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I was surprised at how interesting I found this memoir. The book reads like fiction. I could hardly put it down, of course, it helped that the area and people in the story were familiar to me.
This is the memoir of the store founders Mel and Patricia Ziegler. Mel was journalist at the Hearst owned San Francisco Chronicle and Patricia was an artist/illustrator also working for the Chronicle. Patricia had just finished covering the Patty Hearst trial as the court illustrator when they both decided to quit their jobs and try something else. They ended up deciding to create a store to sell military surplus clothing. They had no retail or business expertise. They tell of their success and the failures in building their business. Mel was the strategist and business manager and Patricia had a talent for styling merchandise, decorating the stores and creating the Banana Republic aesthetics. Mel also wrote the whimsical copy for their catalog and Patricia did the illustrations. They eventually sold out to the Gap stores but stayed on to manage the company. They eventually clashed with the heads of The Gap management and quit just as Patricia had given birth to their first child.
The memoir is well written and almost reads like a fiction story. There were two narrators George Newbern and Elizabeth Rodgers as the memoir was divided between Mel and Patricia’s viewpoints. The reader can learn some of the do’s and don’ts for starting a business as Mel and Patricia learned from the school of hard knocks. They did have great and usual talent and worked well together to create a unique company. The narrators did a good job.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
Enjoyed the account of how Mel and Patricia left their jobs and got Banana Republic going.