While in NYC I went to check out the Patagonia store (we don’t have any in NZ (although you can purchase Patagonia product from Bivouac).
So I had an old pair of Patagonia shoes. It’s worth pointing out at this point, that Patagonia has a policy that their customers must be completely satisfied with their product. I walked in to their store wearing my three year old Patagonia shoes (which had taken a beating) to potentially buy a new rain jacket and to have a good look around their NY shop. What happened next completely exceeded my expectation and from a design perspective – completely epitomises the ethos of the Patagonia brand.
The sales manager noticed what I was wearing and asked how my shoes were getting on. I said they were great thanks. He responded with “are you completely happy with them?” I said “yes, but it’s worth noting that the heal area inside the shoe had worn faster than the rest of the shoe”. He then said ”so you are not completely happy with them” and I responded with “that’s not what I mean, they are excellent shoes”. And that was it. Perhaps it was a communication issue or a breakdown in translation. They, Patagonia, decided that they needed to replace my shoes – at no cost to me – because that was the right thing to do and because the brand philosophy is that you must be completely happy with their product. May I remind you that this doesn’t occur very often does it? When was the last time a retailer replaced their product for you after 3 years of hard use when the product was purchased in a completely different country and continent?
So I walked out with a free replacement pair – thanks Patagonia! And it gets better. You see, Patagonia is a leader in real environmental sustainability and they have held this position for years, well before green and environmental awareness was on the radar for most people – if you don’t believe me just read let My People Go Surfing by Yvon Chouinard the company’s founder http://locusresearch.com/bookshop.
So the old shoes that Patagonia collected from me in return for the new replacement pair were being sent to Michigan to be disassembled with the materials being recycled or remanufactured to make the next pair or new products. A true Product Service System in action. Brilliant stuff guys! That is a brand living up to its reputation on all levels!
Designer Blythe Rees-Jones of Locus Research visited New York recently to attend the Medical Design and Manufacturing MD&M East tradeshow and the Medical Design Excellence Awards MDEA. Encircle Compression Therapy, a new medical devices developed by Blythe Rees-Jones and the Locus and TMC team was awarded a winner of the 2011 Medical Design Excellence awards – so Blythe went to the East coast of America to see what impact this new medical technology could have in the country of the stars & stripes. This is the third of a series of posts about his experiences on the trip.
Aknowledgements: We would like to thank The Merino Company, Andy Wynne, Delloch, Terry Vickers & Sean O'connor for supporting this trip.