First things first…Wishing you all a wonderfully happy New Year! This week I’d like to share a random thought that came to mind as I was ironing a pair of jeans. I just started wondering….when, where and how did jeans ever originate? With a little help from Google, I got the story which inspires me to write today’s nugget.
In 1853, the California gold rush was in full swing, and everyday items were in short supply. Levi Strauss, a 24-year-old German immigrant, left New York for San Francisco with a small supply of dry goods with the intention of opening a branch of his brother’s New York dry goods business. Shortly after his arrival, a prospector wanted to know what Mr. Levi Strauss was selling. When Strauss told him he had rough canvas to use for tents and wagon covers, the prospector said, “You should have brought pants!,” saying he couldn’t find a pair of pants strong enough to last. Levi Strauss had the canvas made into waist overalls. Miners liked the pants, but complained that they tended to chafe. Levi Strauss substituted a twilled cotton cloth from France called “serge de Nimes.” The fabric later became known as denim and the pants were nicknamed blue jeans after the sailors from Genoa in Italy who first wore them.
One of Levi’s customers was a Reno Nevada- based Latvian tailor by the name of Jacob Davis. He regularly purchased bolts of cloth from the wholesale house of Levi Strauss & Co. Among Jacob’s customers was a difficult man who kept ripping the pockets of the pants that Jacob made for him. Jacob tried to think of a way to strengthen the man’s trousers, and one day hit upon the idea of putting metal rivets at the points of strain. These riveted pants were an instant hit with Jacob’s customers and he along with Levi Strauss co patented the process of putting rivets in pants for strength. On May 20, 1873, they received US patent no.139,121. That day is now considered to be the official “birthday” of blue jeans.
We can see that what started out as “unwanted” canvas was transformed little by little into “much in demand” pants that is today a staple of everybody’s wardrobe and even a key element in seasonal trends and fashion around the world.
The same thing is applicable to our lives. Very few of us get things on golden platters. For the majority of us, as we surge ahead and face obstacles in life, it is going to be our ability to see the hidden opportunity instead of the glaring impossibility that will actually determine our success. In other words, the trick is not to avoid all mistakes but to see how we can make our mistakes work for us.
Have an awesome week!