Category: Business (2)

Patagonia: The Responsible Company What We’ve Learned from Patagonia’s first 40 years  An Evening with Vincent Stanley – VP of Marketing  Last night the downtown Boulder Patagonia store hosted a wise elder of Patagonia, Vincent Stanley, who has recently co-authored a new book with Patagonia founder, Yvon Chouinard, titled Patagonia: The Responsible Company. Speaking with a calm, clear and very ego-less demeanor, Stanley gave an overview of his own 40+ year involvement with Patagonia book-ended by his current position of Vice President of Marketing. As a writer, Stanley and Chouinard’s new title literally expresses an outline for companies to consider in striving for continued consciousness in the delicate dance between caring for customers and caring for the environment. Over the last four decades, Stanley honestly spoke about the continuing learning process the leaders of Patagonia have endured in better understanding the impacts of their own manufacturing processes. “I am a fan of transparency,” stated Stanley, “and it has made a huge difference in this company.” Stanley matter-of-factly stated the unfortunate truth that “most often publically held companies won’t always move towards environmental improvements because it takes longer for a return and it affects the bottom line.” The tension between trying to be a “sustainable” company and yet manufacturing goods with by-products was highlighted in Patagonia’s year-old ad campaign. “Don’t Buy this Jacket” was the title of a full-page ad taken out in the New York Times a year ago featuring the R2 jacket. In an attempt to give customers pause, and the company itself as a whole, the ad tried to outline what are the levels of consumption required (water, electricity, materials, and labor) needed for producing a single garment. When taking this approach and accountability, the inevitable question asked by Stanley was “how then do you judge the success of a campaign like this?” Ultimately seeing that there were neither increases our decreases in the sales of the specific products highlighted in the “Don’t Buy This Jacket” campaign, a status quo could therefore be considered a success while awareness was raised to customers of the true cost of “consumption” of their purchasing power, with this simultaneously being a good reminder for the company. In a glimpse towards the future, Stanley highlighted a few efforts Patagonia continues to make as a company towards its own environmental stewardship and “role model-ness” if you will as a company for others. The Portland, Oregon Patagonia store has created an area within its square footage called “The Second Home” for used Patagonia clothing to be re-sold. Patagonia has also partnered with eBay in a Common Threads program for re-selling used products. Also, every single Patagonia retail store will receive and recycle any old, worn-out Patagonia items that will be re-purposed and re-created into new products. There will be continued publishing at Patagonia Press of the Footprint Chronicles, which outlines their products environmental footprint and impact in the manufacturing process. A significant event affecting the company’s future occurred in 2012, in that Patagonia was classified as a B-Corporation whereas social and environmental values can be written into the business charter. The ultimate highlight of B-Corp status for Patagonia is that when the current owners die the company can’t be sued for not selling to the highest bidder. Patagonia is one of the few companies that truly has acknowledged their own shortcomings. In concluding, Stanley succinctly expressed the sentiment of the company as, “ we ultimately do not want to put a lot of people out of work for striving to be virtuous.”  
Where's the Benjamins?! The Boulder Economic Council (BEC) recently released a report with some enlightening economic findings for the City of Boulder. In Boulder with ~100,000 workers, more than 3 x the national average are in the information industry and 2 x the national average work in some sort of professional, scientific, or technical services field. When it comes to salaries, those in the information industry earn the highest average annual salary at $92,780, with the average Boulder salary is $54,924, and workers in the accommodation and food services industry earn the lowest average at $17,405. More than 20% of people who work in Boulder proper are employed by the University of Colorado, at Federal Labs such as the National Center of Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and other government entities. Specifically related to real estate, the report stated that the 2010 median sales price for a single family home in Boulder was $535,000, which is ~2% increase when compared to the 2009 median single family home price of $525,000. The report also noted that 623 single family homes sold in 2010, which is ~10% increase from the 564 single family homes sold in 2009. In summary, Boulder has a growing attraction of specific industry jobs/employment and a slight increase in median single family home prices over the last 12 months. So let's hope for continued job growth which can translate into more buyer's confidence and ultimately more successful sales. We will watch this trend together as I will report back with 1st quarter sales statistics to truly see how the real estate market is progressing as we go further into 2011... For additional info on this report click here.