” When [Covid] hit, 50% of our business was wholesale… and that business died in a rush, ”Life is Good co-founder and CEO Bert Jacobs said Tuesday at CNBC’s Small Business Playbook event.
“We were in a situation where we were facing bankruptcy, and we had to reduce at least half of our staff. That’s when we said… let’s get really offensive. Let’s make this stuff to order, and see what happens. “
Instead of ordering shirts, sweaters, hats and other accessories in bulk already printed with logos, slogans and other designs, Life is Good started ordering batches of blank items last year. , explained the CEO. Then, monitoring consumer sentiment, he began printing on-demand inventories containing phrases about staying home and quarantining, wearing masks and other trends related to the pandemic.
“We started talking about anything that was culturally relevant, which at the time was a lot of tough stuff, but we tried to keep it light,” Jacobs said.
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“2020 ended up being the best top line we’ve ever had in 27 years, and the strongest bottom line,” Jacobs said. (The private company did not provide exact sales figures.)
“2020 has shown us how we should run our business,” he said, adding that sales in 2021 “were still growing like crazy” because Life is Good is sticking to the business principles it took over. over the past few months.
“We work for the consumer, and everyone has to do it,” Jacobs explained. ” The [retailers] who survive will be those who listen intently and capture the data. … The consumer gives you the answers. ”
There is, however, a sense of renewed optimism that demand is starting to rebound as consumers leave their homes and prepare to socialize again. Americans will be returning to work, in droves, in the coming months, and families are looking to book long-awaited summer vacations.
“It really is a community of rational optimists,” said Jacobs. “I say rational optimists because we recognize that there are challenges in the world… that it is difficult… but we decide when we wake up in the morning to focus on what is good in our lives, what is. good in the world, more than what’s wrong with the world. ”