An Open Letter to Yvon & Malinda Chouinard, Founders of Patagonia
Your presence in this world makes a difference. A big difference. Because of Patagonia and the people who work there, I am optimistic about the future. Perhaps Yvon is right, perhaps we are on our way to the second Dark Ages.* But if we are, the trip will be slower because of the two of you, your commitment to great gear made to last a long time, and your belief that business can do well and do good.
I have been disappointed many times, by many brands, sold by the marketing, only to be let down by the product. Drawn in by promises, only to be disillusioned by gimmicks. I’ve been in this business a long time, almost 30 years, and I am a skeptic of the highest order. But Patagonia, and each person I have ever worked with there has consistently under-promised and over-delivered.
You two have built a company filled with impatient optimists and honest business people.
You should know that every single member of your team acts like a true owner, nurturing both relationships and the business for the long term. For a company of Patagonia’s size, well, that is extraordinary…singular, really. And ownership??? Well, that’s the stuff that change is made of.
You two have built a company filled with impatient optimists and honest business people. And, you have inspired others, myself included, to be a better version of ourselves. That is a legacy to be proud of, one that is built to make change, one that is built to last.
Thank you for setting the bar high for your products, for yourselves and for all of us. The second Dark Ages will not come, because, together, we’re all gonna get over that bar.
Missy Park, Founder, Title Nine
*Paumgarten, Nick. “Patagonia’s Philosopher King.” The New Yorker