Some people become successful because they follow the rules.
Others shine by going against conventional wisdom.
Then there are the Zieglers.
Patricia and Mel Ziegler opened their first Banana Republic store in 1978 near San Francisco and in five years slipped the firm into the Gap fold…. View Enlarged Image
Mel and Patricia Ziegler founded Banana Republic. They took a $1,500 investment and turned it into a chain with $250 million in annual sales. They prospered … because they didn’t know the rules.
In 1977, the Zieglers quit the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper and tried freelancing. He was a journalist and she an illustrator.
The next year, on assignment in Australia, Mel picked up a British Burma jacket, brought it back home — and received rave notices from friends and family.
The reviews were even more enthusiastic after Patricia made cosmetic improvements, adding elbow patches, leather trim and wooden buttons.
The feedback — coupled with the lack of a regular paycheck — gave the couple an idea. They’d start a company that sold jackets like the one Mel brought home.