“Study how to do the most good, and let the pay take care of itself.”
In 1853 Levi Strauss was invited by his brother-in-law David Stern to help start a dry goods store in San Francisco during the gold rush. Levi packed goods onto a ship that sailed 17,000 miles from New York to California. During the trip he sold most of his goods to the passengers. In fact, the only item he had left was canvas material used to make tents. Upon his arrival in California, Levi was told, “You shoulda brought pants.” All the prospectors were wearing out their pants almost faster than they could dig. Levi immediately went to a tailor and had the man make pants from the remaining canvas in stock. Word spread about the sturdiness of Levi’s pants, and his inventory was soon sold out.
Levi then was able to get some heavy cloth from France called “serge de Nimes,” which was Americanized to “denim.” The original cloth was brown, but Levi dyed it indigo to make the color deep purple. Since the weight of their gold often ripped the prospectors’ pockets, Levi began riveting the pockets to the pants to give them added strength. Levi and tailor Jacob Davis patented the innovation in 1873. Levi’s business flourished, and he became a wealthy man. Until his death in 1902, Levi Strauss spent much of his wealth helping others, including the California School for the Deaf. He also provided scholarships to the University of California. Because Strauss was a bachelor when he died, he willed a considerable portion of his estate to orphanages and benevolent associations. Today, relatives descended from Strauss’s brother-in-law own the apparel company.
Look at the resources you have and determine what needs you can meet.