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Swot Analysis Mark E Spencer

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Patagonia

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Abstract PatagoniaжЉЇ mission statement is, жЏџo use business to inspire and implement solutions to environmental crisis? Patagonia is a clothing company thatжЉЇ focus is on selling environmentally safe outdoor apparel. This papers focus is on the history of Patagonia their environmental marketing strategies and their competition. There has also been some outside research done to see what the publicжЉЇ perception of Patagonia is. Introduction Patagonia's History In 1957 a young climber named Yvon Chouinard could not find pitons (a form of climbing protection) that he liked. So he began to make his own climbing gear. Chouinard was a self-educated blacksmith. He took his knowledge and began to build his own pitons. Of the pitons he made, Chouinard would keep what he needed and started selling the rest to his friends. Shortly after, Chouinard began building carabiners in addition to his production of the pitons. Up until this point, he had been working out of his parents' back yard and selling equipment out of his car. He moved his business in 1959 to an industrial yard in Burbank California and again in 1966 to a tin shed behind an abandoned slaughterhouse in Ventura California. In 1966, Tom Frost was recruited to help make the transition from handmade to machine made products. Chouinard and Frost founded Chouinard Equipment, Ltd. Everything about the operations focused on building the best quality climbing gear in the worldеЊ±he companies genuine and relentless pursuit of quality was matched by its reputation for it (Defining Quality, 2). Chouinard and Frost remained partners until 1975. During this time the two managed to redesign, hence improve, almost every tool used on a climber's rack. Their production also tried to minimize the use of materials. By 1970 Chouinard Equipment was the largest supplier of climbing equipment in the United States. Although this seemed positive from a business standpoint, Chouinard and Frost realized that they were contributing to environmental deterioration. Pitons require repetitive hammering for placement and removal. Because rock climbing was becoming popular the amount of destruction increased. Chouinard and Frost took a stand and decided to discontinue their production of pitons. This decision initiated a blind devotion that ultimately led to Patagonia's Statement of Purpose: To use business to inspire and implement solutions to environmental crisis. An environmental safe alternative to pitons was found in aluminum chocks. As before Chouinard Equipment designed and produced their own version of the chocks. Sales were slow until their showing in the first Chouinard Equipment catalog in 1972. The first pages of the catalog featured A Word?from the owners on the environmental hazards of pitons. The ethical stand taken by Chouinard Equipment dramatically effected the climbing community. Things began to change for the better. Within just a few months of the release of their first catalog, piton sales were severely stunted. In 1973 Patagonia the company was incorporated. Around this same time, Chouinard became interested in the profit potential of soft goods. He pursued his interest by introducing rugby shirts into their line. Frost and others opposed this decision and left the partnership in 1975. In the mid-seventies clothing was introduced under the name 'Patagonia'. Shortly after, in 1979, Patagonia Clothing Corporation was established. Patagonia was incorporated in 1984. Patagonia followed Chouinard's original intentions of developing goods that could easily be described as ridiculously overbuilt (Defining Quality, 5). Chouinard began technical product development in 1973, which continued and intensified under the Patagonia name. Patagonia continually improved on the amount of environmental impact as well as the quality of their materials. Pile lead to Bunting, which lead to Synchilla, which eventually changed the industry. Patagonia also introduced polypropylene underwear, which was replaced by Capilene in 1985. Although competition became fierce, Patagonia's attention to the details and construction of their products kept them ahead of the others. Throughout the years there has always been one constant in Patagonia's design and philosophy- a sense that there is in the products, or should be, more than meets the eye. Quality. Superb functionality. Environmental concern. A Killer warranty and service to match?(Defining Quality, 9). Patagonia's Environmental History As you can see in the above text, PatagoniaжЉЇ founder Yvon Chouinard has always put the environment first in his business plans. But Patagonia has done more for the environment then first meets the eye. In 1973 a young activist contacted Patagonia with concerns of the polluted Ventura River. Soon after Patagonia started making contributions to the Friends of the Ventura River. This marked Patagonia's first step towards donating to environmental causes. Over the next several years as Patagonia gained further success, Chouinard continued to increase donations to environmental groups. In 1985 Patagonia initiated a Tithing Program, which made a commitment to donate ten percent of profits to various environmental group. They could now focus on the bottom line with pride-knowing that if they made money, others would as well (Defining Quality, 24). Between 1985 and 1998 alone, Patagonia has given over $13million to environmental groups. The Tithing Program started by Patagonia was gaining such strong media recognition that many other companies began to initiate similar programs. Although this seemed like a step towards the right direction, Patagonia found one major flaw. If profits were low, high volume companies committed to donating 10% often ended up giving very little to environmental groups. After this discovery, Patagonia decided to up the ante. Patagonia would now give one percent of sales revenue or 10% of profits, whichever be greater, to these organizations. Later in the1980's Patagonia began to take their environmental values and focus inward. Patagonia started to look at their production process with hopes of improvement. They started by drastically reducing the waste in their facilities. In 1989 the Salt Lake City Patagonia outlet set up a recycling station in their parking lot. This was the first public recycling station in the state of Utah.

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