who we are

Welch Workwear is a renowned for producing high quality, long-lasting, and durable suspenders. Handcrafted in the USA using the strongest suspender webbing and thickest genuine leather available, our commitment to excellence and unwavering quality is evident in every stitch. 

Trusted by laborers, blue-collar workers, and tradesman alike: Our suspenders are the go-to choice for durability, strength, and reliability in the field and set the industry standard for toughness in the market.

Established by Fred Welch in 1967, carried forward by his daughter Diana through 2019, and now supported by another second-generation family-owned business, Welch is rooted in strong family values that permeates everything we do.

We pride ourselves on integrity in business and in manufacturing - and to prove it, we offer our customers a 100% product warranty - ensuring your utmost satisfaction.

Today, we continue our legacy and remain steadfast in our dedication to providing you with premium workwear products that won't let you down. 

our story is a family story. 

1935

After World War II, Fred moved out West and sold various products throughout the country as a Field Manager - the “top boy” - for a major clothing manufacturer. He was in charge of hiring, training, and supervising a selling force of 35 men in the U.S. and Canada, who did a business volume of around $8,000,000.

 

 

1952

Fred decided to pursue his own venture in Canada and began manufacturing outdoor jackets, sleeping bags, canvas tents, and other outdoor clothing and equipment under the company name, Stag.

Over the years, he and his wife, Virginia had three kids - Diana, Donna, and Steven.

 

 

1960

Fred and his family moved back to the United States and he became the Sales Manager for the Day’s Company, which manufactured a variety of menswear. During that time Fred suffered a foot injury at the family cabin that grounded him from his sales job.

During his recovery, he was inspired to start a workwear accessories business in order to stay home with the family more.

 

 

1967

Welch Associates was born. Fred formulated his own business as a jobber (a middleman who buys product from a manufacturer and resells it) for belts. Like everything else he did, he dove head first and started working towards his dream alongside his wife and kids in Portland, Oregon. 

The whole family was involved in the business venture - all three of the children helped their mother pull orders, put belts on hangers, and drive them to UPS to be shipped. Virginia was the queen of all the office duties, the overseer of orders and invoicing, and generally kept the business running efficiently.

In these initial days, the business quickly expanded their catalog to include a variety of workwear, belts, bags, and other accessories. Little did Fred know, though, his workwear company would carry down through his family for five decades and have a lasting influence on the entire industry.

 

 

1970

Their business was thriving. The Welch household and garage was littered with inventory, and it was apparent that the business had outgrown their family home. They purchased a new home in Aloha, Oregon that offered more “warehouse space.” Diana helped with the packing and shipping, her sister Donna worked in the office, and her brother Steven helped their father with sales.

 

 

1978

The Mork & Mindy show starring Robin Williams (Mork) gained popularity, and when Fred saw Mork sporting a pair of rainbow suspenders, it sparked another idea: Fred jumped at the opportunity to sell and manufacture his own suspenders. Soon the family was ramping up to add them to their accessories line.

 

 

1979

Welch Associates’ manufacturer in Manhattan, NY couldn’t keep up with the demand for suspenders, so Fred purchased a sewing machine. From that day forward, Diana taught herself how to cut, sew, and assemble the individual items from start to finish and manned the sewing machine to build their inventory.

At this point, Welch Associates had grown to sell a whole range of workwear accessories including handbags, among many other things.

 

 

1980

Diana was heavily involved in the manufacturing side of the business (in addition to working as a waitress on her lunch break!). When she couldn’t keep up with sewing the entirety of their inventory herself, her father decided to buy another sewing machine and hired an additional seamstress.

Manufacturing exploded and the business was well on it's away to cementing their place as a brand of high-quality, long lasting workwear in the industry. 

 

 

1983

Once again, the Welch business grew out of their family home, and Fred bought a piece of property in Hillsboro, Oregon, to establish a true business facility. He asked his best friend Johnny Bushnell to build and design a 6,000 square foot warehouse and manufacturing space.

At the same time, the business changed names to Fred Welch, Inc.

Fred’s daughter Diana, who had been part of the company most her life, helped expand the business to become the largest suspender manufacturer in the Western United States.

 

 

1990

By the '90s, Fred had taken a step back and Diana oversaw the production of more than 2,500 dozen pairs of suspenders monthly - pushing Welch to become the third largest producer of suspenders west of the Mississippi River. In fact, Welch hit a major milestone by generating $1,000,000 in revenue.

Fred Welch, Inc. became an “Assembled in the USA” manufacturer of quality workwear.

 

 

1996

Fred passed away in May 1996 and Diana purchased the family business in the following October. She changed the name to Welch Company, Inc. and decided to phase out all of the other accessories to focus on what they did best – manufacturing quality suspenders.

 

 

2005

Travis Kindler, the owner of Kinco® - another family-owned manufacturer of high quality workwear - was at a tradeshow the same year as Diana. Travis chatted with Diana and gave her his business card mentioning that “if she ever wanted to sell Welch” to call him. She kept his card stapled to a folder in her desk, and 15 years later, she gave him a call.

 

 

2008

Diana’s husband Wes Johnson joined the company helping with screen printing and other tasks around the office.

 

 

2019

On October 1, 2019, after running the business for 23 years (to the day), Diana sold Welch Company, Inc. to Kinco®, which shares a similar storyline to Welch.

Kinco® recognized the values that Fred Welch instilled in his company and that Diana carried forward as being closely aligned with its own. It purchased the company with the intention of carrying on Welch®’s longstanding reputation and 53-year legacy in workwear and expanding upon it.

 

 

Today

Diana and Wes now enjoy a well-deserved retirement with frequent visits to the Oregon coast and we continue to handcraft suspenders right here in Portland, Oregon. In fact, our manufacturing and shipping facility is bustling with a team of specialized leather cutters, seamstresses, and production associates.

Leveraging Kinco®'s existing teams and systems, the Welch® brand now benefits from operational efficiencies that have enhanced our production capabilities, improved our product consistency and quality, and has made our team more effective than ever. And with a sales force now actively working to get our suspenders in retailers across the U.S. (and more accessible to you), we have been able to expand our market reach far beyond anything Fred could have ever imagined. 

 

Thank you for supporting Welch® and for being a part of our story!

Our Facility

 

The Welch® headquarters houses the day-to-day business operations, storage for all of the raw materials, and the manufacturing and assembly of the wide range of suspender styles that we offer.

Our facility and production line has been optimized for one-touch assembly, and all of the suspenders are handcrafted and hand-sewn in-house, right in Portland, Oregon.

 

ADDRESS

OFFICE HOURS

Monday – Friday
6:30 AM –  4:00 PM PST/PDT
Except for major holidays

PHONE

FAX

503 - 674 - 3513
800 - 536 - 4905

The Rainbow
that Started It All

In 1978, the Mork and Mindy show gained popularity, and when Fred Welch saw Mork sporting a pair of rainbow suspenders, it sparked an idea — Fred decided to sell and manufacture his own suspenders. Soon the whole Welch family was ramping up to add them to their workwear accessories line.