One company’s recent initiative tracks its products from design to delivery.
By Holly Burns
Patagonia has long had a reputation for producing quality clothing while becoming one of the most environmentally responsible retailers to date. However, their latest venture of educating their customers through a complex product tracking system from design to delivery just goes to show how progressive they really are.
How do their Footprint Chronicles work?
On their website you can find a link to the Footprint Chronicles. Simply click this link and you will be directed to a site where you will find a map of the world. From there, you can “choose a product”, dig deeper, or “join the discussion”. All of these options give the consumer information about the very basic makeup of the Patagonia brand and clothing.
Let’s pretend you want to find out more information about that Rain Shadow Jacket you just bought yesterday. First click “choose a product”, then you click on the image of it and are suddenly following the pattern of flight that brought the jacket into your life. The jacket was designed in Ventura, California. But the design info doesn’t stop there. If you choose, you can watch a YouTube video where the Patagonia Alpine Product Line Manager and the Manager of Technical Fabric Development discuss the quality of the jacket and why it’s made the way it’s made. Next, you find out that the fabric came from two locations in Japan. The sewing stage happened in Hanoi, Vietnam and the final product was distributed from Reno, Nevada.
Through all of these steps you are given options that allow you to learn more. It’s highly informative and Patagonia even lays out “the good” and “the bad” for you so you can make informed purchase decisions by knowing all of this stuff up front. Patagonia lays their cards on the table for you, and I, for one, appreciate their transparency. They are always striving to improve their processes but in the meantime, they are using the best possible options that are available.
The site is well-designed and easy to navigate. My only complaint is that if you want to return to the previous page you are brought all the way back to the home page have to start all over again (it doesn’t take long to bring yourself back to where you want to be; I’m just impatient).
It’s a great way to educate the consumer and remind them that the t-shirt on their back has possibly traveled more than they have. I love how Patagonia has connected the dots and I hope that other companies will follow their lead. How cool would it be to be able to do that with everything you purchase? Personally, I’d like to see it translated to fruits one day soon; imagine knowing where that single strawberry has been. It would probably make me not want to eat it…