Headshot of Giacomo Iotti, a B2C digital marketing manager who likes to write about digital news and trends.

Online marketing | Digital news & Trends

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How Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard got out of a massive tax bill and still controls his company

How Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard got out of a massive tax bill and still controls his company

My Linkedin feed is packed with celebratory posts, but few of those tell the full story. Let's dig!

My Linkedin feed is packed with celebratory posts about the move by Patagonia's founder to “give away” his company. But few of those posts tell the full story.

Let's dig…

As any elderly entrepreneur, Yvon Chouinard was faced with a succession problem: how can I look after my company, my family, and other stakeholders once I will be too old to be operative, or worse, dead?

Some options considered were passing the company onto his children, selling it, or going public.

None of those appealed to him, so he went for an unusual solution (actually becoming more and more common among the wealthy): gifting the company to a non-profit organisation.

Yvon Chouinard transferred 98% of Patagonia shares to Holdfast Collective, a non-profit that will invest its roughly $100 million in annual profits “to fighting the environmental crisis and defending nature.”

The remaining 2%, which holds voting rights, is transferred to a family entity called Patagonia Purpose Trust.

The noble purpose of such a transaction is undeniable. Holdfast Collective will in fact help fight the environmental crisis. After all, Patagonia itself was a pioneer in sustainability and has always contributed to environmental causes, donating 1% of it profits every year.

However, there's more to it. Let's look at the other options:

Capital gain taxes don't apply to "give-aways". If Yvon Chouinard had normally sold the company for its market value ($3bln), the tax bill could have been over $700mln. A transfer to his children would have also resulted in a massive 40% gift tax levy. Going public? Yes, but he and his family would have lost control over the company.

As Bloomberg puts it, the bottom line is that Yvon Chouinard managed to avoid huge tax bills while also retaining control over the company, for him and his children.

I guess we're lucky that he also thought of the environment. And I want to believe this was the main driver behind this unusual transaction. Am I am naive? I hope not.

Of course, this doesn't apply to other billionaires. For instance, electronics manufacturing mogul Barre Seid engineered the same sort of transaction to avoid a $1.7bln tax bill and to fund a conservative activist who fought abortion rights.

The point here is that we're often blinded by the next shiny news on social media, that we rarely stop to think about what we're reading or, worse, sharing.

Avoiding this, has been my mission since I started posting regularly on Linkedin around a year ago. I hope my posts also helped other people see the other side of the coin in flashy news stories.

Read more:

Bloomberg: Patagonia Billionaire Who Gave Up Company Skirts $700 Million Tax Hit

Forbes: Yvon Chouinard And The Patagonia Purpose Trust— What Is It And Will It Work?

CBS News: Patagonia founder gives away company to climate-change organization

Read more...
Sept 22
Sorry Kourtney Kardashian, fashion influencers & sustainability still don't mix

Sorry Kourtney Kardashian, fashion influencers & sustainability still don't mix

"Welcome to the fashion-influencer-to-landfill pipeline, where greenwashing abounds and nothing of meaning is said"

This article by The Guardian is just gold!

Yesterday, I talked about some great initiatives by fashion brands to tackle the infamous 3 Rs (re-selling, re-wearing and re-using).

Unfortunately, not everyone is on board and end up in cheesy greenwashing campaigns.

It is definitely the case of the combo Kourtney Kardashian + Boohoo.com.

"Welcome to the fashion-influencer-to-landfill pipeline, where greenwashing abounds and nothing of meaning is said."

The greatest subtitle ever, I love it haha

"Kardashian [...] has spent the last few years crafting a fashion-forward and health-obsessed personal brand. [...] Her content-meets-commerce lifestyle platform Poosh [...] offers all-natural hangover cures."

Uhmm... I guess she should start by giving up drinking, rather than giving "all-natural" cures to hangover, lol :)

And finally, the harsh bottom line:

What’s challenging is figuring out how people can still live in this way where it’s simple, and easy, and fast, and fun, but it doesn’t have a negative impact on people and the planet. Spoiler alert for everyone: you can’t."

Just as simple as that :(

Read more...
Sept 22
Reselling & recommerce: a new business model for fast fashion?

Reselling & recommerce: a new business model for fast fashion?

The fashion industry is moving in the right direction with initiatives like PrettyLittleThing MarketPlace...

I talked about it before in will second-hand prevail over ultra-fast fashion?

Now the (fast) fashion industry seems to be moving in the right direction.

PrettyLittleThing.com recently launched "PLT MarketPlace", its owned resale platform.

eBay just announced a strategic partnership with Reskinned, a very interesting startup in the field of clothing repair and resale.

Swiss running brand On launches Onward, an online trade-in programme.

Other great initiatives, also by eBay, are the "Imperfects Hub", a platform to purchase new items with defects for less, and the "Brand Outlet", where you can find out-of-season clothing.

More and more brands are embracing the re-commerce concept, as opposed to general second-hand selling.

Many of them also use the same marketing jargon.
Reskinned and PrettyLittleThing.com invite you to join the "movement" and call their used items "preloved".

Whether it's just marketing or facts, I like this "movement".

Although, not everyone is on board. I'll explain in tomorrow's post!

Read more...
Sept 22
What do consumers think of Amazon Ads?

What do consumers think of Amazon Ads?

50% don't recall seeing an ad in the last 30 days, 55% buy from ads they've clicked on.

What do consumers think of Amazon Ads?

➡️ Only 16% of Amazon shoppers are wary of ads.

➡️ 50% don't recall seeing an ad in the last 30 days.

➡️ 55% buy from ads they've clicked on.

➡️ 70% are okay with Amazon targeting ads by keyword searches or browsing and purchasing history.

Amazon Ads are ultimately search ads. The oldest, yet most effective advertising format.

Ais also betting on search ads, Pinterest too.

I wonder why Meta hasn't done it yet.

Native ads done well are the future of the industry. Away from ad blockers and privacy concerns.

read more: https://lnkd.in/erRwqPCk

Read more...
Aug 22
Apple will show more ads on your iPhone and Mac. How surprising!

Apple will show more ads on your iPhone and Mac. How surprising!

What a news, isn’t it? App Tracking Transparency (#ATT) has always been a “privacy-washing” move...

What a news, isn’t it?


App Tracking Transparency (ATT) has always been a “privacy-washing” move, rather than a genuine attempt at improving user experience.

The idea is that ATT stops apps from tracking user’s activity across OTHER apps. Which means that they can still track you across apps by the same developer.

For example, Facebook won’t track you when you watch videos on the YouTube App, but it will when you browse Instagram. The same way, Apple does track you when you browse Apple apps, or simply when you use an iPhone outside of third-party apps.

This is an extremely important detail.

Why? 🤔 Because now that ATT caused billion-dollar losses to rivals like Meta and Snap Inc., Apple will double down on online #advertising. How surprising :)

How? 🤔 By adding new ad placements across its properties like the App Store, the Today Tab, Apple Maps, Apple Books, Podcast, AppleTV+, and more.

Currently only in the News & Stocks apps, as well as in the App Store, online ads generate $4bln in annual revenue. The company wants to increase that to the double digits.

CEO Tim Cook is on board, calling the opportunity “great” in his latest earnings call. To be honest, this is great also for online advertising professionals like myself.

But it sounds ironic to anybody else.

Read more...
Aug 22

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