When I found out I was going to be able to get a tour of the Patagonia offices in Ventura, CA., I freaked out. It's a brand I've utterly been in a relationship with since I was a kid. Really. I know that might sound weird or uncool or materialistic, but it's true. When the Patagonia catalogs would come in the mail and I would see photos of these rad girls surfing and kayaking and climbing mountains, I was truly inspired to travel and be adventurous and, well, be a tomboy.
If I'm being honest though, 10% of me was a little nervous to see the office today. When you hold something in such a high regard, it's easy to get let down. And especially when you're seeing "how the sausage is made", there's great opportunity for the magic to be lost.
But, unsurprisingly, that didn't happen today in Ventura. Patagonia is as magical and inspiring a place as I imagined it would be. I was grinning the whole time. I truly believe that despite its retail success (they do half a B in sales every year), Patagonia is still an iconoclastic company with its roots still very much in tact. In fact, its founder Yvon Chouinard, the man who founded the company in 1972, was there today eating his lunch in the small cafeteria in an old fleece and a pair of flip flops.
Color schemes from the Spring '87 line.
One of the several machines in the fabric test lab.
An original tin building on the Patagonia campus.
Solar panels in the parking lot that offset most of the energy produced by their main building.
Some of the awesome designers and pros on the Patagonia team! This site visit was one of the highlights of my year, thank you so much Patagonia!