“Happy New Year to you all,” Levi Strauss wrote in a personal letter he penned in 1891. More than 125 years ago, the Levi Strauss & Co. founder exchanged these pleasantries just as we do today, bidding goodbye to the past and welcoming the new.
Levi wrote the letter to a business acquaintance, Mrs. Poppe, who operated a small shop in Sonoma, California where she sold Levi Strauss & Co. products and other items. The two enjoyed a friendly relationship and Mrs. Poppe had surprised Levi with a case of wine for the holidays. “Two bottles were sampled at our table,” Levi thanked her in his note and then complimented, “California need not feel ashamed at what you are producing.”
In response, Levi forwarded Mrs. Poppe a brand-new dress “by express” as a “souvenir of the New Year.”
Exchanging personal notes and holiday gifts was one hallmark of Levi’s work. It insured lasting relationships and ongoing associations. It was not only a key to his business acumen, but demonstrated his genuine interest in people—ideals that continue to inspire our business today here at LS&Co. Happy New Year!