Unless gear stays stowed away in the back of a closet, chances are, it's going to rip at some point—whether it's your puffy coat scraping on rock as you reach for a hold, your ski jacket snagging on trees as you shred through glades, or your sleeping bag catching in your backpack's zipper. It happened to Kelli Jones when she tore her new $400 down parka while hopping a barbed-wire fence on a hunting trip in 2015, and ever since, she's been equipping customers with nylon-cloth patch kits through her business, Noso Patches.
Last January, Noso rolled out a custom patch program, partnering with companies like Deuter, Big Agnes, and Coalition Snow to print mountainscapes, slogans, logos, and other funky designs on patches to use as swag. The next evolution of the program is to convert manufacturer's scrap fabric into patches. Noso and partner brands will design customized patches (custom pricing starts at $3 per wholesale) to be included with products as an added bonus to increase gear's longevity.
"It’s like how you get an extra button with your new sweater. Why not get a patch with your gear?" Jones said.
Jones said her mission is to be a leader in the sustainability movement. She is making the case that it's possible to care for the planet without sacrificing function, performance, or style when it comes to consumerism. "Mindless consumption is going to happen no matter what, but if we can extend the lifespan of our gear, we help the planet," Jones said. Jones is making sustainability cool.
Deuter's patches were a hot commodity last year and the brand is on board for a second round of patches with a colorful patchwork design. While Deuter isn't quite ready to add patches to their hangtags, they took the partnership with Noso one step closer by co-branding the packaging to plug the brand's promise: "Deuter believes in durability, service, and reducing our environmental impact. Keep your gear alive—patch it up."
Becky Marcelliano, marketing manager for Deuter, said they teamed up with Noso because Jones' environmental ethos matches theirs."We always approach our swag item choices by holding true to what's useful and meaningful," Marcelliano said. "A big part of our brand story is around environmental stewardship and keeping packs out of landfills."
The backpacks are known for their durability and long lifespan, and Marcelliano said the patch ensures they last even longer. "Noso was the perfect item for us," she said. "We are arming [customers] with something truly useful that could really lengthen the lifespan of their products."
Jones works primarily in nylon and polyester fabrics, rated 15 to 90 denier—used for sleeping bags, puffy jackets, down jackets, synthetic jackets, ski pants, backpacks, and more. Through third-party testing, Jones said, her patches lasted 50-plus washes and dries compared to competitors' gear tape and Duct tape, which lasted three to seven cycles.
Regardless of all the fun designs, don't expect to see patches in all sorts of colors. Jones said there are discussions taking place that will make Noso a valued partner with many brands to expand the range of colors and styles. Right now, various colors and designs are available for purchase on the website and in retail shops across the country.
“Eventually, I think there will be a lot of color options," Jones said. "Every brand will have their current product line's fabric converted into patches that coordinate with their products".
Jones’ passion is about more than business. Her desire to build an environmentally-aware, stylish brand is one that resonates because it allows the consumer to look good while doing good. Noso is more than a patch that makes gear last longer.; Noso makes caring cool.