Curious about shoes and social media.

12 11 2009

Curious about shoes and social media.

This blog is an attempt to start a broader discussion about supply chains and shoes. As we build this network we want to use as many touchpoints as possible. We are active on LinkedIn, Facebook and twitter. The idea is to let you find your media platform that you are comfortable to use. It should be easy to participate. So click on the link and join in!

Patagonia does it right

12 11 2009


mens shoesPatagonia does it right.

Patagonia is an interesting company as we mentioned earlier in the blog. This entry won't dwell on the history, but more about what they do right. Why we shall regard them as an inspiration for how business can be done. They are not a vertically integrated company that controls all their production hands on, it is a very effective way to manage environmental, social or legal issues in a company but most companies have not that way of doing business.

Somehow has Patagonia managed to do outperform most brands covering those topics, even those who are vertical, adding enormous value and trust to the brand, bringing Patagonia to the point of being a cultural phenomenon as much as an outdoor company, the dreams of marketing departments all over the world. The best example for Patagonias success is that they are now consulting Wal-Mart to turn that ship around and set a course for a sustainable destination.

How do they do it then? You might ask. It all breaks down to an insight founder Yvon Chouinard did early in building his company. What they did had an impact on the world which they didn't want, namely the destruction of the cliffs they wanted to climb. With a little foresight, rock climbing would cease to exist as a sport if nothing would be done. The company mission was formulated

Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.

From that credo a company culture has grown that always reflect on how they do business. Combining the company history, philosophy and vision to a business model aiming for the next hundred years. From that perspective operations become more long sighted.

How do you stay sharp and agile in that process? Patagonia has chosen the path of transparency. The Footprint Cronicles is such a project. By showing the process, materials used, energy consumption, Co2 emissions and waste produced the participant (Because you can't call someone that committed consumer) can discuss the garment or shoe on a broader level. Adding value, insights and more leverage to contiguous improvements. Patagonia goes one step further and tells us all about the problems in manufacturing, chemicals and materials, taking the edge off criticism even before it becomes one. The synergies in this approach should not be underestimated. Companies who gets involved in the supply chain finds themselves open for scrutiny by not only Patagonia but consumers all over the world, acting as a strong motivator for improvements.

Take for example the debacle with the co- branding project with SIGG, a aluminum bottle manufacturer that would produce Patagonias new range of toxic free drinking bottles, since health concerns were raised over plastic bottles. SIGG swore that their bottles that their bottles contained no toxic chemicals on the inside liner but an internet rumor turned out to be right and the project was ended. Patagonia came out of the scrum stronger, thanks to the social media networks. (They could also prove that the right questions had been asked and Sigg had misled them) In the end SIGGs CEO retired. The brands eco reputation was severely tainted but Patagonia sailed away stronger then before.