A Mom's Go-To Dinner Question Resulted In These Brothers Building A $100 Million Business

A family tradition became a family enterprise.

The Life Is Good T-shirt company ranks among the most recognizable — and uplifting — apparel brands today, and according to its sibling co-founders, the $100 million company-with-a-message started at the family dinner table. As reported by Business Insider, following a family car accident, mom Joan Jacobs asked brothers Bert and John each night to share the good things that had happened over the course of the day.


"As simple as mom's words were, they changed the energy in the room," the entrepreneurs write in a newly published book, Life Is Good. "Before we knew it, we were all riffing on the best, funniest, or most bizarre part of our day."

That habit of looking on the bright side turned into a huge business — one that, according to Forbes, sells products in 4,500 American retail stores and 30 countries worldwide  — and brought the brothers closer together.

"Our mission is to spread the power of optimism. All other decisions feed that simple mission — through our business and integrated nonprofit (The Life is Good Kids Foundation)," the pair explained to Forbes in 2015. "We are brothers, so the business in a way is sort of an extension of the bunk bed years and the start-up years in the van. We can make each other laugh like crazy, or occasionally drive each other crazy."

The bottom line is important, of course, they added, but so is the company's purpose: "The best part is the mission trumps all. Our mutual love and trust runs deep because we know we can count on each other when it's all on the line."

Cover image via Alex Brylov / Shutterstock.


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