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Wild Company

Wild Company

The Untold Story of Banana Republic

With $1,500 and no business experience, Mel and Patricia Ziegler turned a wild idea into a company that would become the international retail colossus Banana Republic. Re-imagining military surplus as safari and expedition wear, the former journalist and artist created a world that captured the zeitgeist for a generation and spoke to the creativity, adventure, and independence in everyone.

In a book that’s honest, funny, and charming, Mel and Patricia tell in alternating voices how they upended business conventions and survived on their wits and imagination. Many retail and fashion merchants still consider Banana Republic’s early heyday to be one of the most remarkable stories in fashion and business history. The couple detail how, as “professional amateurs,” they developed the wildly original merchandise and marketing innovations that broke all retail records and produced what has been acclaimed by industry professionals to be “the best catalogue of all time.”

A love story wrapped in a business adventure, Wild Company is a soulful, inspiring tale for readers determined to create their own destiny with a passion for life and work and fun.
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  • Simon & Schuster | 
  • 224 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781451683516 | 
  • October 2012
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Read an Excerpt


The Racket Begins with a Jacket

If you took 1,500 one-dollar bills and laid them end to end, they would stretch all of 750 feet. That gets you only three-quarters of the way down a crosstown block in Manhattan. We had to stretch those dollars into a lifetime—a lifetime free of ever having to work for anyone other than ourselves again.

I was a writer in my early thirties, and Patricia, several years younger, an artist. Newly in love, not wanting to be apart for a second, we itched to travel and see the world. That was never going to be possible if we continued to live month to month. We had met at the San... see more

About the Authors

Mel Ziegler
Photograph by Marko Lavrisha
Patricia Ziegler
Photographs by Marko Lavrisha



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