Twenty years ago we began making clothes primarily for yoga and climbing, with a simple goal: blend comfort with function. True to our yoga roots, we took it one day at a time and kept breathing. The positive response affirmed our belief in growing a conscious clothing company that inspires and supports. Our name prAna, an ancient Sanskrit word for breath, life and the vitality of spirit, has helped guide our actions and lift our aspiration since day one.
Archive for the ‘Global HQ’ Category
When we started prAna 20 years ago, our dream was that our company could be a vehicle for positive change. We felt an urgent need to do good things for people and the planet, and to support worthy causes that were doing the same. The ancient Sanskrit word Seva inspired us — to give for the pure joy of giving without expecting anything in return. It’s a lofty ambition, and from a business perspective, not exactly sustainable. Yet the spirit of this ideal has always driven us to create products with purpose in mind. Fortunately, like-minded people found value in our goods, and they became the engine that helped fuel our dream.
In the spirit of the holidays, one way we’ve given back is by supporting Outdoor Outreach, which empowers underprivileged kids to make lasting changes in their lives through comprehensive outdoor programs. Every time you purchased select items from our ‘Art of Giving’ styles, we donated 20% of the proceeds to their cause. Well the results are in and as you can see from Outdoor Outreach Founder/Executive Director, Chris Rutgers’, expression in the picture below, he was very surprised at your support and generosity!
We’re still striving towards this idealistic notion of balancing “doing good” while doing good business, and we are grateful for the opportunities to partner with you toward that goal. May the year ahead unfold like the best journeys always do, one step at a time.
Chris sent us the following note that we wanted to share with you:
Thank you so much for EVERYTHING, I can’t tell you how grateful I am for all of the support you’ve not only given to the organization and the kids, but to me personally. Beyond your financial generosity, you’ve been so generous with your time, talent and wisdom. The check is amazing, but the support and guidance you’ve given to me and the organization over the years is the truly treasured gift.
The donation from prAna will entirely fund 15 kids to participate in one of our comprehensive inner-city after school programs for an entire year. Essentially, this donation will transform 15 lives. The kids served will be coming from a school where only half of their peers will graduate and a neighborhood where 45% of the population lives below the poverty line and only 20% of residents have high school degrees. This donation will allow 15 kids to come into a program that for the last 4 years has seen 100% of the kids graduate and move on to college. Beyond the weekly after school support, the kids will go on over 30 amazing outdoor adventures over the course of the year including rock climbing, surfing, snowboarding, backpacking and mountain biking.
Read more about Outdoor Outreach on Life | Learn more about Outdoor Outreach
The annual prAna Holiday Warehouse Sale was once again a huge success! THANK YOU to all of the prAna faithful who continue to support us and our clothing. This year’s charitable recipient is, once again, North County Community Services who also runs the North County Food Bank. 1% of your purchases went to support this local non-profit who continues to support residents of San Diego County year round. Their Executive Director, Stan Miller, sent us a very nice note:
North County Community Services is passionately committed to improving the health and well-being of individuals and families by providing programs that educate young children, support working families, feed the hungry and ultimately create opportunities to improve the quality of life for residents in North San Diego County.
Our organization operates seven child development centers across North County serving 859 families with low or no cost preschool services. In addition our organization operates North County’s Food Bank which serves 112 agency partners and their clients, providing food for more than 22,000 individuals each month.
This fall and winter season has been a challenging one for many in our Nation. Like our own team members, I am sure many of you have friends and family that were impacted by the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy that swept away so much in late October. Though the storm is now two months past, cleanup and recovery efforts will continue for months.
After consulting with our friends at prAna, we wanted to share half of the proceeds donated from this year’s sale with one of our partners working hard to help in the Sandy relief efforts – the American Red Cross.
North County Community Services partners with the San Diego/Imperial Valley chapter of the American Red Cross. As a partner, we provide warehouse space to store Red Cross disaster relief food boxes, Heater Meals and bottled water for use in the event of a local disaster (fires, earthquakes, etc).
Our partners have been very busy since Sandy struck in late October. One of my local colleagues at the Red Cross – Holly Martin – recently returned from the New York area where they were able to provide significant assistance to affected areas. She shared these figures with me and I wanted to pass them along as a way of sharing the kind of impact prAna’s generosity has for our friends in the Northeast.
The Red Cross relief efforts post Hurricane Sandy in New York state alone:
• Over 4.5 million meals and snacks served to date
• Over 29,000 overnight stays at Red Cross shelters
• Over 5 million relief items, including clean-up, comfort kits distributed to date
• Over 64,000 health and mental health contacts to date
Locally, the proceeds donated from the prAna sale will touch many lives in the coming months as well. Your generosity will allow North County Community Services Food Bank to distribute 14,055 pounds of food. That is enough for 11,244 meals -or enough to feed 60 people for over six months!
Whether it is providing a meal to a local family struggling to get by, or working with others to provide disaster relief when needed, your gift will touch may lives. We are very grateful for organizations like prAna and their generous customers for caring enough to make a difference in the lives of those in need.
You can join them by supporting our work year round
Find out more about our partners at the San Diego/Imperial County chapter of the American Red Cross
Warm Regards ~ Stan Miller, Executive Director, North County Community Services
Not For Sale released a revealing report on slavery in the apparel industry, featuring supply chain ratings for more than 300 brands. Modern-day slavery, which currently affects more than 30 million people, is used throughout the production of many clothing products sold on U.S. shelves. The report, “Apparel Industry Trends: From Farm to Factory,” uses publicly available information and data self-reported by companies to rate how brands are addressing child and forced labor in their supply chains. View the full report.
As U.S. sales for Fair Trade Certified products grew 75 percent in 2011, consumers increasingly want to know the impact behind their purchases. The global slave trade is complex and product supply chains remain opaque, making it difficult for even the most informed consumers to know how their purchases are connected to labor abuses. Not For Sale makes the rankings available to shoppers online and through a smart phone application, Free2Work, as a tangible way to advocate against modern-day slavery in day-to-day life.
“To create true breakthrough in the fight against slavery, we need systemic change,” said David Batstone, Not For Sale President and Co-Founder. “Free2Work and the Apparel Industry Trends Report equip everyone to advocate for that change and make it a part of their everyday life.”
The report released in a presentation on Nov. 13 in Ankara, Turkey at the United Nations General Assembly expert group meeting on “Human Trafficking & Global Supply Chains.” The meeting included corporate, government, labor union, and NGO leaders from around the globe. It is the first comprehensive report on forced and child labor in international supply chains.
Not For Sale created the report to urge the clothing sector forward by offering best practice examples from industry leaders. It also points out brands that are fueling modern-day slavery through their negligence: Carter’s, Quiksilver, Walmart, and Aramark all receive “D” or “F” ratings and need to make significant improvements.
Ratings only indicate how companies are addressing the particular issue of modern slavery and do not reflect the overall measure of general supply chain working conditions. For example, while Adidas receives a “B,” campaigning is currently underway in response to the company’s refusal to pay over a million dollars in wages owed to Indonesian workers.
This is Not For Sale’s first full-length Free2Work report, and the organization has plans to release similar industry trend reports in upcoming months. To date, Not For Sale has released in-depth grades and profiles on over 500 brands in industries like apparel, food and electronics.
~ via NotForSaleCampaign.org
Learning that prAna is one of the top ten brands using organic cotton (globally) brought an immediate smile to my face. Seeing that we actually ranked 6th was almost enough to make us giddy….
The announcement from the Textile Exchange instantly took me back to the moment we started using organic cotton. Beaver and Pam had attended a seminar at the Organic Cotton Exchange and came back excited and instantly sold on using organic cotton in prAna designs. From that moment on, we started sourcing organic cotton and using it whenever possible.
In those early years, we had a difficult time finding mills that offered organic cotton. But we kept asking and slowly we found the right mills and factories to partner with. They even went out of their way to source organic cotton for us. India had the most options for us initially and we quickly started offering organic cotton products from there. Our partners in China had a more difficult time but our persistence paid off and they too now offer organic cotton options.
It goes to show that when you believe in something and have the vision as Beaver and Pam did, “not available” was an option we didn’t accept. We were discouraged by vendors often but we worked with and encouraged them to keep working on it and they have come through with flying colors…. and now we rank 6th… pretty awesome for a little company like us!
~Maria Vlahos, Women’s Senior Designer
Nepal and Swaziland – Small Countries, Big Impact
I don’t speak Nepali. So I didn’t know what to say when I took off my shoes, ducked my head, and stepped into the low-ceilinged room where 30 women sat crossed legged around the perimeter of the room knitting hats by hand. I just sat next to them, observed and smiled.
This is East-West Handicrafts in Bhaktapur, Nepal, in the Kathmandu Valley. The women are knitting hats for prAna. I was there to shadow a Fair Trade audit at the facility, which applied for certification under Fair Trade USA’s innovative program to certify apparel and accessories that meet the highest social and environmental production standards.
I was joined by Jekib and Gopal, experienced social auditors from an NGO based in Delhi, and Aartha, a young woman from Kathmandu who interviewed workers in Nepali. John and Sarita, the brother and sister that started the company, answered our detailed questions about how they track wages and hours, how they recruit workers, and how workers complain if they have a problem.
This woman, Manju, knits for East-West Handicrafts. With that income, she puts her two children through school. Her daughter is in college studying medical science. She wants to be a lab technician. Education is essential in Nepal, where political instability has dampened the economy, leaving Nepalese to struggle while they watch neighboring India and China grow GDP by 5-9% annually.
You might not think of it when you buy a simple knit hat to play in the snow, but someone thousands of miles away – like these women in Kathmandu – made it just for you. The average American buys 64 items of clothing a year. Each one, including the knit hat, follows its own journey on its way to you. Each one has a story and touches lives.
When you look for the Fair Trade Certified™ label, you support Manju and women like her around the world. In return, you get quality products that improve lives and protect the environment.
Next month, the women at East-West Handicrafts will participate in training by a local grassroots group called Fair Trade Group Nepal. They’ll learn about Fair Trade standards, about their rights under local and international law, and how they are connected to you through the threads they knit.
prAna is also supporting women in Mbabane, Swaziland. Their community has been badly affected by HIV and the women have few income opportunities. They produce bags for prAna and want to get Fair Trade certification so they can sell more bags and rebuild their community. Fair Trade USA enlisted the help of local partners SWIFT (Swaziland Fair Trade) and Partner Africa to conduct Fair Trade training and audit with the 45 women at Community Crafts Exports.
After the training, the women were asked the most important thing they learned. “We don’t have to be exploited or abused at work.” One woman said, “And we need to save money in the bank.”
Wear prAna proudly and stay tuned for details on the Fair Trade journey of East-West Handicrafts in Nepal and Community Crafts Exports in Swaziland.
~Heather Franzese, FairTradeUSA
Guest blogger Heather Franzese leads the Apparel & Linens pilot program at Fair Trade USA. For over 12 years, she has promoted improved working conditions in global supply chains and, through that work, has traveled to 46 countries. She currently supports two prAna suppliers in their journey to achieve Fair Trade certification, East-West Handicraft in Nepal and Community Crafts Exports Pvt. Ltd in Swaziland.
You can also support Fair Trade this month and all year long!
Just use these easy resources http://fairtradeusa.org/resources/campaigns
Thanks to our friends at Vickerey for sharing these insights into our history, culture and extended family…
prAna has been one of our fave brands for over ten years – in fact, their clothing has been a mainstay on Vickerey.com since we first started in 2001. We love absolutely everything about this company, from their amazing designs that mix style and function to their pioneering use of eco-friendly fabrics. Based in Carlsbad, California, a wonderland for outdoorsy pursuits, prAna is filled with people who really walk their talk – fun, creative, energetic, and active. We’re thrilled to share with you our three-part series interviewing Beaver Theodosakis, who founded prAna with his wife, Pam, back in the early 90s. ~Vickerey
What inspired you to create prAna?
My wife Pam and I discovered climbing and yoga and we were captured by the simplicity and soulfulness of the two activities. We felt that there was a need for more hip clothing to fit those lifestyles – mindfully designed and built to last. So we connected with some of the top climbers (like Chris Sharma) and yogis (more recently Shiva Rea) to help us develop and enhance the products before we offered them to customers.
What were a couple of the first products you created for prAna back in 1992 when you started the company?
Momentum Pants & Shorts, which we still have in the line. Freedom of movement, stretchy, loose relaxed fit – they were perfect for yoga & climbing. Also the Mohave Trouser – rugged canvas denim, stretchy inseam gusset, breathable. The Mohave has been a base silhouette for so many of our men’s pants. From the start, our theme has been ‘purpose built with street smart styling.’ Our Tornado top was the first female-specific piece we made; created fairly soon after the others.
What were some of the greatest challenges prAna faced in those first few years?
Well, business is all about problem solving and it’s how you solve them that defines your brand. I remember our first Snakebite Fleece – a penultimate climbing top – it was short in the torso so it would sit slightly above your harness and not interfere with your knot or equipment; it had stretchy underarm gussets so you could reach high and not be restricted; it hugged the body to move with you on the rock. We built all of the Snakebite tops in white so we could dye them really unique colors. We tested and tried out several different techniques before we sent it off the dye shop; it was our biggest run to date so we had a big chunk of our limited working capital at stake. When we got the tops back, the dye shop had shrunk them to midriff length! They said they couldn’t be held accountable since it was cotton (which has too many variables to control). So in a hurry to meet our shipping deadlines, we bought more fabric, dyed it ourselves to match and cut and sewed an extra piece to the bottom of each fleece. It was a ton of work but in the end, we saved the batch and the finished product was excellent.
We have a saying at prAna “If we have a quality issue, and it doesn’t leave our building, it’s a small problem. Once it gets out to customers it becomes a big problem; with customer service/returns, and most importantly, losing credibility in the marketplace.”
Describe prAna’s essence.
“prAna, an ancient Sanskrit word for breath, life and vitality of the spirit and has helped guide our actions and lift our aspirations since day one.” We are borrowing this great name for a short time, so we have to live up to its wonderful meaning. Our tag line is “born from the experience” which authentically came from being in the moment, inspired by activities like climbing and yoga.
We do our best to balance commerce with idealism – many tough decisions, especially in today’s economic environment. We want to understand first what is best for our customer and then engineer our systems and processes to fulfill those needs. Businesses so often try to do what is easiest for them and cheapest for them and they leave the customers out of the equation. I learned this from a career in the restaurant business, where it’s quite unforgiving.
We originally tried to set up prAna to be a 501c3 non-profit; inherently a vehicle for positive change, but there were too many hoops to jump through. So we created a business with commerce to support the causes that we and our customers believed in.
How many product designers work at prAna?
In the last three years, we’ve more than tripled the number of product designers – today we have 8 designers + 14 product developers that work on quality, fit and sustainable sourcing. My wife, Pam, used to be the design director that made just about all of the design decisions, but now there are many more layers and systems in place, so a large group collaborates to create the design direction. Pam’s role now is Trendologist.
What first inspires new product lines?
A lot of inspiration trips – designers head out all over the world, bringing back ideas from architecture, interior design, books, movies, art and of course fashion. Then they develop a theme and present it where all feedback & intel from other employees is welcome. Our ambassadors provide important feedback as well.
Could you tell us more about what’s on the prAna scorecard used to determine new products’ sustainability?
We have a director of sustainability who looks at everything from the supply chain; materials, dyeing and finishing, how it’s produced, transportation, factory conditions, etc. The process of developing new products is usually 1.5 – 2 years out because so much research is done before products get developed.
Describe the ultimate prAna customer.
A very active person who works hard and plays hard, appreciates thoughtful design, chooses eco-friendly products and treats other people and the earth with respect.
How do you see the designs evolving – any areas where you’re expanding or changing?
This Fall we launched our first real cold weather collection to finally become a 4 season brand. We are offering lots of outerwear and mid layer styles with the same design sensibilities as our legacy product. For Spring 2013, we are launching a swim collection.
What’s the feel of the prAna office?
It’s a fun place to work! The layout is very open and collaborative, we’ve got a big community kitchen, an awesome freestanding climbing boulder in our outdoor lunch area, which features tons of natural boulders, native plants and natural wood tables/benches made from fallen trees. We’ve got a full gym and we are located just minutes away from great trails, road rides and of course the Pacific Ocean. Every day at about 2:45 we ring a big gong that resonates throughout the building, signaling all of us that we must interrupt our daily patterns and stop working. It’s a mandatory one minute meditation for us all to connect to something outside of work and reset our intentions. We’ve been doing it for about 10 years now.
Your ambassador program is one of the strongest we’ve seen. How did it start?
Chris Sharma (widely seen as the best climber in the world) was one of our first sponsored climbers. He called us up when he was 14 years old, and said that he wanted to wear our clothes since they “didn’t make him feel like he was on the Star Trek movie set.” Basically, clothes with purpose in mind that offered street styling that he could wear to school and then head out to climb without changing. His humility and understated nature, yet drive to get the job done, really makes him the physical epitome of prAna.
How do you choose your ambassadors?
Performance is important, but certainly not the only criteria. It’s essential that prAna ambassadors align with our core values, how they treat other people out there and of course if they are influential in their communities. Our values include Seva, a Sanskrit word meaning ‘to serve others without expecting anything in return’. Also, integrity and delivering on your promises. Other values include maintaining a healthy life/work balance, taking positive steps towards environmental and social change and living a high energy lifestyle.
How did you develop those brand values?
We’ve never published the values or posted them on the walls, but a few years ago we asked our middle management team of 10 people to come up with the values that they felt we stood for, just from their experiences at work. Six months later, they called Pam, myself and our executive team in a room and said ‘write down the values of prAna, put them in your pocket, and then we’ll tell you what we came up with.’ When all was said and done, the values that they stated pretty much aligned exactly with what we wrote down. It was very emotional.
We know prAna is currently working on reducing the use of poly bags. Are there other sustainability projects in the background like that?
Well, our new facility was built with Leed Silver environmental standards but we didn’t go through the official certification because of time constraints. Lots of energy efficient systems, natural lighting, reduced water flow sinks, waterless urinals, etc. We recycle glass, plastic, cardboard, paper, aluminum and electronics. We compost and have a community garden. Scott Kerslake, our CEO is incredibly focused on the employees and their well-being and heads up our sustainability efforts (besides running the company of course).
What non-profits are prAna involved with?
We partner with the Access Fund, Conservation Alliance, The Outdoor Foundation (to introduce more kids in the outdoors), HERA – Climb for Life, Keep a Breast Foundation, the Organic Exchange. See more groups we support at prAna.com/life/alliances
How involved are you at prAna on a day-to-day basis currently?
What is one thing you wish you could do more of at prAna (personally, and also as a larger brand)?
My job is pretty ideal, but I would like to inspire and mentor other companies to support worthy causes. Simple things as well, just creating awareness with their own staff about social and environmental issues. Lots of start-ups have called me for advice, which is fantastic, as I love to share what I’ve learned. For prAna, I would like to see us offer a larger selection of more technical apparel and accessories.
What are some of your personal favorite prAna products?
The Zion Pant is a staple for me. Hiking, climbing, camping, anything outdoors really. It’s so durable and it’s got the pockets all in the right places.
What are three of your current interests outside of prAna?
Flying airplanes – that’s how I get to most of the places I travel to. Mountain biking, climbing, and yoga are all longtime interests too.
How about the perfect way to start your morning?
Without a doubt, I love to make morning smoothies for our family in the Vita-Mix. We grow lots of fruits and vegetables in our yard.
What’s one thing you’ve discovered recently and fallen in love with?
I’d have to say that I am obsessed with composting. I’ve got 5 different batches going at any given time and I look at food waste like it’s gold – kinda’ silly.
Can you think of three things prAna’s fans & our readers should know about you?
Nothing special here, I’m just a guy that loves what he’s doing, follows his passion, and for sure, has been lucky. I’m fortunate to be surrounded by a lot of great people. I do like to take risks but usually they are calculated.
Who is a real-life hero to you?
Chris Rutgers from Outdoor Outreach (outdooroutreach.org). He is the definition of the unsung hero: the guy behind the scenes serving others with no expectation of reward. Chris and his team introduce about 800 kids to the outdoors every year and mentor them through school and even into careers. It doesn’t get any better than that in my eyes – pure SEVA.
How long have you been a prAna customer? Tell us in the comments below!
prAna Employees Volunteer To Support Healthy Food For Underprivileged Children
There are lots of reasons we love working at prAna but one of the best is our dedication to serving our local community. Twice a year, we get the opportunity to close our HQ and the whole company heads out for a day of service. Here is a pictorial of our growing team thoroughly enjoying our latest endeavor supporting North County Community Service’s Edible Gardens Project…
In 2006, North County Community Services began installing small vegetable gardens at a number of our child development facilities throughout Northern San Diego County. Originally, these gardens were intended to serve as an extended classroom experience for children enrolled at our facilities. Children participated in planting, watering, and harvesting vegetables from the gardens that were then incorporated into the meals they consumed at the center. During the early years of this program, a variety of vegetables were planted, allowing us to experience some successes and a few learning moments too. With each year, we were able to figure out some things which allowed us to realize a higher yield of edible goodies and more targeted growth of produce we actually needed to augment our nutritional menu to include “home-grown” food. Today, the Edible Garden Project continues to sprout to life in 4 separate sites (and counting) around Northern San Diego County growing fresh healthy goodies like cabbage, herbs (varieties of) lettuce, celery, onions, potatoes, snow peas, zucchini, cucumbers for a total of 25,255 square feet of garden space- that’s a lot of healthy eating!
To learn more about the community garden, daycare services and food bank visit North County Community Services
We are happy announce the birth opening of our latest store in the beautiful Cherry Creek North district of Denver, Colorado! We are proud to be part of this beautiful city and look forward to becoming active members of the community!
Stop in an say hello to Tim and the crew and check out our full line of Spring/Summer gear as well as sign up for our free yoga classes, monthly art shows and much, much more!