Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 30

1990s

Peter and Patty Duke

Outdoor Retailer 35th Anniversay

THE MERINO POWER COUPLE
The founders of Smartwool-who now own Point6- Peter
and Patty Duke changed the outdoor industry's paradigm
when it came to wool as a sustainable performance material.
Written By Aaron H. Bible

I

f you don't know Peter and Patty Duke,
chances are you haven't been around
the merino wool scene for very long.
But if you operate in the competitive
performance-wool sock world that makes
up so much of the conversation in the halls
of Outdoor Retailer, well, you know who they
are. Yet oddly enough, they only started coming to the show in 2009, with the launch of
their second sock company, Point6. The first
was a little ski-town brand called Smartwool.
Peter Duke and his wife, Patty, moved to
Steamboat Springs, Colorado, in 1994 after a
stint in Lake Tahoe's Heavenly Valley, where
Peter was the director of the ski school. They
had been in the Tahoe area since leaving the

30 OUTDOOR RETAILER

/ 35th Anniversary 2017

east coast in the mid 1980s. Back
east, Peter had taught skiing at
both Stowe and Killington, and
served on the Professional Ski
Instructors of America (PSIA)
board. Although the first wool
product he ever made was a hat,
a wool sock quickly followed and
became what would be the first
and largest merino ski and outdoor sock brand.
"That first year in Steamboat
was the coldest my feet have ever
been. I literally poured water out
of my boots at the end of the day,"
Peter says. "A friend and I made
some merino socks, and after that
my feet were the warmest they've
ever been, and they were absolutely dry. That's when the lightbulb
went off."
The Dukes left Smartwool in
2003 and honored a five-year
non-compete agreement. But by
the time Outdoor Retailer rolled
around in 2009, the Merino power couple was back on the market,
this time with another startup
sock brand: Point6.
Remaining in Steamboat ("It's home."), the
Dukes named Point6 for the human body's optimal temperature of 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit-a
homeostasis Peter believes can only be achieved
through Mother Nature's "miracle fiber."
"We're still a very small company," says Peter,
"still trying to convince retail buyers that they

should come on board." Peter still works directly with the supply chain in New Zealand and
the mills in Tennessee and Alabama that he's
known for 20 years, controlling every step of the
process. Patty designs the socks and all the visuals for the brand.
"Point6 changed the way the industry now
makes socks," he says. "We go direct to the farmer in New Zealand. We source our wool and that
becomes our supply chain. By having a relationship with the farmer, we know the quality of the
wool that we want, and when we put it into the
sock, the consumer knows this is the best."
"We were the first to convince a mill to buy
a specific machine from Italy that would allow
us to do a toe closure where you don't have a
seam across the toes," he adds. "Number two,
we use compact spun yarn; everyone else uses
ring spun yarns. Compact is 25 percent stronger
and eliminates the pilling and the balling of the
wool, and it also costs more to produce."
Among other sock-industry firsts, Point6
takes credit for inventing the "deep heel pocket," using a reciprocating spinning machine to
create a sock that fits and stays up better. The
Dukes are also jumping into a new superwashing technology that eliminates the use of chlorine, reducing water pollution in the wool production process.
"I don't market it; I just go out and do it,"
Peter says. "When I go out and buy my wool,
when we talk to our mills that do our yarn
spinning and dying, I'm asking, how does it
affect our overall challenges to protect the
planet? This has absolutely always been important to me." O.R.

"A friend and I made some Merino socks
and after that my feet were the warmest
they've ever been, and they were absolutely
dry. That's when the lightbulb went off."
photograph by ANDREW KORNYLAK



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Outdoor Retailer - July 2017

OUTDOOR RETAILER - JULY 2017
CONTENTS
CONTRIBUTORS
FIRST WORDS
THE TRIBE
GREG THOMSEN
YVON CHOUINARD AND GERRY LOPEZ
STEVE BARKER
THE SCENE
JEFF LOWE
PETER AND PATTY DUKE
BEAVER THEODOSAKIS
CARSON STANWOOD
CHAD GALLWITZ
JOHN MEAD
THE TORNADO
THE SCENE
SALLY MCCOY
JOHN STERLING
CASEY SHEAHAN
THE SCENE
MUSIC AND MEMORIES
PETER METCALF
SALLY JEWELL
CONRAD ANKER
JEN TAYLOR
DAN NORDSTROM
JEREMY COLLINS
JOANNA HOSHIMOTO
THE FUTURE
THE BACKSTORY
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - OUTDOOR RETAILER - JULY 2017
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - Cover2
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 1
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - CONTENTS
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 3
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - CONTRIBUTORS
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 5
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - FIRST WORDS
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 7
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - THE TRIBE
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 9
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 10
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 11
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - GREG THOMSEN
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 13
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 14
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 15
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - YVON CHOUINARD AND GERRY LOPEZ
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 17
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 18
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 19
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - STEVE BARKER
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 21
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 22
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 23
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - THE SCENE
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 25
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 26
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 27
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - JEFF LOWE
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 29
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - PETER AND PATTY DUKE
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 31
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - BEAVER THEODOSAKIS
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 33
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - CARSON STANWOOD
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 35
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - CHAD GALLWITZ
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 37
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - JOHN MEAD
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 39
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - THE TORNADO
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 41
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 42
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - THE SCENE
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 44
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 45
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 46
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 47
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - SALLY MCCOY
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 49
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 50
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 51
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - JOHN STERLING
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 53
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - CASEY SHEAHAN
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 55
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - THE SCENE
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 57
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 58
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 59
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - MUSIC AND MEMORIES
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 61
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 62
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 63
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 64
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 65
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - PETER METCALF
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 67
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 68
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - SALLY JEWELL
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - CONRAD ANKER
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 71
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - JEN TAYLOR
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - DAN NORDSTROM
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - JEREMY COLLINS
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - JOANNA HOSHIMOTO
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - THE FUTURE
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 77
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 78
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 79
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - THE BACKSTORY
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - Cover3
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - Cover4
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