Bert Jacobs, Co-Founder and CEO “Life is Good” – Entrepreneur

You’ve probably seen the beret-wearing, smiling face of “Jake,” the Life is good logo, on the company’s tee shirts and products. Co-founders Bert Jacobs and his brother, John Jacobs, 43, started peddling their tee shirts on the streets of Boston — going door-to-door at college dorms and sleeping in their van to save money — in 1989. It would take nearly six years, however, before their shirts finally caught on with consumers, thanks to “Jake.”

Optimistic Logo Became Instant Hit

The logo, which is infused with optimism, was created after a conversation about how the world was slammed with constant negativity. It became an instant hit. Now, the New England-based company has revenues in excess of $100 million, and each year more of it goes toward their charity, Life is good Kids Foundation, which helps children overcome life-threatening challenges.

Admit Business Mistakes

“In the beginning, we made every business mistake in the book,” says Bert. The brothers didn’t have a business plan or growth strategy — a formula for disaster, if you go by what’s taught in business school. Bert credits part of their success to listening to their friends and customers as informal focus groups, rather than “experts.”

Advice to young entrepreneurs:  ”Try to shoot for a timeless business.”

(One that works through good times and bad)

 

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