Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The Suit That Changed Bathing To Swimming

Today, $13.25 billion is spent annually on swimwear. In 1920 the total amount was zero.

The reason is in 1920 they were only known as bathing suits. There were no such things as swim suits.

It wasn't until 1921, Jantzen introduced the first swim suit. After lengthy board meetings, task forces, focus groups, and corporate strategy sessions, they finally arrived at the idea of what would become known as a swim suit.

Not really.

Instead, the idea of a swim suit originated with one man -- John Richard Dodson.

Dodson worked with Portland Knitting Company, manufacturer of Jantzen bathing suits and predecessor of Jantzen Inc. At the time he was retail manager of their Broadway store.

"I remember distinctly the twinkle in his eye as he suggested the use of the name in our advertising," stated John A. Zehnbauer, co-founder of Portland Knitting Company, a few years after the change. "So from 1921 we discontinued the use of the name bathing suits and used swimming suits in all our copy."

One person, one idea, and a new industry was born.

Most breakthroughs occur like that, not around a conference table.


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