He surfed in California and climbed in Yosemite, making the pitons and other metal tools as he went. He even confesses to having eaten cat food for a while, just to survive. His blacksmith work expanded into functional wear and finally became the Patagonia outerwear brand. He never loved the thought of becoming a businessman, but he found a way to combine his love for the outdoors and climbing with his core values and making a living.
He lets his people surf in office hours, uses company profit to buy land that is turned into national parks, and believes in environmental activism. And he still surfs, hikes, and climbs, when he is not busy challenging people to save the world or pay up to let others do the job. His business has been his greatest adventure.
“The word adventure has gotten overused. For me, when everything goes wrong – that’s when adventure starts” says Yvon Chouinard in the documentary 180 South (another inspiring piece).
(Helsinki, Finland; July 2015)