In 1889, Thomas Kay opened his first mill in Salem, Oregon where his eldest daughter, Fannie, learned the textile business. When she married retail merchant C.P. Bishop, a complementary combination of merchandising and manufacturing expertise emerged - a solid foundation for what was to become Pendleton Woolen Mills. In 1895, the company’s woolen mill began making bed blankets and robes for the American Indigenous community. In September of that same year, the first products emerged from the new finishing department and the tradition of Pendleton Woolen Mills began.
Making a Pendleton
Pendleton is founded on an intimate knowledge of the wool business – from fiber to fabric. Whether it’s a wool garment, wool fabric, or a wool blanket, Pendleton offers over 100 years of expertise, imagination and dedication to quality. As a world-leading, vertically integrated wool manufacturer, Pendleton uses sophisticated information systems to ensure a balanced flow of raw materials through production and on to finished products available at top retailers across the globe.
Pendleton raw wool is processed before it is made into fabric, which is then constructed and woven into home and fashion products, as well as apparel and accessories for men and women. Our direct relationships with sheep farmers, and vertical manufacturing gives Pendleton the advantage of monitoring every step of the production process to maintain quality and value throughout at each stage of production. Our wool buyers shop world markets, but most of Pendleton's wool still comes from the United States.
Thanks to our incredible global community, Manitobah Mukluks has grown. To achieve this growth we’ve found global partners to help us produce some of our products internationally. I believe this expansion in our production leads to a bigger local impact.
As an Indigenous Canadian, AUTHENTIC to me means being engaged in and contributing to my community. It also means respecting our history while creating positive change for the future. And the best way for me to bring about that change for Indigenous Canadians is to get as many people wearing Manitobah Mukluks as possible.
Our success allows us to work with more local artists, showcase successful Indigenous role models and bring our culture to the world. We also invest in education and employment through our partnership with the Centre for Indigenous Human Resource Development, and I’m particularly proud of our Storyboot project, which helps revive traditional arts in our communities through business-building partnerships with elders and artisans who fashion mukluks and moccasins the traditional way.
Our Walk With Us program is also making a difference by allowing our customers to share in our vision and direct a portion of their sale to the Manitobah program of their choice. It’s simple. For every pair of Manitobah Mukluks sold, we make a bigger impact in our community.
We are proud of our success on the world stage and we welcome the opportunity to compete against all fashion brands. We will continue to make Manitobah more accessible to more people, and we will continue to make footwear using the same high-quality materials and thousand year-old designs that define us — whether it’s a handcrafted Storyboot, Canadian-made item or a mukluk or moccasin produced outside of Canada. I believe that our success as an Indigenous business has been due to our willingness to walk forward while honouring our past.
Thank you for walking with us.
CEO and Founder – Manitobah Mukluks