Levi Strauss

Maker of jeans and casual wear.

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1155 Battery Street
San Francisco, CA 94111
Employees: 10,500
CEO: John Anderson
Privately held

Website: http://www.levistrauss.com

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Levi Strauss is best known as the creator of jeans, the denim pants that millions of people wear worldwide. The company has become one of the best-known clothing brands in the world selling both jeans and casual wear. It sells products in 55,000 retail stores under Levi's, Dockers and Levi-Strauss Signature brands in over 110 countries, including 138 company-owned stores and more than 1,100 franchised stores around the world.

The company is privately held by descendants of the family of Levi Strauss. Shares of company stock are not publicly traded. Shares of Levi Strauss Japan K.K., the company's Japanese affiliate, are publicly traded in Japan.

Over the past several years, the company has undergone a significant transformation which include:

- Revamping the core Levi's and Dockers product lines to make products more innovative, market-relevant and appealing to consumers.
- Improving speed to market and responsiveness to changing consumer preferences.
- Launching the Levi Strauss Signature brand for value-conscious consumers in North America and Asia.
- Expanding our licensing programs to offer more products that complement our core brand product ranges.
- Improving the economics of Levi's and Dockers brands for retail customers.
- Strengthening the management team and attracting top talent to key positions around the world.
- Enhancing global sourcing and product innovation capabilities.
- Reducing cost of goods and operating expenses.
- Implementing a new business planning and performance model that clarifies roles, responsibilities and accountabilities and improves our operational effectiveness.

The company has three geographic divisions: Levi Strauss, North America (LSNA), Levi Strauss Europe (LSE) and Asia Pacific Division (APD).
- Regional headquarters located in San Francisco, Brussels and Singapore
- Product designers located primarily in Belgium, Japan, Korea and the United States
- Global sourcing headquarters in Singapore.

Levi Strauss has more than 10,500 employees worldwide:
- 3,920 in North America
- 3,500 in Europe
- 3,200 in Asia Pacific

In fiscal 2007, the company had sales of $4.4 billion and net income of $460 million.


When news of the California Gold Rush in the 1850s made its way east, Levi Strauss moved from New York to San Francisco to make his fortune: not by panning gold, but by selling supplies to the throngs of miners who arrived daily in the big city to outfit themselves before heading off to the gold fields. Levi was from Bavaria and in January 1853 at the age of 24, he became an American citizen. In March he arrived in bustling, noisy San Francisco, establishing a dry-goods business under his own name and also serving as the West Coast representative of the family's New York firm.

One of Levi's many customers was a tailor named Jacob Davis. Originally from Latvia, Jacob lived in Reno, NV, and 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, such as on the pocket corners and at the base of the button fly.
These riveted pants were an instant hit with Jacob's customers and he worried that someone might steal this great idea. He decided he should apply for a patent on the process, but didn't have the $68 that was required to file the papers. He needed a business partner and he immediately thought of Levi Strauss.

Jacob wrote to Levi to suggest that the two men hold the patent together. Levi, who was an astute businessman, saw the potential for this new product and agreed to Jacob's proposal. On May 20, 1873, the two men received patent #139,121 from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. This day is considered to be the official "birthday" of blue jeans.

Holding a patent on this process meant that for nearly 20 years, Levi Strauss & Co. was the only company allowed to make riveted clothing until the patent went into the public domain around 1891. When the patent expired, dozens of garment manufacturers began to imitate the original riveted clothing made popular by Levi Strauss & Co.

The company launched the Dockers brand of khaki clothing in 1986.


Levi Strauss & Co. offers a total compensation package that includes a competitive salary, short- and long-term incentive plans and a wide array of benefits.

We recognize the importance of time and flexibility to employees and have work schedules and time off programs designed to help our employees better manage their workload and personal needs.

Updated April 6, 2008