Who owns Patagonia? The Patagonia Purpose Trust and Holdfast Collective organizations own Patagonia, Inc. Almost 50 years after he founded and owned the company, Yvon Chouinard and his family transferred the company ownership to the Patagonia Purpose Trust and the Holdfast Collective.
However, it is important to remember that Patagonia, Inc., remains a privately held company, meaning it’s not publicly traded on the stock market. Read on to understand the ownership structure of Patagonia.
A Brief Overview of Patagonia
Patagonia is an American retailer that specializes in outdoor clothing. This American outdoor clothing and gear company was founded by former billionaire Yvon Chouinard in 1973, with its headquarters in Ventura, California.
But by the 1970s, Patagonia opened its first store in Santa Clara. The company experienced tremendous growth during the 70s and 80s. This led the apparel giant to venture into other niches, including sports such as surfing.
Today, Patagonia is one of the largest apparel companies in the world. According to one source, this giant apparel company made over a billion dollars in sales back in 2019. However, finding credible financial information relating to this company is incredibly challenging as they are private and are not legally obligated to disclose financial information to the public.
Patagonia also employs thousands of people globally as it has expanded its reach to over ten countries worldwide. At the time of writing, Patagonia had over 80 retail stores in the United States, and over 20 stores in other countries, including Canada, Japan, and the United Kingdom.
How Yvon Chouinard Became Patagonia, Inc.’s Owner
Yvon Chouinard, the founder and owner of Patagonia, Inc., is a well-known environmentalist, rock climber, and businessman. He is known for his solid ethical practices, which have made Patagonia one of the most successful and respected outdoor clothing companies in the world.
Here is a brief overview of how he founded Patagonia:
Yvon Chouinard was born in Lewiston, Maine, in 1938. Although his parents were of French-Canadian descent, young Chouinard grew up in Southern California. As a teenager, he became interested in rock climbing, exploits which led him to join the Southern California Falconry Club.
Chouinard spent a lot of time at Stoney Point and Tahquitz Rock, where he met some other young climbers, one of them, Tom Frost, who would later help him address the issue of growing supply and demand.
In the 1960s, Chouinard started making his own climbing equipment, which he sold out of his car and parent’s house. He decided to save money by making his own climbing gear. He taught himself blacksmithing and eventually started a business.
In 1965, He founded Chouinard Equipment alongside his partner then, Tom Frost, and began to manufacture high-quality climbing gear designed to be more durable and reliable than anything else on the market.
Founding Patagonia, Inc.
In 1972, Chouinard and a friend, Tom Frost, went on a climbing trip to Patagonia, a remote region in South America. The trip inspired Chouinard to create a clothing company that would specialize in outdoor gear that was both functional and environmentally friendly. In 1973, he founded Patagonia, Inc., in Ventura, California.
Initially, Patagonia sold only climbing gear and accessories, but the company soon began to expand into clothing. Chouinard was committed to using sustainable and environmentally friendly materials, such as organic cotton and recycled polyester, in his products. He also implemented sustainable business practices, such as reducing waste and using renewable energy sources in his factories.
Today, Patagonia is known for its high-quality outdoor clothing and accessories, as well as its commitment to environmental sustainability. Chouinard has been a vocal advocate for environmental causes and has used his platform as a successful businessman to promote sustainable business practices and raise awareness about the impact of climate change.
The Current Patagonia Ownership Structure of Patagonia, Inc.
Back in September 2022, he stated that the company’s ownership was going to be transferred to help fight the climate crisis. He also said that all the profits obtained hereinafter were going to contribute to the company’s mission of ‘saving our home planet.’
As mentioned above, Patagonia, Inc., was founded in 1973 by Yvon Chouinard. He remains a key figure in the company’s ownership even today. However, ownership of the company has changed over the years.
Patagonia, Inc., has always been a private company and will remain that way even after the transfer of ownership. This means that they do not sell their shares to raise equity in exchange for a percentage of ownership.
Under the new ownership structure, The Patagonia Purpose Trust and The Holdfast Collective will own Patagonia, Inc. This is how it will work;
- The Patagonia Purpose Trust: Yvon Chouinard and his family transferred 100% of the company’s voting stock, which equates to 2% of the company. They transferred it to The Patagonia Purpose trust, whose main reason for existence is to uphold Patagonia’s mission, beliefs, and values.
In addition to members of the family, the trust will preside over key company decisions, including appointments of each member of the board of directors.
- The Holdfast Collective: The Chouinard family transferred 100% of the company’s non-voting, which equates to 98% of the company. They transferred it to the Holdfast Collective, which is a non-profit organization dedicated to fighting the environmental crisis.
Patagonia, Inc., will fund the Holdfast Collective. After they re-invest in the business, the remaining proceeds will go to supporting Holdfast Collective and their ongoing work.
- The day-to-day operations will remain the same. The current leaders, including CEO Ryan Gellert, together with his team, will continue with their work.
Subsidiaries and Other Companies Owned By Patagonia, Inc.
Patagonia, Inc., has a diverse portfolio of companies and subsidiaries that help it achieve its commitment to environmental and social responsibility. These companies also allow Patagonia to expand its impact beyond the apparel industry into other sectors that are aligned with its mission.
Patagonia, Inc., operates its apparel, equipment, and other related business through the following subsidiaries:
This subsidiary was established to produce and distribute multimedia content related to environmental and social issues. Patagonia Media’s content includes documentaries, podcasts, books, and other forms of media that highlight the company’s commitment to environmental stewardship and social responsibility.
This subsidiary was established to produce and distribute sustainable and regenerative food products. The company’s mission is to create high-quality, nutritious food that supports healthy ecosystems and promotes environmental sustainability.
Patagonia Provisions works with farmers, ranchers, fishermen, and other food producers who share the company’s commitment to ethical and sustainable food production.
Fletcher Chouinard Designs (FCD)
Founded by legendary surfer and shaper Fletcher Chouinard, FCD is committed to using eco-friendly materials and manufacturing processes to minimize its impact on the environment.
Tin Shed Ventures, LLC
This subsidiary invests in startups and companies with innovative solutions to environmental and social challenges.
Worn Wear specializes in repairing and recycling outdoor gear and clothing. This subsidiary aims to reduce waste and promote sustainability by extending the life of Patagonia products through repair, reuse, and recycling.
The Impact of Patagonia Ownership Structure
Although the company’s ownership is being transferred to a trust, Chouinard and his family have made efforts to ensure that the initial vision for the company will remain — “To have a for-profit business that works for the planet.”
Since 1985, Patagonia, Inc., has committed 1% of its total sales to environmental groups. The company has always had a strong stance on climate change activism. They’ve always been at the forefront of the fight against climate change for more than decades now.
Before the transfer of ownership, Yvon Chouinard contributed massively to the company’s mission, values, and overall success. His unique perspective on business, environmentalism, and social responsibility has shaped the company’s culture and operations.
Chouinard’s influence has also extended to Patagonia’s unique corporate culture. The company is known for its employee-focused policies, such as offering on-site childcare and paid time off for environmental activism.
This led esteemed writers at the Washington Post to publish an article titled, “A company that profits as it pampers workers.”
But outside the office, it’s evident to see the kind of impact that the ownership at Patagonia has had on the market. Yvon’s ownership and leadership brought activism and commitment to fighting climate change, which helped secure a strong customer base.
Consumers, particularly millennials and younger generations, are increasingly concerned about the environment and are looking for companies that share their values. A 2021 study by Accenture found that more than half of consumers globally are willing to pay more for sustainable and eco-friendly products.
By taking an active role in environmental activism, Patagonia created a positive brand image, which in turn increased customer loyalty and satisfaction.
Patagonia, Inc., is a privately held firm that Yvon Chouinard owned up until late 2022. They’ve built their business model on strong ethical practices, which have seen Yvon Chouinard and his family champion the fight against climate change. And this fight is destined to continue with the new ownership, as they seek to uphold the same values that Chouinard held.