The German founder of Levis Strauss learned English at a young age, which certainly helped his transition to doing business in America. Similarly, we can provide German lessons here in London to help you trade in Germany without even having to leave your office. Read on about how Levis Strauss did it:
Löeb Strauss, who later became known as Levi, was born into a Jewish German family in Buttenheim, Bavaria in 1829. After the death of his father, Levi along with his mother and two sisters moved to New York, America in 1847. There they were reunited with Levi’s two older brothers who had set up a dry goods business which Levi joined.
The 1849 gold rush in California caused many people to head ‘out west’ to make their fortunes, and San Francisco became a trading hub for this enormous influx of population. In 1853 Levi Strauss caught a steamship to this city, through which passed 300,000 ‘forty niners’, and set up his own wholesale company selling dry goods, fabric and clothing to small shops.
In 1872 one of Levi’s customers, Nevada tailor Jacob Davis, contacted Levi. He regularly bought denim cloth from him for his own clients who were using it, among other things, to reinforce their trousers which tended to wear in the same places. Jacob developed a way to prevent some of this wear by using metal rivets on the pockets and the fly seam.
Unfortunately Jacob could not afford to pay for the patent so he wrote to Levi asking if he could pay the fee and go into partnership with him. Levi agreed and the next year they were granted a joint patent for the riveted design.
Originally the trousers were made from canvas but this was later changed to a blue-dyed denim which could hide stains better. What were to become known as blue jeans were born. They were to become one of the most durable and enduring articles of clothing.
Levi Strauss died at home in San Francisco in 1902 and, as he had never married, he left the company to his nephews. However, his name lives on in the company he founded and on the millions of products sold throughout the world every year.
The timber framed house, built in 1687 in Buttenheim and where Levi was born, is now the Levi Strauss Museum and details his early life in Germany as well as his better known career in America.