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Introducing Richard Pyne, Páramo Clothing’s CEO

Meet Richard, our Chief Executive Officer who took over the reins from our founder Nick Brown when he retired and transferred the business to an Employee Owned Trust. Read about Richard’s journey rising up the Páramo ranks from working the shop floor in the Wadhurst Brand Store, to being appointed CEO.

Richard Pyne

Tell us about your journey with the business since joining Páramo?

I started working for Páramo in our village shop in Wadhurst near where I live; I had taken some time out from my old career to look after my newly born son and needed some cake money for the regular parent/child meet ups! It was only ever supposed to be a one day a week job but my enthusiasm for the brand seems to have kept me here more than 11 years later. Now the current caretaker for the brand, it has been hugely interesting working in different areas of the business and with different people both here and in Colombia. Seeing Nick Brown have the confidence in the current Páramo team to retire from the business and having had the opportunity to work with him for nearly 5 years quite closely was very educational and rewarding and I am keen to keep his legacy alive while developing it and the brand for the future alongside the rest of the Páramo team.

What do you enjoy most about your job and what do you enjoy the least?

I am in a fortunate position where I can be involved with a lot of different departments and projects which keeps the work I do varied and allows me to work with lots of people across the business. There is, of course, the inevitable, administrative jobs that need doing, normally while sitting in front of a computer staring out of the window at the countryside wishing I was out playing rather than sitting in front of a spreadsheet – I know I’m not alone in this thinking!

What advice would you give to someone starting out in the industry?

Find a company that interests you, we all spend a large chunk of our lives at work, and I think it is very important to enjoy that work. There will always be difficult days in any job but the good should outweigh the bad – find somewhere where the ethics or the product or the business practice or something – or indeed all of it, really resonates with you, it will keep you invested and make the tough days more bearable! When I joined Páramo it was the technology that initially grabbed me and the enthusiasm of the people who trained me, don’t underestimate this either, if the people you are working with get excited about the brand, it is normally a good sign!

What is your favourite Páramo garment and why?

I own a lot of Páramo, and I really have two clear favourites: My Velez Adventure Smock which I bought when I started with the company – I bought it as damaged stock, having been used as a test piece, with my first pay check and repaired a small tear in the hem. It was manufactured in 2011 and is still going strong today. It is my go-to piece during the winter and has never let me down. I love the simplicity of it as a garment and the “hoodie” like comfort it offers when wearing it. I also have a much more modern Velez jacket which I use during the warmer or more changeable months. I use it hiking, mountain biking, paddle boarding, it does it all and offers excellent ventilation options for different activities, I must confess I have a couple of these in different colours – one lives with my biking kit and the other with my “everyday” stuff!

Where is your favourite place to spend time in the great outdoors – and why?

I am fortunate to be surrounded by some beautiful countryside in Wadhurst and normally get outside for a couple of hours with the dogs (whether I want to or not!) each day. However, it is quite flat, and land locked where I am so any opportunity to see the coastline or some hills that are more than a few hundred metres tall is welcomed! I managed to get my son up the Old Man of Coniston when he was 5 with judicious use of Jelly babies, something which seems less agreeable now he is 12 but as a family we fight through the grumbling and still offer the jelly babies, we now have to compliment this with  cheesy chips and fizzy drinks in a pub, who am I kidding, it’s not all bad; chips, a pint and a warm pub is always fairly welcoming at the end of a big walk! I enjoy seeing the countryside from different angles and between walking the footpaths, riding the bridleways on two wheels, and paddling the rivers its great to see the countryside throughout the year with all the different colours and smells the different seasons have to offer. Since working for Páramo and having proper outdoors gear, I don’t really shy away from any weather anymore and getting out in all weather allows you to experience the outdoors and everything it has to offer which is always a good mental re-set. 

Where do you see Páramo heading in the next 10 years?

Páramo has always offered repairable garments by design, where both in-field and professional repairs can be carried out on a garment without negatively affecting the performance. The recycling scheme took this a stage further and offered our customers a way of changing their gear knowing the old would not end up in landfill. The refurbishment of some of this kit, is providing both new users and old with a cost-effective route into high quality outdoor kit, either as an entry piece to try out their new hobby or as a second piece to add to their kit. Recycled fabrics have been a buzz-phrase in our industry for several years now, with the use of plastic bottle-based chip largely seen as a solution. Indeed, Páramo has a couple of fabrics where this has been used – the performance was better than the virgin-based fabric they replaced. However, I do not believe that this is a sustainable solution. Using a raw material, even if a “waste” product, from another industry when ours creates our own waste is not the answer. Working on “closing the loop”, creating a more circular industry where both post-consumer and post textile industry waste is collected and re-used in premium garments is an exciting challenge to pursue.

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