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Vincent Stanley
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Here's a post from June Fox.... REPPING 101 with Paul Marsh Back in the day…when the first Patagonia rep group starting doing off-site order entry and submitting orders via the BBS (Bulletin Board System)…back in the day…some of us were using those old Mac SE desktop ‘box’ computers (now in the Smithsonian) and those 2” thick, 8 pound, lap tops (long since extinct). We all fumbled through the process of learning the earliest renditions of an electronic order form while, our computer guru, Reed Gregerson, patiently held hands, wiped furrowed brows, and was careful not to insult our lack of technical intelligence…back in the day. One helpful attribute, was my ability to work graveyard. I was a night owl, as was Paul. When necessary, one of us could always catch Paul mulling over a computer problem during the wee-est hours of the morning. Those late nights afforded him the time needed for elongated conversations. He didn’t have to medicate dogs, rescue the UPS man from the pack, or dislodge a cat from the screen door. June-ski….he’d ask….Hey, do you have a minute? (If it’s already midnight, who doesn’t have a few more minutes to spare?!) Oh and hey…just give me a second to get these cats off the keyboard. It was during those late night order entry sessions, that we’d end up talking color, style, or how-to-sell-it. We covered the many shades of bluegrass….if coral would sell to men….should the Baggie Jacket be French Red or Red Red….is Kingfisher Blue the right blue for a shelled Capilene Jacket. And one of Paul’s favorite topics (and greatest challenges) was to get Patagonia to do a Baggie Jacket with short sleeves. How he loved that jacket he so proudly altered. Wearing that short sleeve Baggie jacket was fair bait for our endless taunting. ‘Bring it on’…was his retort. He never gave up on its merits and I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s still hanging in his closet. Besides our turning colors inside out and redefining the apparel market, I had/have enormous respect for Paul’s professionalism and wanted to learn everything I could from him. I wanted to clone his ability to talk product, analyze biz, and build relationships…all with the same sense of panache, logic, and respect. I never stopped gathering ideas and strategies from Paul. His sense of humor was energizing and his optimism encouraging. He always gave me the time. We kept in touch through the years and it became my turn to give him ‘the time’…to listen and encourage. And, as always, he added the humor to lighten the load. So now as I look back over the endless road-dog miles and years of past-midnights, sales meeting hangovers, smoking one – and only one - of Vincent’s Camel cigarettes, legs hanging out of the window of Michael’s Volvo, getting instructions on where/how to carry a ‘piece’ in your car, listening to more good ol’ boy stories and sexist jokes than I care to remember… …it pleases me to think that maybe, just maybe, I’ve learned how to become some kind of a good ol’ girl….thanks to Paul. It’s been a pleasure and an honor. June Fox
Ya Can’t Judge a Man by His Cover For the past few days June and I have reminisced, laughing again at some of the memorable Paul stories. One of our favorites… It was winter 81/82, 30 years ago in Copper Mountain, CO that I first experienced the presence of Paul. I was fresh out of Tahoe as a XC ski instructor and outdoor store manager/buyer, being initiated into the mystifying career of sale rep for Patagonia. My roommate at this sales meeting was non other than the DAWG himself, Paul Marsh. Upon entering our hotel room, the first thing I see is a Las Vegas sized ashtray full to the brim with cigarette butts sitting next to MY bed. Too close for comfort for me, I mutter. First thought…what am I doing….is this the job for me?! After a few humorous and, later to find out, embellished stories about the company, Paul added a few more cigarettes to the overflow of butts. Sooner than later, it became necessary to get some fresh air and I was convinced it was best for Paul as well. I talked him into him experiencing the rarified air of high altitude on a pair of cross country skis, with a full moon to light our way. No, you can’t smoke and diagonal stride at the same time, Paul. No…won’t work. Forget it!! So with the determination of a smoke free Bull DAWG, a few face-plants, spasmodic coughs intermingled with curses only heard in the rustiest junkyards, Paul was striding out, picking up speed with every hoot of encouragement. I was truly surprised at his athletic finesse. I thought the venture might be more of a train wreck than a walk in the park. After enough was enough, he agreed that this kind of snow had some entertainment value and was not just something that littered the highways, making winter road-tripping a pain in the ass. Over a few beers and newly spun ‘skiing’ war stories, a gratifying friendship began as well as a memorable beginning to a long and fulfilling career. Paul’s wit, compassion, dedication, and generosity touched us all in some way time and time again. I can’t help but imagine that the motely collection of rag tag canines he found roaming the back roads and highways feels the same way. To vivid and enduring memories of Paul. Jim Fox