Well Made

Ep. 52 Celebrating the Stories We Wear with Nellie Cohen

July 25, 2018 · RSS · Apple Podcasts

Nellie Cohen sees endless potential in worn-in clothing. Sure there may be a few broken zippers, but quality garments, especially those made by outdoor apparel and gear company, Patagonia are built for some wear and tear. In fact, that’s the idea.

Nellie oversees Patagonia’s Worn Wear program. Worn Wear encourages people to do more with the clothing they already have through repair, reuse, and responsible recycling. They do this by offering trade-in credits for pre-owned Patagonia merchandise that’s then resold online at a discount. While a smaller operation, Worn Wear is part of Patagonia’s larger commitment to ethical environmental responsibility. The repair center, for instance, patches over 40,000 garments each year. More than that, the program is about the true stories of people and their Patagonia gear and preserving the planet in a small way. 

“It's good for the planet if there's liquidity — if things are moving around and being used to their maximum value and lifetime.”

 Celebrating the Stories We Wear

On this episode of the podcast, Nellie shares the origins behind Worn Wear (6:24). She illuminates on the process of launching their ecommerce site (10:58), managing the logistics behind all the program elements (13:07), and creating cross-functional trainable systems (14:23). Nellie talks about the revenue goals of the program (17:56). Stephan asks about the organizational systems and values that enable Patagonia to implement programs like Worn Wear (23:10). Nellie shares how they’re still a scrappy startup under a larger parent company (34:43). They get big picture with sustainability in ecommerce and its impact on Patagonia (35:44); and finally, they dive into Patagonia’s case study on plastic packaging for garment delivery (38:48).

Shop Worn Wear and follow them on Instagram.

Also mentioned on the show:

Header image via 2025design.

You can find this and all future episodes on iTunes, Google Play, and here on the Lumi blog. This episode was edited by Evan Goodchild.

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