Levi and Strauss & Co

Topics: Jeans, Trousers, Levi Strauss & Co. Pages: 2 (831 words) Published: November 30, 2012
Levi Strauss & Co. is a flourishing business. Since the early days, it has been a leader in the garment industry. The original and most famous Levi Strauss product is blue jeans. Jeans have become desirable and even fashionable clothing for not only miners, farmers, and cowboys, but also for movie stars, executives, women, children, and teenagers from all over the world. Throughout its history, however, the company has researched and developed a number of other products. The company now markets a wide range of clothing and accessories, all under the brand name Levi’s. Many new Levi products have been launched over the years. Some of these have succeeded beautifully, but others have flopped completely. The company is still best known, however, as the maker of Levi jeans, the pants that are guaranteed to shrink1, wrinkle, and fade2. In 1954, flushed with the success of the cotton twill pants it had introduced a few years earlier, Levi brought out a line of permanent press (no-iron) slacks. Within six months, 5 out of every 100 pairs sold had been returned, and Levi had to admit it didn’t have the right fabric for permanent press. Fifteen years later, as the company was planning its major expansion, it hit on a couple of equally dramatic flops. First was the denim bathing suit—which, when wet, weighed the wearer down to the point of imminent drowning. Next was a line of disposable (throw-away) sheets and towels. These, Levi discovered, were not high on the consumer’s list of priorities. Unable to interest hotels in the product, the company was saved when the factory that made the sheets burned down. Levi absorbed the $250,000 loss. Eventually Levi created six new divisions, ranging from jeans to accessories and including a sizable effort in women’s sportswear, Levi’s for Gals. The diversification3 worked. In the mid-1970s Levi’s sales hit the billion-dollar mark, having taken 125 years to reach that milestone. Four years later sales hit $2 billion. In 1979 the...
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