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Banana Republic, owned by Gap Inc, is a modern chain clothing store producing classic and versatile clothing. Founded by Mel and Patricia Ziegler in 1978, Banana Republic has evolved from a small safari clothing line into a multi-billion dollar business.

Initially, Mel and Patricia Ziegler were young journalists who set out to travel the world. Mel was sent to Australia on an assignment and stumbled upon an army surplus store stocked with British military supplies. He purchased several hundred dollars worth of merchandise and returned home to California. Shortly thereafter, Mel started receiving compliments every time he put on his safari jackets and cargo shorts. The Zieglers decided to purchase surplus clothes by the pound from Australia and sell them to their friends and family. Mel and Patricia quickly realized there was a strong demand for these products and in 1978, they started the Banana Republic.

The first Banana Republic storefront was located in Mill Valley, California. In conjunction with the storefront, the Zieglers also started a mail-order catalog that became an instant success. The catalog featured clothing from striking locales and had narrative stories throughout. The catalog success allowed the Zieglers to open a second storefront a year later. Today the Banana Republic has over 400 retail stores and generates 2.4 billion in annual revenue. According to Mel, "We started the company mostly to have the ability to travel, to be free, to write our own ...
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