yvon chouinard

Worn Wear testimonial

Patagonia, the clothing company has a brilliant marketing campaign: Worn Wear which I posted about before.

Here’s an excellent testimonial by Rain Noe over at Core77: The Sweater Stone, Patagonia, Product Longevity, and How to Keep Customers for Life.

I’ve liked this company ever since it started. It’s founder, Yvon Chouinard is both a historic figure in Yosemite climbing and world mountaineering, and a brilliant designer of outdoor gear. Years ago he spun off the hardware piece of Great Pacific Iron Works into Black Diamond and kept Patagonia, the clothing company.

He’s famous for closing down the office if the surf is particularly good in Ventura, California so he can “let my people go surfing.”

What I’ve noticed over many years of buying and using outdoor gear is that Patagonia comes up with innovative design ideas and other companies (North Face, LL Bean, REI, etc.) copy them. As a person who makes things, I try to make it a point to reward originators of ideas with my business, when I can.

Launching the “worn wear” campaign and attempting to make it “cool” to wear older, beat up stuff is another brilliant piece of design and marketing that’s as much about philosophy as it is about rewarding long term customers.

Glen Denny Photography

Glen Denny Photography

Back in the day (1960’s) when Royal Robbins, Tom Frost, Chuck Pratt, Yvon Chouinard, Warren Harding and many others were putting up big walls in Yosemite Valley, Glen Denny was not only along for the ride but was photographing Yosemite climbing and culture. Anyone who’s read about this era in rock climbing history has seen Denny’s photographs in various books. Here they are online.

Yvon Chouinard is Patagonia

Patagonia’s Founder Is America’s Most Unlikely Business Guru

This is a great piece on the history of the clothing company Patagonia and a mini-biography of its founder Yvon Chouinard.

I happen to have a few original Chouinard pitons I bought from him in the Camp 4 parking lot in Yosemite Valley in the 1970’s. I’ve followed his climbing and mountaineering career as well as his business career and I must say, he’s done well with alms everything he’s touched.

[via Dale Allyn]