“I put my son, Tim, through the car wash and said, ‘That’s the way we test our gar­ments’ ”

Chair­man, Columbia Sports­wear

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“I’m Jewish, and I grew up south of Mu­nich. My un­cle lived in Port­land, and that’s how we im­mi­grated in 1937.” “My hus­band ran my dad’s hat com­pany. He took out a loan in Septem­ber 1970 and died that De­cem­ber, at 47. Our house and my mother’s house were col­lat­eral. I was the only log­i­cal per­son to take over: a house­wife who didn’t know any­thing.”

“We went pub­lic in ’98. There are ad­van­tages, but it’s dif­fi­cult to please Wall Street and ev­ery­one who wants to get in your face. We reached $2.3 bil­lion in sales last year.” “Did you know I was kid­napped in 2010? I got home one day and opened up the garage door, and he took me at gun­point. I pushed the right but­tons on the se­cu­rity sys­tem, and the po­lice came.”

“I got an MRS. He was a typ­i­cal Ir­ish­man: good sense of hu­mor, hard worker.”

“We started ad­ver­tis­ing in 1984 with the Tough Mother cam­paign. In one, I put my son, Tim, through the car wash and said, ‘That’s the way we test our gar­ments.’ Sales shot up.

Tim took over as CEO in 1989.”

“The Bu­ga­boo coat put us on the map. We’ve sold 5 mil­lion.”

“I do nine-tenths of the PR here, and I sign all the checks. And I’m in our ads again! You think I want to stay home with a bunch of old peo­ple? I get paid very well, and it takes a few dol­lars to re­ally have a good time.”

Cover por­trait from

One Tough Mother

At work with her son, Tim, 1975

With Neal, her soon-to-be hus­band, 1947

Re­leased the Bu­ga­boo coat in 1986 $89.99 in 1986; $200 to­day

Wrote One Tough Mother (Ba­sic Books, 2005)

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