A LETTER FROM OUR FOUNDER
We need leaders right now,
And you are one.
And you are one.
An open letter to our employees, our customers, partners, business leaders and friends.
I keep hearing words like scary, uncertain, crazy, unprecedented and they are all accurate descriptions of what we’re going through right now. As the country grinds to a halt and all of us stock up on food and medicine, keep our loved ones close and manage our lives as best we can while “social distancing,” it’s hard to have perspective.
I’ve been thinking about what to say to you, our incredible employees, our supply chain partners, my fellow business leaders, my friends and my neighbors. It all seems to fall a little flat. But for what it’s worth, I’m just going to speak from the heart.
I care deeply about my family — my wife, Alice (who is my foundation), and my three young children. Do we have enough medicine? What if they get sick? How can we do our best to keep ourselves healthy? I’ve also been thinking about my parents a lot lately. Will they be okay? How can I help them? They are all on the east coast, older, and there is a country between us and them.
I also care about our employees. Our San Francisco team began working from home last week, but that isn’t a complete solution because our whole company can’t do this. We’re a little different than most Bay Area businesses in that we have an office and employees in San Francisco, but also a large manufacturing team in the Carolinas and retail stores in New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. We don’t all have the luxury of working from home. What happens when schools close and our employees don’t have childcare? How will we support them?
I love this country and I feel blessed every day that I’m an American. We are so diverse, so dynamic and so filled with a spirit of independence, standing up for what’s right and solving problems — together. We have so much freedom, so much opportunity and so much to be thankful for. But we have problems too. Big problems. And the government can’t or won’t always solve them. During uncertain times like this it can be striking how inadequate and frail our elected leaders can seem. But in my opinion, what makes this country so incredible is the strength of its people. Us. We built this country and we will provide the leadership and the courage to get through this.
I am a belligerent optimist. I’ve had a bit of struggle in my life and I’ve always tried to tackle it like a fighter in the ring. Head on. Family challenges, business challenges, overweight challenges and a lifelong feeling that I’m not quite good enough have probably provided fuel for that fire. But at my core, I believe we are all here to make the world better, that it’s the struggle that makes us stronger. That’s my orientation today too.
To my fellow business leaders, let’s not let up. Let’s lead. Let’s work together. Let’s work harder than ever. Let’s support one another. Let’s come together to work through what will be a difficult financial ride. It may take a month or a year, but eventually this will end. Let’s act in a way that we will look back and be proud of how we carried ourselves.
To the American Giant staff, let’s take care of our people. Let’s continue to innovate, continue to make clothes we are proud of – clothes made by people we know and care about. Let’s look after our suppliers and hope they look after us. Let’s continue to optimize our supply chain, so we can continue to produce in this great country and in some small way inoculate ourselves from the complex, global, fragile supply chain that our contemporaries are currently stuck in. And let’s provide an example to them of another, perhaps better way.
To all of you (and me), let’s do our part, even if it doesn’t feel right, or the “tough” thing to do. We owe it to the more vulnerable among us. Let’s wash our hands. All the time and vigorously. Work from home if you can. Avoid group gatherings. Don’t travel unless it’s critical. Stay in touch with those that are isolated. Call your parents. Let them hear your voice and see the kids. Hug your children. Tell people you love them. Stay optimistic and look ahead. We need leaders right now, and you are one. This is a good moment to let that leader shine.
Thank you for believing in us and for being part of our mission. We’re grateful for the legions of American Giants who understand what we’re trying to do every day. Today is a great day to be Giant.
Take care of yourselves and your family.