The Cleanest Line

Weblog for the employees, friends and customers of the outdoor clothing company Patagonia. Visit to see what we do.

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    Thanks to You

    P3290088 Let's get straight to the point: We wouldn't be here if it weren't for You. That's right, You with a capital "Y," the one who's reading this post.

    It's You--Patagonia customers, fans of the Tin Shed, regular readers of The Cleanest Line--who deserve the thanks.

    Last year, we ran a post expressing our gratitude for the greater grooviness of working for a place like Patagonia. Indeed, it's a privilege to be part of a company that consistently rates in a variety of "Best Places to Work" surveys. When people are asked why they like to work here, answers range from the concrete (on-site daycare, flexible hours and great colleagues) to the ineffable (the personal satisfaction that comes with working for a values-driven company).

    One answer that underlies all of these benefits, however, is the customers. When it comes down to it, we can only be here doing what we're doing as long as you want us to. The day our customers decide we no longer offer products or business practices they can believe in is the day we go out of business.

    We wouldn't be what we are, who we are, if our customers didn't believe in speaking up for things they care about. The boatloads of questions we receive arrive on a constant stream of criticism. These things force us to continually reexamine our strategies and values.

    We also receive some true gifts; gemlike notes that arrive out of the blue and remind all of us why we show up every day to keep doing what we're doing. Today is a good time to share a sample of the good words you've sent us over the past few months, and to offer our humble thanks for making us a part of your journeys.

    [One of the many photos you've sent our way . . . Hiking the Dunes in Death Valley National Park. Photo: L. Mosco]

    Continue reading "Thanks to You" »

    Hand Cut Screening in Santa Barbara December 4th; Enter to Win the DVD

    Hand_cut_cover If you've visited the Tin Shed, you no doubt saw the trailer for Hand Cut, a backcountry skiing and snowboarding film by 1% For the Planet member, Sweetgrass Productions. The film's tour schedule will be winding down at the end of the year, but not before folks in the Santa Barbara area get a chance to see the film on the big screen. Hand Cut will be shown on December 4, as part of Santa Barbara Surfrider's Annual Holiday Party (details after the jump).

    For those who don't live in our neck of the woods, the Hand Cut DVD is now available to purchase at The movie blends old-timer wisdom with self-propelled backcountry riding and the original blues music of John-Alex Mason, all brought to life in High Definition and brilliant 16mm film.

    Nick from Sweetgrass Productions generously donated a copy of the movie to The Cleanest Line and we're giving you the chance to win it. Just leave a comment on this post before midnight on Dec. 4 and we'll choose a random winner. Read on for the rules of the contest.

    Continue reading "Hand Cut Screening in Santa Barbara December 4th; Enter to Win the DVD" »

    Bozeman Save Wild Steelhead Festival

    Picture_2_2 Fly-fishing fanatic and Patagonia field report writer, Dylan Tomine, shares his experience at a recent steelhead-conservation fundraiser in Bozeman, Montana.

    Just back from the Bozeman Save Wild Steelhead Festival and thought I’d report in. I know what you’re thinking – I thought it too: What the heck is a steelhead event doing in Montana, of all places? A fundraiser for a species that doesn’t even live there, on a school night in November, during a severely spiraling economy? No way.

    Well, what can I say? It was an absolutely spectacular event put together by the Fly Boys, Paul Tarantino and Josh Brandner, with a packed house, tons of enthusiasm and a lot of money raised for the Wild Steelhead Coalition and Trout Unlimited. I was blown away by the level of support from the community – Bozeman is a really special place.

    [Wild Steelhead Coalition President, Rich Simms, receives a $5,000 check and hearty handshake from Patagonia’s Blake Nicolazzo. The donation came directly from the sales of World Trout T-Shirts. Photo courtesy of Fly Boys]

    Continue reading "Bozeman Save Wild Steelhead Festival" »

    Patagonia Receives FLA Accreditation

    Footprint_2 Patagonia is proud to announce that as of October, 2008, we have become a fully accredited member of the Fair Labor Association.  While Patagonia was a founding member and active participating company in the Fair Labor Association since 1999, it was not until last month that we received the distinction of full accreditation. To achieve this honor, we adhere to the FLA Workplace Code of Conduct and ten company obligations. This includes carrying out a rigorous internal monitoring program executed by Patagonia, as well as submitting to unannounced, Independent External Monitoring audits of up to 5% of our factories each year. The FLA posts the results of its random audits on its website for everyone to see as part of its commitment to transparency.

    Picture_2 To achieve accreditation, Patagonia's program was reviewed by FLA staff to ensure the implementation of the required obligations for a participating company.  This gives a new level of creditability to our program as well as provides us guidelines for further improvement.  We are incredibly excited here at Patagonia to receive this accreditation as it is a culmination of the hard work of a lot of people in the company. Patagonia embeds social responsibility into the sourcing and production of its materials and products. We have made some changes in the past year to strengthen this integration. Factories must be reviewed to see if they are able to meet our social standards before we will place production there.

    [A modern-day Chinese clothing factory. Photo: Nicole Bassett.]

    Continue reading "Patagonia Receives FLA Accreditation" »

    Inside/Outside: Questions for Patagonia’s Writer and Editor Vincent Stanley

    Img_8192_3_2 Craig Holloway is back with another insightful interview. This time around Craig chats with Vincent Stanley, who's been working with his uncle, Yvon Chouinard, for the last 35 years (on and off). Vincent is currently the head writer and editor for Patagonia's marketing team. [Photo by Tim Davis]

    CRAIG: You have been employed with Patagonia on and off for the past 35 years. What is the one thing at Patagonia that has stayed the same all the years that you have been here?

    VINCENT: That it’s more than a business. There’s even a phrase now for companies like ours, for-profits who care about other things: social enterprise. A social enterprise is said to wend a path somewhere between that of a conventional business and an NGO. Back in the early seventies no such thing was considered possible. We were a social enterprise before you could name it.

    CRAIG: In one word – describe what the Chouinard family means to you.

    VINCENT: Home. I don’t seem to feel at home anywhere fully but I do when I’m with my family. I’m a Chouinard on my mother’s side. Yvon was my boyhood hero and later, after I came to work here, mentor. Our lives – his and Malinda’s and Nora’s and mine are interwoven many ways, by our shared experience as family, by all these years at Patagonia, and finally as friends. We and a few other old friends from the company – like the Ridgeways – share a worldview; everyone’s is a bit different but close enough.

    The Chouinards by the way are all formidable storytellers. If Aunt Doris had become a writer I’d have had to retire my pen.

    Continue reading "Inside/Outside: Questions for Patagonia’s Writer and Editor Vincent Stanley" »

    Recap of the Sacred Craft Surfboard Expo

    A unique event happened back in October at the Del Mar Fairgrounds in San Diego, California. Dubbed the "Sacred Craft Surfboard Expo" it brought together surfboard shapers and the surfers who appreciate the artistry and craftsmanship of hand-built surfboards. Fletcher Chouinard Designs and the crew from Patagonia's Cardiff surf shop were on hand for the show. Devon Howard, manager of Patagonia Cardiff, sent us his take on the show in words and video.

    This wasn't just a get-together for people to buy "stuff." It was a gathering of dedicated surfing enthusiasts. Everyone that came to check out the show was genuinely into surfboard and wetsuit design. They came armed with questions and curiosity. I think they also got a lot more out the experience than they thought.

    Continue reading "Recap of the Sacred Craft Surfboard Expo" »

    Catching Lego, a Summer's Internship In Yosemite

    Last summer, Patagonia Dillon store employee Bucky Ballou drove from her home in Montana to Yosemite National Park, where she helped operate a bird-banding station with The Institute for Bird Populations (IBP). It was her second field season volunteering through Patagonia's environmental internship program, which pays employees' their full wages and benefits for up to two months while they work with nonprofit environmental groups worldwide. Bucky’s internship helped to support the Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship (MAPS) study, a continent-wide network of bird netting and banding stations coordinated by IBP. She wrote this account:

    My car was overflowing with three month's worth of camping gear when I started my drive West in early May. The bird song identifier played in my iPod as I made my way toward MAPS training in Grant's Pass, Oregon.

    After a week of pre-sunrise to sunset intensive training, I headed on to Yosemite. I was the first of our crew of three interns and a biologist to arrive at our campsite. (My husband Craig joined us in June for two months.) I chose a level spot under a huge sugar pine to pitch my tent. It was great to be back in the park.

    Continue reading "Catching Lego, a Summer's Internship In Yosemite" »

    Core Angling: Science and Fly Fishing Combined

    [Update: Added a bunch of photos after the jump.] Patagonia Fly Fishing Marketer, Bill Klyn, shares his experience with a new kind of fly fishing trip. Core Angling offers world-class bonefishing in the Bahamas combined with the opportunity to help scientists study the fish and hopefully preserve their numbers for good. If you're an angler, or you know one, be sure and check out the fish-landing tips at the end of his story.

    Bonefishing: Just the word elicits that memory of blistering sun, wading sand and marl flats of soothingly warm calf-high water, that smell of primordial ooze, while constantly searching for that tailing fish, nervous water or that dark shape that suddenly appears – usually at the last minute before spooking. That memorable cast that gently lays the fly close enough to see that exciting, accelerated grab, then the sound of the screaming reel during that zip code changing run that elevates both the heart rate and one’s soul. What can be better than that?

    Continue reading "Core Angling: Science and Fly Fishing Combined" »

    Interviews from 2008 Banff Mountain Film & Book Festival - Jennifer Lowe-Anker, Plus, New Dirtbag Diaries Short

    Titlepodcast We have a double-shot from Fitz Cahall and the Dirtbag Diaries to start your week. First up is the Banff Mountain Film & Book Festival interview I promised you last Friday (sorry, the Tea Fire had me preoccupied) between Fitz and Jennifer Lowe-Anker. Then, we have a new listener-recorded "The Shorts" episode of the Dirtbag Diaries where Colorado-based writer Brendan Leonard talks about becoming a bicycle devotee.

    Audio_graphic_20px Listen to Banff 2008 Interview – Jennifer Lowe-Anker
    (mp3 - 9:15 - right-click to download)

    Audio_graphic_20px Listen to The Shorts - Friendship is a Used Bicycle
    (mp3 - 8:35 - right-click to download)

    Our thoughts and best wishes go out to everyone in Southern California who've been affected by the recent fires. And we heartily thank all of the men and women who bravely fought the fires, the authorities who helped maintain order and the volunteers who assisted their fellow man.

    Have a good week everybody.

    Another Climate Change Victim - Yosemite's Glaciers

    Glacial retreat is becoming an increasingly common--and unsettling--fact of mountain life in the 21st Century. Many were made more familiar with the topic through the dramatic photos of Glacier National Park displayed in Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth. News from California this week reveals the problem is present in our Sierra backyard as well. Gretchen Weber, of California's KQED Public Radio shares the following story with us. Many thanks to Gretchen for tuning us in to what's no doubt a concerned audience:

    The glaciers in the Sierra Nevada are melting fast, and I really wanted to see one before it was too late. Earlier this fall, I got my wish. Reporter Sasha Khokha and I were lucky enough to travel to Yosemite and tag along with geographer Hassan Basagic on his trek to photograph the Dana Glacier as part of his research documenting the retreat of the Sierra glaciers.

    Continue reading "Another Climate Change Victim - Yosemite's Glaciers" »

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