I've heard of retailers doing some unusual things — Moosejaw's breakup service comes to mind, in which customers can have the company's call-center reps call and break up with their significant other for them — but Patagonia's latest campaign takes the cake. Get this: it's all about buying less from the brand! Even more astounding? It seems to make perfect business sense.
Here are the details: Patagonia, the omnichannel retailer of outdoor apparel and gear, has launched a cross-country tour to encourage customers to make the brand's clothes last a lifetime. The Worn Wear Mobile Tour kicked off on April 2 in Ventura, Calif., and will wind its way to its last stop, Boston, on May 12. Along the way a team of Patagonia repair experts will be fixing — for free — busted zippers, rips and tears, loose buttons, etc. In addition, the repair staff will be teaching customers how to fix their own gear. The nearly six-week tour will be hitting a number of different locations along the way, including Patagonia retail stores, coffee shops, farmers' markets and trailheads.
The tour captures the essence of the Patagonia brand: a deep commitment to environmental and social concerns. The company proudly gives 1 percent of all its sales to support environmental organizations around the world, and ensures its products are produced under safe, fair, legal and humane working conditions throughout the supply chain. To put it into perspective, Patagonia would rather you repair the jacket you've already bought from it than buy a new one.
"There's nothing we can change about how we make clothing that would have more positive environmental impact than simply making less," said Patagonia CEO Rose Marcario, in a company press release announcing the launch of the Worn Wear Mobile Tour. "Worn Wear is a celebration of quality products and their relationship to our lives. It's a simple but critical message: keep your gear in action longer and take some pressure off our planet."
Touring for a Cause
In its third year, the Worn Wear Mobile Tour was created with the goal of keeping apparel — regardless of brand — in circulation for as long as possible to reduce overall consumption and lower our impact on the planet.
However, even Patagonia realizes that not all things last forever. With that in mind, the Worn Wear tour features used Patagonia items for sale. And when it does come time to buy a replacement, the retailer hopes that customers will invest in products that last.
Patagonia backs up its claims of quality merchandise by guaranteeing all of its products for life. In addition, the company owns the largest garment repair facility in North America, helping to keep its products in circulation longer. The Worn Wear tour seeks to spread the message that quality products have a positive impact on the environment.
Patagonia's commitment to environmental sustainability extends to the very vehicle leading the tour across the country. The "Worn Wear Wagon" is a custom '91 Dodge Cummins, and is fueled by biodiesel. It features a solar-powered camper shell that's made from redwood salvaged from giant wine barrels.
While Patagonia's efforts to improve its supply chain and product sourcing, use of recycled fabrics, and millions in donations to environmental organizations are admirable, there's nothing more impactful for the environment than keeping its clothing in circulation for as long as possible. Therefore, be sure to check when the Worn Wear tour arrives in a city near you. Get that annoying zipper fixed and help the environment in the process. A true win-win!