Sharkey’s Machine

The Assent of 10 Things You didn’t know about The North Face

This was predominately an oral presentation. Below are my informal speakers notes; some of the information may have been omitted during presentation. As well, some information could have been added. I guess you just had to there.


Slide 2:

Doug Tompkins started a retail shop for high end hiking gear. San Fran altitude 150 above sea level


Slide 3:

1975 Geodesic Dome Tent Buckminster Fuller architect, inventor, engineer, EPCOT : Dissipates Stress, Hemispherical is the most efficient way to enclose space, aerodynamic shape sheds wind the best – Revolutionized back packing tent making, First to include flexible aluminum poles. Also, in 1975 first to develop shingled construction and synthetic insulation sleeping bags.


Slide 4:

The North Face logo was inspired by the Half Dome in Yosemite, revered as one of the greatest big walls in the world.


Slide 5:

World’s largest apparel company: Also own Lee, Rustler, Majestic, Eagle Creek Travel Gear, Aura, Red Kap, John Varvatos, Chef Designs, The Force, Lucy, Napapijri, Eastpack


Slide 6:

Products in 3500 Retail Locations. 30 TNF stores are in 17 states; Atlanta 35 A West Paces Ferry Road


Slide 7:

Together with JanSport, TNF sister company they manufacture nearly half of all small back packs sold in the US.


Slide 8:

Joe Flannery VP of Marketing: TNF wants to have their brand on the majority of products in your pack. This as lead to an increase focus in peripheral categories: footwear, underwear, accessories.


Slide 9:

Launched widget in November 2007 on iGoogle “Video of the Day” Give users a reason to come to the website. The widget is planning to be expanded to social networking sites. Sarah Gallagher senior manager of interactive marketing: “Social Networking is evolving into one the most dominant paradigms for how people interact online, and how content is distributed. To keep up, social networking will need to become a prime platform for us to interact with potential customers.”

The realization of this huge for me or anyone interested corporate PR with TNF. They are just coming into social media, and need people to monitor and develop strategies and profiles on sites like twitter or facebook.


Slide 10:

Showcases 20 to 30 expeditions from around the world. Daily video journal. Downloadable 2 -3 minute snippets. Filmed in HD by the athletes. This along with live streaming webcast are more cost effective. Joe Flannery VP of Marketing :“The only time it (backcountry snowboard competitions) is profitable for that to be on television is Saturday afternoons in winter at three o’clock on NBC, when anyone who is interested in snowboarding is out snowboarding.”


Slide 11:

A website was created in the winter of 2004 by a college student aggravated by purchase of a counterfeit North Face item, to educate consumers on how to shop smart, particularly online.

On March 26, 2006 an improved layout was launched with Whitelist and Blacklist sections to report the good and bad E-Bay vendors.

In August 2007, Business Week interviewed the owner and featured the site in one of their articles.


Slide 12:

Handsome Devil


The Publics

The publics of The North Face are multi-layered; here is a brief overview.

Internal Publics

The VF Corporation Board of Directors

  • Eric Wiseman Chairman, President, and CEO
  • Charles (Chip) Bergh
  • Ursula Fairbairn
  • Barbara Feigin
  • George Fellows
  • Robert Hurst Jr.
  • W. Alan McCollough
  • Clarence Otis Jr.
  • M. Rust Sharp
  • Raymond Viault
  • Juan Ernesto de Bedout

VF Corporation Executives Relevant to TNF

  • Eric Wiseman Chairman, President, and CEO
  • Robert Shearer SVP and CFO

  • Bradley Batten VP, Controller, and CAO

  • Martin Schneider VP CIO

  • Frank Pickard VP and Treasure

  • Cindy Knoebel VP Financial and Corporate Communications, VF Services

  • Ellen Rohde VP Branding Planning

  • Paul Mason Director of Corporate Communications

  • Dave Gatto President, VF Outdoor Americas

The North Face Executives

  • Dave Gatto President
  • Steve Rendle President, Americas
  • Topher Gaylord President, Outdoor International, VF Coporation
  • Dan Templin CFO
  • Joe Flannery VP, Marketing
  • Jim Gerson VP, Research, Development, and Design
  • Todd Spaletto VP, US Sales
  • Patty Pierce Directory, Human Resources
  • Michelle Barth Director, Marketing
  • Sumi Reddy Product Manager, Tekware

The North Face employs about 860 workers across the world.


External Publics

The customers of TNF are sprinkled across the outdoor activity spectrum. On one end are the hardcore adventurists that push the limits in the extreme conditions TNF gear was designed for. On the other end of the spectrum are customers who are drawn to TNF products because of emerging fashion trend of wilderness chic. The North Face products are by everybody from explorers to weekend warriors. 






Boyd, K. (2007). The North Face, Inc.. International Directory of Company Histories, 78, Retrieved October 23, 2008, from;col1

Hawker, Lizzy (2008). The North Face. Retrieved October 26, 2008, from Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia Web site:

The North Face Apparel Corp.(2008). In Hoover’s Company Records – In-depth Records (online ed.), Saint-Laurent: Hoover’s Inc.

V.F. Corporation. (2008). In Hoover’s Company Records – In-depth Records (online ed., Saint-Laurent: Hoover’s Inc. .