Everyone has a Levi’s story and Chip Bergh is no exception.
The president and chief executive officer of Levi Strauss & Co. related that after graduating from college he joined the Army, and on a break, he traveled to Germany on a Eurorail pass. He spent the night in a youth hostel and like most young people, washed his Levi’s jeans by wearing them in the shower. He took his wallet out of his pocket and laid it on the windowsill and hung his jeans up to dry before heading off to bed.
Bergh woke with a start, realizing that he’d left his wallet in the shower and raced back into the bathroom. “The wallet was there, but the Levi’s were gone,” he said. “Levi’s were as good as cash back then,” and the older they were, the more valuable they became.
The brand traces its roots to 1853 when Levi Strauss, a Bavarian immigrant, traveled west during the Gold Rush and quickly realized that the miners and railroad laborers needed pants that could stand up to the rigors of their work. So he created the patented, riveted blue jean. “It was America’s original start-up,” Bergh said.
The brand spent decades in a growth
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