Eddy Marks is an expert of his craft, an adventurer, a burst of energy wherever he goes. As Patagonia's Regional Visual Merchandiser for the mid Atlantic, he visits our store a few times a year to refresh our layout for the season. Every time he comes in his excitement is contagious, and you can see it in our Patagonia room still, where the new Spring 2023 collection absolutely shines.
Eddy has been in the outdoor industry for over 20 years, he's worked with brands and stores across the country, but each time he walks into a new store it's completely organic. He never knows what's gonna happen, each store is different, but he knows he'll be working with like-minded individuals who share a sense of adventure and care for the earth. The outdoor community is a special one, as we have cause to know, and it's a gift to come together like this when we can.
Eddy started at an independent outfitter back in the 90’s selling gear from a bunch of different brands. Still, he can remember the rush every time they received a Patagonia catalogue in the mail, everyone was crazy about Patagonia. Pre-internet, this was the chance to see new designs and innovations. It was a coveted thing, like holding precious metals in your hand, whoever got to it first would steal the catalogue away to pore over it. He got a dreamy look in his eye when he told me he still remembers the first Patagonia piece he ever bought. I remember mine too, I wear it all the time.
The love was so ingrained that about 10 years into a career with a management position at another outfitter, Eddy took a chance and took a sales associate position at a Patagonia store in D.C. He'd wanted to finally see what it was like. Patagonia isn't bound by convention, with so many levels of inspiration in the brand, it's not hard to imagine an adventurer feeling right at home. Still, perhaps because of that very spirit, Eddy had more to see and do.
After a few years there and a few years at a branch in Atlanta, it was time for a change. Eddy's father was an interior retail store designer, so he switched gears, moving from the front of the store to the back, using construction and architectural programs to design the layout and fixtures of different stores. It was a small team, so the work was hard, but there was always coffee brewing and the faint sound of his father whistling when he came in the door. And even then, he worked at Patagonia on the weekends.
The recession would change things, but rather than sounding regretful, Eddy seemed glad to tell me about the time he spent couch surfing, and how he eventually moved out to the west coast with nothing but his truck, camping gear, and mountain bike. He spent about a year with Patagonia in Palo Alto before moving to spend 8 years with Mountain Hardware as their regional visual merchandiser. A large part of his job was visiting and collaborating with their different accounts, and as an avid climber, it was the perfect opportunity for adventures in gorgeous spots across the country.
It takes a special kind of person to approach so much change with open-minded excitement, and I think that's just one of many reasons Eddy is a true testament to the outdoor community. Now, back to his roots with Patagonia, Eddy is nothing short of an expert of the industry. We're so lucky that he's a part of our team, and that he was willing to share his stories with us and leave the Patagonia offering at Out There Outfitters looking its very best again this season!
Author: Out There's very own Sam Sontag