It’s perhaps surprising to see people so attentive to their work at a company known for emptying out when there’s good surf to be found at a Southern Californian beach not five minutes away. But a walk through the Ventura, Calif.-based headquarters of Patagonia reveals a close-knit staff readily engaged in designing, testing and marketing this outdoor cataloger’s apparel and gear.
Then again, perhaps it’s not all that surprising, given that the catalog’s founder, Yvon Chouinard, in his book “Let My People Go Surfing,” (The Penguin Press, 2005) wrote:
“Work had to be enjoyable on a daily basis. We all had to come to work on the balls of our feet and go up the stairs two steps at a time. We needed to be surrounded by friends who could dress whatever way they wanted, even be barefoot. We all needed flextime to surf the waves when they were good or ski the powder after a big snowstorm or stay home and take care of a sick child. We needed to blur the distinction between work and play and family.”
Here’s a company that embodies dedication to its employees. In turn, employees are dedicated to the business of running the catalog and supporting its mission of sustainable, environmentally friendly growth.
In fact, from the clothing recycling programs it runs to the donation of 1 percent of its annual revenue to environmental causes, Patagonia’s hallmark has been doing more with less. In order to grow the business and sustain these environmental programs, “Patagonia’s [people] have to be smarter, faster and better than everybody else to make it work, because they don’t have huge marketing budgets,” Chris McDonald, executive vice president and general manager for Abacus North America, observes about his client. “They accomplish more using less than any company I’ve ever seen.”