Originally they began as Converse Rubber in 1908 by Marquis M. Converse with a capital investment of $250,000.
By 1910, the company had expanded its plant to produce 4,000 pairs of boots and rubbers daily. In 1917, they introduced one of the world’s first basketball shoes, the canvas All-Star.
Despite their success in the early years, they fell into bankruptcy in 1929. The company then fell into the control of Mitchell b. Kaufman, who died a year later and then the company was run by Albert Wechsler until 1933, when the depression economy forced another change,
When the Stone family purchased Converse, they ran the company for 39 years, during which they became a market leader. During this time Converse acquired several other companies.
Once again, in 1979, Converse changed ownership, this time to the Allied Corporation, who took Converse to unprecedented profits and sales. Despite the success, Allied put the company up for sale in 1982. This prompted a group of senior managers to turn Converse into a privately owned company. The group purchased Converse for $100 million.
Converse has changed hands and almost gone bankrupt again, but has somehow managed to always find its way back to the forefront of the sportswear industry.
* Manufactured the first All-Star basketball shoe in athletic footwear history
* Their first player endorser was Charles 'Chuck' H. Taylor in 1921
* Provided protective footwear, parkas and boots during World War II for the American Armed Services
* Their stock was available on the NASDAQ by 1983
* It was one of the only two biomechanical, in house footwear labs in the US in the early 1980s
* It was the first athletic footwear company ever to be chosen to officially represent the Olympic games in 1984
* Up until 1984, they had supplied Olympic footwear every year
Since Nike acquired Converse in 2003, the brand has undergone a brand makeover, in a bid to bring Converse back to a more respected brand after it had been cheapened and watered down prior to Nike’s purchase.
Famous people who have been seen wearing the Converse brand include the Kennedy’s, Jackson Pollack and even Barack Obama.
Celebrities who have been photographed in Converse include Natalie Portman, Axl Rose,Princess Eugenie of York, Princess Beatrice of York, Liv Tyler, and even bad-girl Lindsay Lohan.
Where is the Company Headed?
In 2008, Converse was celebrating its 100th anniversary and launched a new global campaign to advertise. This new campaign was titled ‘Connectivity’, and legendary music and sports icons were part of the presentation wearing Converse sneakers. They reintroduced the a917 All Star shoe, and a few others that had been popular throughout their company’s history.
Converse has no intention of disappearing in the 21st century, and has enlisted artists from around the globe to contribute to a project called 1HUND(DRED), designing RED footwear. This project is intended to celebrate cultures around the world and to fight AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis.
Converse is poised to be on the market for many more years to come.