Roll-up sleeves to assist customer mentality especially during busy season
None that come to mind. Keep up the good work.
I applied online. The process took 6+ months. I interviewed at Duluth Trading Company (Mount Horeb, WI) in January 2015.
Email conversations that abruptly stopped. Wishy washy timeframes and dates so you never know when to be there. Once I finally had a date set, HR called and had to reschedule. It took nearly 6 months or more to meet with someone eye-to-eye. The business is poorly organized and that reality was evident since day one.
Let us know if we're missing any workplace or industry recognition –