When I first heard that Kitty Hawk Kites would host John and Bert Jacobs, cofounders of the Life is Good Company, for Memorial Day weekend, I felt apprehensive. I secretly wondered if meeting them would make me less a fan of the brand. That they would be less than what I thought they should be. You would expect that the owners of a company as positive and energetic as Life is Good would have to be really positive and energetic. The last thing I wanted to find out was that this company, respected for doing good things and breathing positivity into an increasingly negative world, was being run by a couple of opportunists whose optimism was only dollar-deep. I just didn’t want to be disappointed.
And I wasn’t. Not by a long shot. They’re not opportunists; they’re real optimists. And they didn’t just start Life is Good; they live it.
John and Bert Jacobs
There’s no pretense and no false formality about those two. If you didn’t know who they were, you would find nothing in their personality that would clue you into the fact that they’ve been as successful as they’ve been. You won’t find so much as a hint of arrogance or the slightest tinge of snobbery. They’ve got their heads on their shoulders. And did I mention that John can do a pretty impressive Southern accent? Not bad for a guy from Boston. They both had a good time hang gliding and kiteboarding, too.
One thing the brothers like to tell people is, “Optimism will take you anywhere.” The first time I heard the phrase, it jumped into my brain and got stuck there. I can’t get it out. Nor can I find one reason to believe it’s anything but absolutely true. Optimism has certainly taken John and Bert Jacobs a few places. They went from hawking t-shirts from the back of a van to managing a wildly successful business with a loyal international following. They’ve produced optimism-inspiring goods that speak to remarkably diverse segments of the world’s population.
You’re just as likely to see Jake’s grinning face on a burly biker’s t-shirt while he’s tearing down the highway as you are to see their caps on kids whose hair has been surrendered in their valiant fight to defeat cancer. What they sell and what they believe is relevant to every walk of life, every human condition, and every season. Because they sell a chance to notice and celebrate all that’s right with the world. And when you get past the news reports, the talking-head shows, and the crime section of your local newspaper, you’ll find that there’s a whole lot right with the world.
Kitty Hawk Kites and Life is good are kindred spirits. I think I speak for all of us when I say I’m more proud of Kitty Hawk Kites’ connection to the Life is Good brand than I was before John and Bert came to visit. And I’m also proud to be able to announce that Kitty Hawk Kites will donate $50 from every full-week rental of the Life is Good condo at Waves Village to the Life is Good Kids Foundation. One more way we’re helping to spread good vibes and do our part to help make the world a better, more friendly place.
Remember – optimism can take you anywhere. Where are you going to go?
Originally posted on May 31, 2011. Updated on Jan. 22, 2020.