In 1994, brothers Bert and John Jacobs, founders of the Life is Good Company, came up with an idea that changed their lives forever: they decided to sell T-shirts of their own design.
The brothers had a difficult journey from selling T-shirts out of their van in the streets of Boston to running a multimillion-dollar enterprise. But they would probably never succeed if it weren’t for their mother, Joan, who taught her sons to see only the good things in life, no matter what.
John and Bert Jacobs grew up as the youngest of six children in a lower-middle-class family. When the brothers were in elementary school, their parents got into a horrible car accident. Their mother managed to escape with minor injuries, but their dad suffered much more severe trauma and lost the use of his right hand. This tragedy affected their dad’s temper a lot: he became irritable and started arguments for no apparent reason.
But despite all the troubles, their mother still believed that life was good. Every day, when the family had dinner together, she would ask the children one question: ’What are the good things that happened today?’
’As simple as Mom’s words were, they changed the energy in the room. Before we knew it, we were all riffing on the best, funniest, or most bizarre part of our day. That optimism was something that our family always had, even when we had little else.’
This mother taught her boys that being optimistic is a choice we make every day. Bert and John have followed this simple rule all their life. They started hawking their apparel on the streets of Boston, and, after 5 years of selling T-shirts, they had just $78 in the bank. But they didn’t give up. Their big success came only after they rebranded and relaunched their company and began to produce T-shirts featuring the smiling figure and the phrase ’Life is good.’
This simple yet positive design won the hearts of many people, and by the end of the year Life Is Good had sold $87,000 worth of T-shirts. Today, their T-shirts, hats, and other items are sold in thousands of retail stores worldwide, and the company itself, which is now valued at $100 million, promotes healthy lifestyles. Just like 22 years ago, most of their apparel features the slogan ’Life is Good.’ And you can’t argue with that: life is actually a great thing!