While I was on co-op in southern California I attended a conference on sustainable business at UCLA (opportunity green). One of the presenters there was from Patagonia. He told us the story of how the company got started- it all began as a couple guys building climbing hooks out of their garage. Slowly but surely they grew into the premier outdoor brand that they are today. The thing that stuck with me, though, is that they have stayed true to their origin. Being outside- whether it is for climbing, or some other adventure, is still their primary motivator. Because of that, Patagonia has become a pioneer in 'green' business practices. They are a very transparent company that is willing to share its victories and defeats with consumers in order to have a better end result. Check out their commitment to the environment here.
Patagonia is a very strong brand because the name indicates quality as well as dedication to the environment. Right away, people understand the product (high-end outdoor gear) and the bigger purpose (helping the environment.) I need to work on what my bigger purpose within design is...whether that be a commitment to sustainability or to helping kids have fun. Once I figure that out, it will be my responsibility to stay true to that bigger purpose while doing quality work...and maybe one day I can be like Patagonia, too.