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PART 3 Managing People > CHAPTER 44 Create Trust

CHAPTER 44

Create Trust

LEARNING FROM

Levi Strauss

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In 1847, Levi Strauss (1829–1902) emigrated from Germany to the United States, where he first settled in New York. When the gold rush started, he followed the hordes to California, but instead of prospecting for gold, he made a smart decision to set up a textile wholesaling business. Between 1850 and 1870 he very successfully expanded that business, repeatedly enlarging his company, which was based in San Francisco. At the time, gold prospectors were faced with the problem that the pockets of their work pants kept ripping open under the weight of the nuggets they found, so the tailor Jacob Davis came up with a clever solution: he used copper thread to rivet together the pants’ lining. Davis, who bought his materials from Levi Strauss in San Francisco, suggested that the two of them take out a joint patent on the copper-riveted denim pants, which were proving extremely popular, because he could not afford to pay the $68 fee himself. On May 20, 1873, Strauss and Davis were finally awarded the patent for copper-riveted jeans. That date is generally considered the day on which Levi Strauss & Company was born, and thus began the success story of a product that has become an integral part of everyday life today.


  

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