Build the best product. Cause no unnecessary harm. Use business to inspire and implement solutions to the enviromental crisis.
In the early 1970’s Yvon Chouinard accidently stumbled across an idea that would revolutionise the clothing industry. A holiday from California, USA to Scotland would lead to Yvon building a clothing empire. This is the story of Patagonia.
In 1953 a 14-year-old Yvon began climbing. He joined a local Falconry club in Southern California and his love for the pastime grew. The excitement and intensity of rappelling down the sides of sheer cliffs meant that Yvon was instantly hooked. Soon, Yvon and his friends began going out on excursions on their own, travelling around America to rappel down rocks. On their travels they would hop from freight train to freight train travelling from the west end of the San Fernando Valley to the sandstone cliffs of Stoney Point.
Environmentally conscious, Yvon noticed the damage his climbing equipment was having on the rock faces. To try and prevent further damage he began making his own equipment. This effort to look after the environment would become a driving force behind the ethos of the business.
He began selling his pitons (metal spikes) for $1.50 each. Yvon began supporting himself through the sale of his equipment. He began travelling around the country, climbing by day and forging by night.
In 1970 on a winter climbing trip in Scotland he bought a rugby shirt to wear while climbing. This impulse purchase would change his life. Built to withstand the brute force of a rugby match the top withstood the climb. The collar prevented hardware slings from cutting into Yvon’s neck. He knew he was on to something.
Back home Yvon continued to wear rugby jerseys while climbing. It caught on and before he knew it he had started a new fashion trend, a brightly decorated rugby jersey with a good collar was in high demand. To keep up with growing demand Yvon ordered jerseys from Umbro in England. They sold out. He then began ordering from New Zealand and Argentina. They sold out too.
As the clothing side to their company grew they decided it needed its own unique name. In 1973 Patagonia was born. A name they described as one that brings to mind “romantic visions of glaciers tumbling into fjords, jagged windswept peaks, gauchos and condors”.
Today Patagonia is one of the worlds leading environmentally friendly clothing brands. The company reaches far beyond clothing and is committed to teaching and training the next generation of environmental activists. Patagonia are doing this to continue their mission of finding a solution to the ongoing environmental crisis.