Companies I Love: Patagonia

Some companies fascinate me (FedEx, Sirius Satellite Radio, Toyota, Google), some companies that I hate (sometimes FedEx, Kerasotes Movie Theaters, Clear Channel), and other companies I love. One of the companies that I love is Patagonia, the maker of gear and apparel.

"There is no business to be done on a dead planet."

- Sierra Club executive director David Brower



On certain days, I'm decked out head-to-toe in clothing and gear from Patagonia. As Natalie would tell anyone, I'm not that fashion-conscious and I usually have a hard time dressing myself in the mornings. I don't have that much clothing from Patagonia, but I have a few "everyday items" like coats, shoes, and my computer bag. Toss in a few shirts, some pants, and a hat or two, and that rounds out my whole collection.

patagonia-logo.gifI try to avoid clothes with lots of labels, while at the same time wearing clothes that are comfortable and wear nice. There's nothing worse then when I bring home a polo-style shirt from Kohl's that is red and after a wash, it turns to a faded relic of it's past. Now, a clothes horse, I am not. I can appreciate a nice piece, but for the most part it doesn't consume me - except for Patagonia.

Patagonia isn't a huge company. Last year they had $270M in revenue. Folks like Nike and Adidas far outshadow them in the revenue department. That brings us to the quote I included up top. We can't do business on a dead planet, right?

Patagonia goes beyond their responsibilities as a company with their 1% of sales guarantee. They take 1% of their annual sales and dedicate it to environmental causes. He's asking other businesses to join them in this pledge. So far over 500 others have come aboard. There's more, too. They encourage people to send in their old clothing because they can use it to make new stuff with less impact on the environment.

Here in Chicago, we're a lucky bunch in that we have a Patagonia retail outfit. Walk in there, and it's like Candyland - except a Candyland where the stuff is way too expensive. Natalie and I make our way there a few times a year, and mostly we walk out with maybe one or two lower priced items. For my birthday last week, I was lucky enough to get their Spoken Word jacket and a new pair of trainers that convert to sandals when the moment strikes me! (thanks, Nat!)

I like that the company tries to leave a small footprint environmentally, but the biggest thing, for me about Patagonia gear is the quality. You can't match it. Buy any jacket from them and it will outlast just about any other article of clothing you own. You'll pay more for it than a Columbia or North Face, but it's style won't fade and it certainly won't fall apart. And...if it does fall apart? Send it back in. They have a 100% lifetime guarantee on all their products. If they don't sell it anymore? They'll give you the last listed price in their system. That's customer service, isn't it? It's easy, when you make the best products in the world, though.

Professionally, I am excited that I get to interact with the company. Through FeedBurner, we've been able to help Patagonia distribute their content around the web. As more and more traditional retailers are becoming publishers, FeedBurner is in the unique position to help them gain a better understanding of where their content is distributed. The Cleanest Line, Patagonia's company blog uses FeedBurner to power their feed. They're also using FeedBurner to help manage their Jobs feed. I love that! I worked with the folks at Patagonia to help get through all of our tools, and he couldn't have been cooler. Makes me like the company even more!

Reading up on their corporate culture reaffirms that my brand loyalty is well founded. There aren't many lines of clothing that I'll advocate for, but I will for Patagonia. They've earned my loyalty and I look forward to many happy years with their products.

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