My first job at Patagonia was answering the phone in customer service in 1985. After moving into product development and production, I worked here for 9 years before leaving for NYC in 1994.

I was away from Patagonia for 10 years where I worked for Polo, Nautica, and later The North Face and Obermeyer, learning how other companies manage product, sourcing, and operations. When I returned here in 2004, it was a great opportunity to “return home” and apply what I had learned.

Today, we announced The Worn Wear Mobile Tour, a cross-country mission offering free repairs on busted zippers, rips, tears, buttons, etc., to encourage our customers to make their clothes last a lifetime. Extending the life of our garments is the single most important thing we can do to lower our impact on the planet. Learn more here:

I’m here to answer your questions today about all-things Patagonia with the help of Victoria on the phone – ask me anything!


Update: I'd like to thank everyone for their questions. I think the passion is evident, throughout all the questions we've seen this morning, and we really appreciate everyone's interest in Patagonia and our efforts to offers solutions to the environmental crisis. I hope you use the Worn Wear program, and remember - if it's broke - we wanna fix it!

Comments: 124 • Responses: 29  • Date: 

stpfan116 karma

Hi Doug, tall, skinny guy here and have been a fan of your clothing for years. Has Patagonia ever looked into making Tall sizes or maybe slim fit products for men?

PatagoniaDoug12 karma

We're looking at expanding the range of fits to include tall and to include (in some cases) double extra-larges. We know that fishermen and responsible hunters even need larger sizes. And at the same time, including more short inseams - basically covering as many outdoors people as possible!

hweinberger10 karma

Doug, is Patagonia doing anything to help smaller gear manufacturers move toward 100% traceable down? Thanks, Hannah

PatagoniaDoug5 karma

Well, our traceable down standard is the best example of that. We've worked really hard, in the past 3 years, to take a deep dive into the supply chain to make sure that ducks and geese are not force-fed, nor live-plucked. And we've created a toolkit for smaller manufacturers to use to ensure that their supply chains follow suit. You can see it here:

galactickevin5 karma

Seeing how global operations are not sustainable in the long term, will Patagonia ever change its practice to offer "local-only" products, i.e. certain clothing created in California, only sold in California?

PatagoniaDoug8 karma

That is often at odds with building the best quality, most durable product we can. We found that the reality of manufacturing the best product involves buying minimum order quantities for textiles, raw materials, and assembled product itself. Further, if we wanted to build a waterproof, breathable shell in California (or the US for that matter), we would be hard-pressed to find a manufacturer that could produce to our quality standards. So that leads us to find that factories around the world, where we can aggregate demand, meet factory minimums, and focus on manufacturing processes that lead to the most durable and highest quality results.

calmeyer5 karma

Hi Doug, does Patagonia actually donate money to the destruction dead-beat-dams like they claim to? What percent of company proceeds goes to charitable organizations or environment preservation organizations? Thank you for your time and reply.

PatagoniaDoug7 karma

Well, this year we gave 770 environmental groups in 16 different countries $6.6 million dollars total. Since the program began, we've given $61 million dollars away to those same grassroots organizations. Dam removal is a big priority for Patagonia, and a lot of these groups reflect that mission. And 1% of our sales revenue goes to 1% for the Planet. We're a founding member of 1% of the Planet, and we give that money away in years when we're very profitable, and in years when we're not so profitable. So no matter what, that money is given.

yodasdrunkuncle2 karma

What is the process like to apply for such a grant for a local dam removal project?

PatagoniaDoug1 karma

We'll refer you to our grant guidelines on our website - that walks you through the entire process on how to apply for a Patagonia grant, the information we need, and how to get involved:

We support grassroots activist organizations that have very specific agendas that are very locally focused. We're looking for groups that are very action-minded, and focus on specific things. The guidelines you'll see online will be very informative, and will give you a very firsthand look at things.

galactickevin5 karma

Two simple question: -Does Patagonia have any dietitians on staff, either at the Ventura campus or a part of the new Provisions food product line? -Will Patagonia ever move more jobs to the Reno location, such as computer engineering, marketing, etc?

PatagoniaDoug7 karma

We're hiring in Reno. We have all of our customer service departments on there. Our job-site online is a great way to find out about them:

We recently opened a cafe within the past year at the Reno service center. All of our employees can eat breakfast and lunch at the cafe. Some of the most popular things we've offered up in Reno. And while we don't have dietitians on-staff, we have people on-staff who are passionate about healthy food, and sustainable food.

And Patagonia Provisions is a developing food company that we've started, out of Sausalito, California, and you can see more information about it on

ExtraAndroid5 karma

What would you recommend as a frugal road bike purchase?

PatagoniaDoug8 karma

A frugal road bike purchase?

I bought, about 7 years ago, a carbon fiber road bike, paid $1750 bucks for it, a good deal at the time. And compared to some of my colleagues both in and out of the company, I know that road bikes can be between $5,000-$10,000, so I know that is a good purchase. It was a Felt bicycle. I got it used, following the lead of a friend, and that represented frugality to me.

DJ_Baby_Bok_Choy5 karma

Hey Doug. How would you describe Yvon vision for the future of Patagonia? What impact will this have on the future of the company? How do you plan on preserving his legacy? Thanks!

PatagoniaDoug5 karma

Yvon's vision for Patagonia has included the company being around for the next 100 years. We're privately held, and we want the values and the mission to continue on for 100 years' time. Our status as a B-corp is with the ability to maintain those values, no matter what change we see to the company, the board, or its ownership.

tonyarbray3 karma

Hi Doug, I've moved from a very Corporate outdoor company to a very small entrepreneurial company. How did you meld your knowledge and experience from the very corporate world to the smaller, entrepreneurial company with strong values and a very specific mission?

PatagoniaDoug4 karma

That's a great question.

I've gone through that transition a few times in my career.

And I've found that going from a very corporate world to a smaller company, like Patagonia, is really the easier transition.

It's going from an entrepreneurial company to a larger company of financially-motivated values that's much tougher.

I would say that my focus, something I learned early on in my career at Patagonia, is to build the best quality product that you can. It's the most environmental thing you can do. And when you have that as your purpose, it gives you a great sense of value in your work. So if you're in a smaller, entrepreneurial company, you can impart that sense of quality and durability, and that goes a long way.

snorrislol3 karma

Hey Doug, As a young person about to graduate from college and looking to enter the outdoors industry, what advice do you have?

PatagoniaDoug4 karma

I would say - my advice would be to find those companies that share your values, and that really speak to your heart, and what drives you personally. So if it's Patagonia, and our environmentalism and reputation for quality products, or a food company that manufactures food in a way that's responsible, find a company you're interested in - and if you find them, find your way through the door, and persevere - be willing to answer the phone, file things, no matter how low a level that might be.

And if your heart's in it, and you're in it for the right reason, the path forward becomes more evident. Finding the companies you can really be proud of really engages you in your work.

stjohn7113 karma

Hey Doug! I love Patagonia's products and you guys truly do make the longest lasting outdoor gear I have ever owned. My question is are you planning on opening up any individual retail stores in the Detroit area any time soon? Are you hiring in general? Asking for me. Thanks again!

PatagoniaDoug5 karma

Bivouac, Ann Arbor is a great resource. We have some passionate customers in the state of Michigan. And we know that Moosejaw, another strong wholesaler, represents Patagonia well there. While we don't have any immediate plans in the Detroit area, we have taken Ann Arbor really seriously, and think a shop in Ann Arbor would draw attention to the brand in some very valuable ways with the college community there in Ann Arbor. Stay tuned for the future.

cobblehillchs3 karma

How big of your business is e-commerce and what is your overall strategy there?

PatagoniaDoug3 karma

1/3 of our business overall is our e-commerce. It's a very fast-growing part of Patagonia. We like e-comm because it gives us a chance to tell our story, and impart our value set to our customers. We can tell them firsthand why quality is so important to the environmental mission. We've got interactive video, we've got a lot of storytelling that takes place in The Footprint Chronicles, we have interactive features - we can give them service online that is exceptional.

As far as strategy, I think that stepping up our e-comm efforts, as well as our communications strategy with our retail partners, is something that's important to us.

And in e-comm, half the site is dedicated to the product and buying the product online, and the other half of the site is dedicated to Patagonia itself - so we have sections on environmental and social responsibility, sports-specific information that people can grab, so it's a good balance. So that's a big part of the strategy.

MeatSnake93 karma

Hi Doug, What is the idea behind encouraging customers to repair their gear rather than return it?

PatagoniaDoug7 karma

The idea behind repairing our gear rather than simply returning it and buying another one is to reduce our consumption. So the more we consume, the less well-off the planet is. The more stuff winds up in landfills, the more impact a manufacturer like Patagonia has.

I think if there's been one theme this morning, it's been building products that last decades. That's the most environmental thing we can do at Patagonia. So if we can get consumers to send us jackets with broken zippers, or snaps, we'll fix it for them and return it back to them within 10 days.

And that, in itself, is going to have a huge environmental impact.

Here's the link to that program:

NickRko92 karma

Hey Doug! My Fraternity brothers love your stuff. What would you attribute your success to?

PatagoniaDoug3 karma

Well, I think the company's focus is building the best product. And the best performing, most quality oriented product is our chief concern. And we want to do that while having the least amount of harm on the environment, so our environmental values really come into play. But function and design are first and foremost, so that gives us the best chance of impressing our customers with something they can count on long-term. So I'd say it's our focus on building the best product. We design product around function first. We choose materials that are durable. And we feel that product that stays out of landfills fulfills the mission of the company.

TheEngine2 karma

Doug, any chance that you guys are working on site improvements to better showcase your products? I'm thinking rich media, 360 degree views, flash media "teardowns", etc.? I ask because I purchased a couple of backpacks a couple of years ago, and I found myself buying without knowing what was inside.

That said, I still love the packs. :)

PatagoniaDoug2 karma

We relaunched our website this year, and we're doing a LOT more product videos on the site. The Footprint Chronicles are embedded within the product pages, so you can get a total view of the performance of the product, as well as its environmental and social responsibility.

hweinberger2 karma

A lot of people in the outdoor community were surprised by the extensive Dawn Wall coverage by major media. Tommy Caldwell's part of the Patagonia family, and the company was instrumental in getting the message about the climb out there—what's next for Patagonia's climbing gear strategy given the mass interest? Anything on the way for climbing amateurs?

PatagoniaDoug2 karma

Well, I'd say that that's one of the best, most tangible steps towards the common market. We're focused on climbing specifically, in product, and I think our line of packs is one of the most important areas we can focus on. And I think as far as gear that represents an effort for specifically climbing amateurs, we try to bring product in that's - again - the most durable, the most quality-oriented, so someone getting into the sport for the first time, whatever's in the Patagonia line is something they can use for 20 years or more. I take a lot of pride in hearing about customers who have climbed in our gear for decades. That's our goal, to have our product in use for a very long time.

gatorwade162 karma

Hey Doug, I'm a materials engineering student and I really like Patagonia's dedication to innovating quality products and making them safer for the environment. How many chemical/material engineers do you have that design and create new products that are sustainable?

PatagoniaDoug3 karma

Fantastic question. We just hired, over the past years, 3 chemical engineers - 2 with PhDs in textile science, and one having recently graduated from MIT. I just spent time with them, in Switzerland, at a textile innovation partner, and we think they'll have a fantastic impact on developing bio-based solutions to textiles. So keep an eye on as well as the website for new products that reflect the nature of their work.

123choji2 karma

What's a handy tip that saved you on multiple occasions?

PatagoniaDoug2 karma

To be enthusiastic and really engaged in whatever you're doing.

zzzhand1 karma

I'm currently a managing for sustainability major at a US university. We learn a lot about how Patagonia is the leader of this new business style, that of benefitting the environment, consumer and the business equally through operations. Patagonia is notable because of its product line that is geared to outdoor activities. Having a company's mission and outlook intertwined with the environment definitely provides an advantage in being sustainable, so my question is: how do you think other companies who want to be more like patagonia but were not founded with similar, or any, environmental principles can overcome the disadvantage and become more of a leader in sustainability?

PatagoniaDoug2 karma

Well, I think it goes back to being environmentally minded as well as financially-minded. I think that companies that focus just on profits never get to sustainability. They have to develop solutions to help fight the environmental crisis that we're in. And so if you just focus on how to make margins, and how to sell more, and how to therefore lower your prices, you'll never get to sustainability.

You have to ask: what builds the best quality product, that will stay out of landfills, and last the longest amount of time?

I think that businesses have to ask themselves how they can create a closed-loop aspect of recyclability.

ImperialUlfric1 karma

Firstly, what patagonia's stance of hunting (or rather, ethical hunting, but I don't consider anything pther than ethical "hunting")? I know you guys support fly fishing but haven't ever seen anything that would recognize hunting.

Secondly, I'm just a general outdoorsman; hiking, camping, offroading, fishing, hunting, mountain biking, kayaking - you name it, I've tried it. How can I put myself in the outdoor industry? I would really like to be apart of the things I love on a scale that allows me to innovate and help the people do what they love as well.

Anyway, I appreciate Patagonia as a company that practices what it preaches, and while I may not agree with you guys all the time, I appreciate you guys taking a stand for what you believe in rather than standing idly by.

I'll continue to rock patagonia and keep on keepin' on outside.

PatagoniaDoug2 karma

I would say that hunters often represent strong conservationists. And are passionate about the outdoors, just as passionate as backpackers or photographers.

We respect responsible hunters, and we feel that we have a lot of product solutions for that set of customers.

And I think the Houdini is a great example of a jacket that could be used for hiking, camping, offroading, fishing, you name it. We build products that are truly multifunctional (of course, there are some exceptions like the Fly-fishing vest, but for the most part, they are multifunctional).

As far as getting your work out there - start a blog, use social media, those are great ways to start getting involved and networking with others that share your interests.

SMHALL1 karma

Howdy Doug,

Thanks for the time. I know Patagonia is extremely environmentally conscious and I just finished Yvon's book. A friend and I have produced a simple adaption to the common sink that could curb 40% of California's current water usage, but I feel like we're dragging our feet with quitting our jobs and really pursuing this. Is there a pragmatic way to make such a great leap while trying to save the state we love?

PatagoniaDoug1 karma

That's a great question. I would say the most important things that we're doing, and the best innovation, has to do with reducing our water consumption during the textile manufacturing process.

Creating textiles consumes a tremendous amount of water. And we've recently pioneered ways to reduce water use with our Better Sweater and denim jeans programs.

Overall, we're taking steps to actively measure from a corporate standpoint our impact on water, energy, waste and CO2 emissions.

And over the next few months, we're setting aggressive targets to reduce our impact in those areas.

Campaigns that each of us can take to bring our 1 liter bottles in - as little as that, it adds up. In California, the drought has had a devastating effect on people in the mountains, and I think we're all focused on being as responsible as possible with water.

You can reach out to [email protected] - these are organizations we are investing in to reduce our impact, and so that the entire industry can follow those organizations so they can do the same. We hope we can assist you.

birddp1 karma

Hi Doug - sustainability professional here, working in corporate sustainability consulting. Also amateur photographer and writer. Experiencing the outdoors is a huge and important part of my life. I think if more people, especially kids, are connected with the world around them it can provide huge benefits for human health and global sustainability.

Questions: 1 - What is the biggest impediment from business transitioning from a linear take-make-use to a more sustainable model? 2 - How do we get more people outdoors? I’d like to use my photography and writing to attract more young people. I also have a friend that is getting ready to travel to all 59 national parks in a year-ish, and will blog/video (he’s looking for sponsors…). What do you think will work?

PatagoniaDoug1 karma

1) The biggest impediment is being driven. You know... corporations nowadays need to be more triple-bottom-line oriented. Corporate profits are important. But so is building product, and offering services, that are environmentally and socially responsible. It's no coincidence that there are no publicly-owned companies within 1% for the Planet. All those companies are privately held. If more companies focused on the environmental bottom line, as they do the financial bottom line, it would lead them to TRUE sustainability, and having more of an impact.

2) I think awareness of the environmental crisis will get people outside more. And in the Western States, the recent 4 year drought we've been in, will inspire more people to get outside and enjoy what is rapidly deteriorating before our eyes. I think that will enable people to actively fight for the environment, and reverse the trends that we're seeing. And finally, our kids' line gets product on the backs of young people, and gets them into the environment, and we hope that stimulates life-long journeys into the outdoors, and develops within people an appreciation for how fragile the environment is.

quikclipper1 karma

Ive had some issues with Patagonia R4 wetsuits in the past, they were woeful, really serious fit issues (im a textbook size L) and a jacket. I have no local store so everything has to be shipped for returns. Every time ive returned something ive been constantly reminded about the ironclad guarantee, which is great for the consumer but not too great for the environment. Im not sure some products are released entirely market ready, especially wetsuits, when you compare them to the main brands. Is this an issue you are aware of?

PatagoniaDoug1 karma

I am aware of the wetsuit issues that we've had in the past, and I know we've spent a tremendous amount of time addressing the fit of our wetsuits. I would encourage you to return your wetsuit to us, to get the right fit, and I would say that if you work with our customer service people on your measurements, then you should be a satisfied wetsuit customer.

AlanRussell1 karma

Hi, I've seen recently that Story Of Stuff were campaigning on the issue of microfibres and working with Columbia rather than Patagonia.

I wondered why Columbia had been chosen, rather than Patagonia, as I view Patagonia as a leader in addressing environmental problems, certainly amongst sportswear companies and I've found great inspiration in the environmental work that Patagonia do and am a great fan of your products. After investigating further, I found that the ecologist responsible for the study had been in touch with Patagonia and that Patagonia had declined to fund him but do seem to support organisations he is associated with (,,

I don't wish to pry, but is it possible that you could clarify your position a bit on this so that I understand what the story is from your perspective?

PatagoniaDoug1 karma

Well, the issue of microplastics are very important to us. We're working closely with both our textile partners and a major university here in the area to investigate the problem. We will fund research with this university. We're doing an internal research project to define the scope of the problem. We're working with our textile partners on it, and we've invested some funds from our $20 Million & Change venture fund ( into manufacturing and home laundering processes that we think will address the problem. So it's something we're working on.

crazy_bee1 karma

Your favourite Pokemon?

PatagoniaDoug2 karma

I don't have one.

johndrobbins1 karma

Hello Doug, how do you work with the marketing teams to ensure the measures you take in operations are accurately communicated to the end consumers and retail partners?

PatagoniaDoug1 karma

We work really closely with the marketing team to communicate a number of supply chain innovations. Such as the traceable down standard, that's a good example. Organic cotton is another. And the BlueSign system is another (certification for chemical safety). I could tick off 10 more measures that we're working on now, or in the past, but I would say that we work very upstream with the marketing team, we communicate those programs with our website, our social media platforms, and really round out the communications involving our retail stores and our partners such as REI. So that our customers see, firsthand, via point of purchase display, what we're doing to innovate operations in the supply chain.

birddp1 karma

Have you checked out How2Recycle? REI private label uses the program, you'd be a great add. On package recycling label that follows FTC guidelines - and can label any material.

PatagoniaDoug1 karma

I haven't personally checked out How2Recycle and the link provided, but we are very active in asking our customers to return product that we would like to recycle, that we can recycle, for them. We have recycling bins even in the office, in all of our retail stores, and we can take product online back from our customers to return to recycling centers throughout the world, and that chop that product up and turn it back into polyester chip, and eventually fiber. So it's a full recycling process.

manudattaraya1 karma

  1. Is it more expensive to be Eco-friendly ? How do you convince shareholders ?

  2. Do you have stores in india ? Do you ship stuff to india ?

PatagoniaDoug1 karma

1.) With respect to part 1, it's a lot more expensive to be eco-friendly. We pay a premium for sustainable materials. We pay a premium to be part of the best factories in the world, many of which are producing Fair Trade Certified-product. We have no problem convincing our shareholders that that mission is important. And in fact, have received tremendous support from our founders and board of directors to build the most responsible products that we can.

2.) And we don't have any stores in India. But we are able to ship consumer goods there. But at this point, we don't have a distributor or wholly-owned office in India.

vusroderp1 karma

Hello Doug!

I am a huge fan of Patagonia and its environmental efforts. I was wondering what projects that you have done or are doing which excite you.

Also what is your favorite piece of apparel from Patagonia?

PatagoniaDoug1 karma

My favorite piece of apparel is the Houdini Jacket. It's my favorite because it's so versatile, and multi-functional, and I can use it in a variety of sports.

And the project that I've done or that most excites me is Water-Free Dyeing, and developing textiles that have good waterproofness, good breathability, that use bio-based formulations to reach those results.