Life is Good was on the verge of submitting for chapter safety final yr, in accordance with its CEO, however the retailer managed to overtake its enterprise technique in a matter of weeks to have its greatest yr ever through the Covid pandemic.
“When [Covid] hit, 50% of our enterprise was wholesale … and that enterprise died in a rush,” Life is Good co-founder and CEO Bert Jacobs stated Tuesday throughout CNBC’s Small Enterprise Playbook occasion.
“We had been in a scenario the place we had been going through chapter, and we had been going through having to chop at the least half of our workers. That is after we stated … let’s play offense actually laborious. Let’s produce these items to order, and let’s examine what occurs.”
As a substitute of ordering in bulk shirts, pullovers, hats and different equipment which are already printed with logos, slogans and different designs, Life is Good began ordering batches of clean gadgets final yr, the CEO defined. Then, monitoring shopper sentiment, it started printing stock on-demand that had phrases about staying dwelling and quarantining, carrying masks, and different pandemic-related traits.
“We began talking to no matter was culturally related, which on the time was plenty of tough issues, however we tried to maintain it mild,” Jacobs stated.
Bert Jacobs, Co-Founder and Chief Government Optimist of Life is sweet
Paul Morigi | CNBC
The technique clearly helped. Not solely did it support in boosting clients’ morale, however it was a monetary success story.
“2020 ended up being the very best prime line we have ever had in 27 years, and the strongest backside line,” Jacobs stated. (The privately held firm did not escape precise gross sales figures.)
“2020 confirmed us how we must be operating our enterprise,” he stated, including that gross sales in 2021 are nonetheless “rising like mad” as a result of Life is Good is sticking to the enterprise ideas that it picked up on through the previous few months.
“We’re working for the buyer, and all people’s received to try this,” Jacobs defined. “The [retailers] that survive are going to be those that pay attention carefully and seize the info. … The buyer offers you the solutions.”
Quite a lot of retailers weren’t as fortunate as Life is Good final yr, as they buckled underneath the pressures introduced on from the well being disaster. Dozens filed for chapter, and hundreds of retailer closures had been introduced by retail companies, many within the attire class.
There’s a renewed sense of optimism, nonetheless, that demand is starting to rebound as shoppers go away their houses and put together to socialize once more. People will likely be returning to work, in droves, within the months forward, and households need to ebook long-awaited summer time holidays.
“That is actually a neighborhood of rational optimists,” Jacobs stated. “I say rational optimists as a result of we acknowledge that there are challenges on this planet … that it is tough … however we resolve after we get up within the morning to deal with what’s proper with our lives, what’s proper with the world, greater than what’s unsuitable with the world.”