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Building a Business on Authenticity

Photo by Dominik Hofbauer on Unsplash

In the early days of their business, Bert and John Jacobs of Life Is Good faced a common problem for many entrepreneurs: they looked young and unprofessional. Despite their authentic spirit and optimism, they struggled to be taken seriously by potential customers. So, they made a decision that many would consider a savvy business move: they donned business suits and ties at a trade show in Atlanta. However, they quickly realized that this was a mistake. The attire felt phony and did not represent who they truly were.

Fortunately, a wise buyer from a West Coast shop gave them a valuable lesson in authenticity. When he saw them in suits, he asked, "What's with the suits?" and urged them to "Know who you are and act like it." This moment was transformative for the Jacobs brothers and their approach to branding and running their company. They learned that true success comes not from trying to be someone else but from embracing and expressing one's unique identity. From that day forward, they have remained committed to their authentic selves and have never worn a suit again.

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