BGBS 022: Hap Klopp | The North Face | Origin Of The Brand, Disruption, Quality, & 3x Bottom Line
Founder of The North Face, Hap Klopp shares how it was created and what this company represents to him. During his 20 years as president and CEO, The North Face was recognized for being one of the best-managed companies in its industry, for both the quality of its products and the investment in its employees. Hap has found that success comes from disrupting the status quo. Find out how a kid from Spokane sold his family window business, moved to San Francisco, and founded one of the world’s largest and most recognizable adventure brands.
Discover what it truly means to disrupt an industry!What we’re talking about
Born and raised in the outdoors of Spokane, Washington, Hap Klopp realized from a young age that the corporate environment was not for him. He credits his values instilled by his parents, schooling, literature, and athletic activity, as giving him the self-confidence to develop his own philosophies and principles. After taking over the family window business at just 20 years old, he soon discovered the business wasn’t big enough to be competitive and decided to sell the company while earning his MBA at Stanford. He knew he had a natural instinct for branding, sales, and marketing, but disagreed with planned obsolescence, gender and language discrimination, among other attributes often found in the corporate world. Hap felt that to build a great company, you just needed the best people, no matter their background. Self-described as idiosyncratic, he knew early on what he wanted to do with his life: to have fun, be in the outdoor business, and change the world.The Plan To Disrupt the Entire Camping Business
After finishing his MBA in 1967, Hap worked on a business plan to go into the outdoor business. He knew in order to bring in cash flow, he needed to get into something that already existed, which would ultimately buy him time to use his innovation to develop new products and “disrupt the general camping business.” Utilizing materials from the war effort in Vietnam, Hap was able to lead the design of camping products that were 50% lighter than what was in the current market place. This innovation ended up creating a whole new segment, known as a backpacking business, which built the brand of The North Face as we know it today.Looking To The Future and Shaking Up The Healthcare System As We Know It
Due to the company’s exponential growth rate, after 20 years of running the business, Hap found himself spending the majority of his time meeting with external investors, who all had their own ideas of how he should be running things. Remembering that he got to where he was because he loved innovation and exploration, rather than business meetings, Hap decided it was time to sell the company and move towards the next set of adventures. These included starting a branding consulting company, authoring multiple books, speaking around the globe, and teaching at various universities to just name a few. Looking to the future, Hap says he is most excited to see how the healthcare system will be disrupted by digitization, democratization, and globalization.
How are you disrupting your industry?Links Mentioned
The North Face
Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut
Henry David Thoreau’s “Walking”
Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching
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