It’s hardly shocking that having founded a company called Life Is Good, Bert Jacobs and his brother John eschewed such conventional titles as CEO or President. Indeed, Bert is Chief Executive Optimist and John is Chief Operating Optimist of this Boston-based lifestyle brand, which has generated over $100 million in sales, and donated 10 percent of its net profits to children from poor and violence-stricken homes through its own foundation. They’ve definitely come a long way from selling T-shirts out of a used minivan over 25 years ago.
“Our social mission is such a big part of our company, and it is why a lot of people come to work here,” says Donna Tierney, the company’s vice president of product and design. “It puts a real purpose into what we do.”
What Life is Good now does is more than just T-shirts. It creates a fairly extensive line of men’s and women’s casual apparel, including woven shirts, fleece, and sleepwear, that is specifically designed to spread the power of optimism through the use of upbeat slogans and cool artwork. “You’ll find sayings like “Do What You Love/Love What You Do’, ‘Keep It Simple’ or ‘Spread Good Vibes’ on some of our newest men’s offerings, as well as a lot of outdoor imagery, such as sunrises and trees,” notes Tierney. “Most of our art is developed in house by our own creative team of designers and illustrators, who are inspired by music, travel, and nature. For men, this season, we are showing a lot of very graphically-driven tees, and our color palettes are clean and bold. I think our blues and greens are really fresh. And all the T-shirts have a super-soft hand.” (Tees retail at $24-$32.)
Still, make no mistake, Life Is Good is anything but a hippie-dippie organization. While the company is getting ready to launch its spring/summer ’16 collection at retail, they’re also already working on the spring ’17 collection, and presenting their fall collection at trade shows, where it can be shown to the many department and specialty stores that carry the line, include Dillard’s, Cabela’s, and Dick’s Sporting Goods. “I’m excited about fall,” says Tierney. “Our color palette goes a little deeper and darker, with some emerald greens and pops of orange.”
The company’s wares are also sold at its 80 independently-owned “Life Is Good” neighborhood shops, as well as on its website. “The e-commerce part of our business is really healthy,” she says. “ A lot of people go to the website because it has a lot of content about the brand, and it’s where we try to engage people through things like our ‘Fuel Stories,’ which are videos which tell personal tales about optimism. Everything we day is about trying to make you feel good about yourself or express that feeling to others. Our messaging is really consistent.”