Patagonia encompasses many of the special attributes that we at Tenzing admire. It absolutely does the right things for the right reasons. Their culture is very strong: they reinvest their profits, their people surf, and family and play are core to their ethos. Their product lasts far longer than that of their competitors.
Yvon Chouinard, who describes himself as a reluctant businessman, founded Patagonia. He has built a philosophy of business from his own personal values, and he has written a great book about it called Let My People Go Surfing. If the surf’s up, they go surfing, but they hire responsible people that get their work done. They are focused on the blurred distinctions between work, play and family, and we love that.
Since 1985, Patagonia has pledged 1% of sales to the preservation and restoration of the natural environment. All of their decisions are taken for the long term, even if this means that they can’t grow (or indeed chose not to). They resist the temptation to sell to customers who don’t need their product but want in.
Recently they founded Patagonia Works, and set up ‘$20 Million & Change’ which is the internal fund to help like-minded start-ups – an incubator for environmentally and socially responsible companies.