Patagonia is best known for its colorful fleeces and classic backpacks, worn by the hip and fashion-indifferent alike. The brand has a way of transcending trendy and is a wardrobe staple for many, even those who rarely step foot on a trail. To achieve this kind of customer loyalty, a brand needs that special something that forges a deep connection with consumers. For Patagonia, that something is a profound sense of identity and values that are deeply rooted in environmental protection and grassroots activism.
The company was founded 40 years ago and has remained privately held, with 2,500 employees across the world. On social media, it’s been named the number one brand in the sports apparel category for its engagement, impact, and responsiveness. All the while, Patagonia is often recognized for taking care of employees and offering exceptional benefits.
We recently had the opportunity to speak with Dean Carter, head of shared services at Patagonia, responsible for the company’s finance, HR, and legal teams. Carter talks about what life is like at the “un-company,” and how Patagonia has always remained focused on culture, in both good times and bad.