"Life is Good appoints president" by Jon Chesto Globe Staff July 12, 2016
Life is Good chief executive Bert Jacobs and his team interviewed at least 40 people to take over responsibility of the company’s day-to-day operations. In the end, though, he didn’t need to go far to pick his new president.
The Boston-based apparel company, best known for its cheery T-shirts, is announcing Wednesday that Bert Jacobs and his brother John appointed Lisa Tanzer, the company’s top marketing officer, as its new president. Jacobs, who launched the company 22 years ago with his brother, is eager to devote more time to creative work.
The company famously got its start in 1994 when the two brothers were brainstorming, trying hard to find a viable business model for designing and selling T-shirts. They printed 48 shirts featuring Jake, the company’s smiling mascot, and started selling them at a street fair in Cambridge. By noon, they were all gone.
The company now generates roughly $100 million a year in revenue — Life is Good is privately owned, so the brothers won’t disclose a precise number — and employs about 150 people, largely at its headquarters in Boston’s Fort Point section and at a distribution center in New Hampshire. The two brothers remain majority owners.
Tanzer joined Life is Good a year ago as head of marketing after working as an independent strategy and marketing consultant. Jacobs said she quickly began offering useful advice for other aspects of the business. And Jacobs said he liked the fact that she worked at several big consumer companies, such as Gillette and Staples, in the 1990s.
Tanzer has longstanding ties with the company, serving as a board member at the Life is Good Kids Foundation and a predecessor nonprofit for more than two decades.
“She’s already got our trust,” Bert Jacobs said. “The chemistry between she and my brother and I and the rest of the team is fantastic. That’s a big, ugly question mark off the table when you’re hiring a top executive.”