I am reading “Let My People Go Surfing” by Patagonia’s founder Yvon Chouinard. I highly recommend it.
“Is this product durable?” -Yvon asks.
By durable he asks if the product parts wear out at roughly the same time and only after a long life. Electronic equipment is the worst, it has become virtually disposable when one element fails. It can technically be repaired but the cost of repair is too high relative to the original purchase price so you get rid of it. Patagonia tries to get all the components of a product to be roughly equal in durability.
“Is the product repairable?”
There will be always a need to repair but everything they make should be designed to be repairable. Patagonia keeps an archive of nearly every fabric and trim they have ever used. Their larger stores have the ability to do minor repairs. Patagonia also shows how customers can make their own repairs. Finally they have a central repair center in Reno where customers can repair their products as long as possible. Sometimes across generations. Your son could get your old jacket fixed.
“Repair is a Radical Act”
“This simple act of extending the life of our garments through proper care and repair reduces the need to buy more over time — thereby avoiding the carbon dioxide emissions, waste output, and water usage required to build the new products.”
This is very inspiring.
Everything we create tends to disappear or be created with very short term in mind. Some products are even designed with a short life goal so people buy more often.
By creating products that should last as long as possible Yvon might have harmed his short term revenue but he’s building a very long term loyalty with his customers. It makes me want to buy more from Patagonia.