Monday, August 24, 2015

BUSINESS - The Counterintuitive Business Model

"How a clothing company’s anti-consumerist message boosted business" PBS NewsHour 8/20/2015


SUMMARY:  High-end outdoor clothing company Patagonia outfits mountain climbers, snowboarders, surfers and trail runners -- athletes who subject their gear to abuse.  Each day, some of that clothing makes its way back to the company's headquarters, where workers extend the life of their customers’ products by making free repairs.  Economics correspondent Paul Solman reports on the company’s ethos.

WOMAN:  Are you guys sitting down, because this is pretty horrifying.  OK?  Dog bite?  Shark attack?

PAUL SOLMAN (NewsHour):  Seamstress Cathy Averett couldn’t care less.

CATHY AVERETT, Patagonia:  When I get something like this, I do my best to make it kind of special, you know?  It doesn’t look new, but so what, OK?  I don’t look new anymore.  It’s OK.

PAUL SOLMAN:  Averett stitches for Patagonia, the outdoor clothing company high-end enough to have earned the nickname Patagucci.  Downstairs, the company’s Reno, Nevada, warehouse and distribution center sends its garments hither and yon, to be worn by rock and mountain climbers, skiers and snowboarders, surfers, trail runners, or folks who just want to dress as if they do all that stuff.

And each day, some of those clothes make their way back to Reno, to what’s billed as the largest clothing rehab facility in North America.

WOMAN:  They mess them up and we fix them up.


DOUG FREEMAN, Chief Operating Officer, Patagonia:  Behind me are 55 people extending the life of our product for our customers.

PAUL SOLMAN:  Doug Freeman is Patagonia’s chief operating officer.

DOUG FREEMAN:  We want our customers to invest in great product, and when it’s worn out, we want to repair it for them.

PAUL SOLMAN:  It doesn’t sound economical for the company.

DOUG FREEMAN:  I can understand why you would say that.  But the way we view it is that we want to reduce consumption.

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