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Have you ever thought to your self, “Now that’s the business I would have started if I would have started a business?” Between my husband and I (with thanks to our weekly wine nights), we have at least a hundred of them. When we dream about business ideas, they seem to fall into three categories…first, there’s the business you came up with only to find out someone else already started it… For example, when we first started dating, David got really excited about this idea he had for a portable storage unit. The poor guy was absolutely crushed to see this in front of someone’s house…
And then there’s the business someone else started that you just know you would have eventually come up with and would have loved to run. Such was the case for me with a local business called Green Illuminations. They upcycle wine bottles into beautiful lanterns & luminaries as well as tumblers, plant holders and candles. It’s fun, brilliant and green. What’s more to like than these luminaries? or these succulent plant vases? or these simply chic candles? And finally there’s the business that you fall head over heals in love with and want to be a part of because of it’s brand, products and most importantly, the powerful story of how it came to be. You have likely heard of this popular graphic company:
What you may not have heard is the story of how Life is Good came to be. Brothers Bert and John Jacobs founded Life is Good in 1994 because they were tired of the media focusing only on the terrible things happening in our world. They wanted to create something that focused on what’s right about life.
According to an interview earlier this year in the Huffington Post, the brothers shared how the idea of their company came to be, “the media tends to prey on people’s fears simply because it sells. We wondered if there was room to create some symbol of optimism, a hero whose power is the way he views the world.”
This what prompted the drawing of the infamous Jake (the figure on all of their products). Jake wears a beret to show his open-mindedness, his smile shows that he always finds a reason to be happy, and his sunglasses to highlight that it can be cool to be optimistic. Meet my favorite version of Jake:
To gather public opinion, the brothers would throw a keg party, putting the figure of Jake up on the wall. They invited guests to write their ideas about Jake on the walls and gain valuable feedback from the public. When Jake went up on the wall, one person wrote “this guy’s got life figured out.” It was this concept was simplified into “Life is good.”
Creating a brand that so many people either identify with or hope to become, one that “represents somebody who’s not waiting for one day to be happy” is compelling enough to entice me to support their efforts. Icing on the cake is that they believe in social investment and donate 10 percent of net profits to charity which makes me feel good about where I am spending my dollars. But the fact that these brothers went from living in their van to owning a 100 Million dollar company is what seals the deal for me. Their story is filled with passion, hope, inspiration, and perseverance and I cannot help but smile to see their tagline, “your genuine neighborhood shoppe.”
John eloquently articulates a concept that I similarly shared when describing my own past, “A lot of human beings tend to think ‘when I get that promotion, when I finish school or get that big house or that car or meet the perfect mate, I’m going to be happy.’ Jake, whether he’s having a PB&J or hiking, truly appreciates what he has at that moment.”
Isn’t that how life should be?
Check out the hundreds of Life is Good products through my affiliate links which kick back a small commission. Maybe, just maybe I will be able to get some money for my wine fund!