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In 1989, Bert and John Jacobs designed their first tee shirt. For five years, the brothers traveled around in a van, selling tee shirts on the street and on college campuses. They lived on peanut butter and jelly, slept in their van, and collected some good stories, but they were not very prosperous.
One day, they came home and invited a few friends over for a party. At the party, their friends looked at John’s drawings and some of the sayings that the brothers had posted on the walls in their apartment. Several liked the picture that showed a smiling, optimistic face. Others were attracted to the simple, positive phrase "Life is good." When John and Bert combined the saying with the drawing, that simple phrase beneath the contagious grin of the character they came to call "Jake" seemed to express everything the Jacobs brothers believed in.
Shortly thereafter, Bert and John went out to sell their new "Life is good" tee shirts at a fair in Cambridge, Massachusetts. All of the shirts sold in less than an hour. One buyer was a schoolteacher. Another was a biker. Then, a skateboarder and several moms bought the shirts. Suddenly, John and Bert knew they had a message that could appeal to everyone. They thought, "why not sell tee shirts that have a positive and optimistic message?" In fact, why not start a company that is based on a philosophy of spreading optimism?
Life is good(r) has grown tremendously since that first street fair in 1994. The company now sells hundreds of different products in over 5,000 retail locations in more than thirty countries around the world.
But this is a story about much more than one company’s financial success. Life is good(r) is a place where people enjoy their work. Their employees are highly productive team members who deliver great customer service and have fun. Bert and John have created an organization that is both successful and productive. More importantly, their positive approach can work for you in your job and in your workplace!