The success story of “The Father of Jeans” and founder of Levi’s

3 min readJul 9, 2022

On May 20, 1873, Levis Strauss created the first pair of blue jeans in the world. Over the decades, Hollywood stars and public stars have worn Levi’s jeans. It is a must-have fashion item in the wardrobes of people all around the world. The life of Levi Strauss is a perfect example of the “American Dream”. A man who became a U.S. citizen and built a successful enterprise through his hard work.

Originally named Loeb, Levi Strauss was born into a large family on February 26, 1829, in Bavaria, Germany. Living in Bavaria, he and his family experienced religious discrimination because they were Jewish. There were restrictions on where they could live and special taxes placed on them because of their religion. When he was 16 years old, Strauss lost his father to tuberculosis. He, his mother, and two sisters shifted to the United States two years later. The family reunited with Jonas and Louis, Strauss’s two older brothers, in New York. Jonas and Louis had already established a dry goods business and Levi went to work for them.

In 1853, Strauss went to sensational San Francisco looking for his fortune and big money. It was the high peak of the California Gold Rush that started in 1848. Most of the risky prospectors of gold mining in northern California became bankrupts and only few of them were lucky to grow rich. Levi Strauss became famous and wealthy. He was one of the wise moneymakers who provided goods and services to the miners of California. Firstly he initiated a dry goods wholesale house under his own name. “Levi Strauss & Co” used to import different dry goods — clothes, handkerchieves, rolls of fabric and so on.

The story of the blue jeans goes that both prospectors and miners were often complaining about the easily torn cotton trousers and pockets, that’s why the practical Levi decided to make solid overall pants for the miners and other workers to wear. Levi Strauss was sure that his “waist overalls” (the old name for jeans) would become very popular with miners, ranchers and farmers for their close-to-the-ground line of work. Strauss opened a “wonderful pants of Levi’s” factory in San Francisco. These hard-wearing overalls were fashioned by Levi from a sturdy fabric called serge, made in Nimes, France. Originally called serge de Nimes, the fabric later became known as ‘denim’. At first, they were made with a heavy canvas, and then the company switched to a denim fabric, which was dyed to blue.

Due to high demand, Levi Strauss & Co. opened multiple factories in San Francisco. The head of the company was Jacob Davis and Levi continued to run his trading house. He expanded his business interests over the years and his tough-and-rugged jeans helped make Strauss a millionaire. Ten years later the company had 450 employees, as well as 85 warehousemen, accountants, and sales representatives. On September 26, 1902, Levi Strauss died at his San Francisco home. The City of San Francisco declared that day a business holiday so that everybody could attend the funeral. He left his flourishing business to the four nephews — Jacob, Louis, Abraham and Sigmund Stern — and other family members.

Today, Levi’s is an international group of companies with roughly 11,000 employees worldwide, and Levi’s jeans are now available in over 100 countries. Levis Strauss is a true personification of the American dream. A migrant from Germany, through hard work, the willingness to take risks, and luck, Strauss became one of the most prominent figures in America. He lent his name to one of the best-known and best-loved U.S. products: Levi’s blue jeans.





Entrepreneur. A bibliophile with passion to write inspirational stories on selfmade millionaires.