Over the last few months, we’ve been able to maintain a close digital connection with you (our dedicated community and fans) during this difficult time. Our 5:01 Live program brought you a bit of joy at 5:01pm San Francisco time every day with live music, entertainment and interviews from some of our favorite artists and friends — DaniLeigh, Snoop Dogg, Brett Young, and so many more. The program culminated on the birthday of the blue jean, May 20th — when we brought you (our global community) a full day of 501® Live entertainment. Live performances by Ari Lennox, Swae Lee and so many more, meaningful conversations with the likes of icon Bob Weir and Denim Tears’ Tremaine Emory and super fun DIYs with our friends Lily Aldridge and Leo Mahalo and ZHC. We worked overtime with our collaborators and partners New Balance, Super Mario, and GOLF WANG to bring you exciting new products during this time — all of which sold out immediately.
As we continue to work hard to stay connected digitally (because we are loving all of the excitement around our social programming) — we have started the next phase, reconnecting and the reopening of our stores. People are lining up at our stores in Germany and coming back in to shop gradually but persistently in China and Japan. And we’re starting to see the same thing here in the U.S. We are rolling out new processes and social distancing and cleaning policies across the globe in all of our stores. Our staff has been prepared to wear masks and gloves and we ask that you wear face coverings when you come to shop with us so that everyone can enjoy a safe environment. Our stores are cleaned more frequently, and high trafficked areas are cleaned more deeply. Fitting rooms are one area that we pay particular attention to cleaning thoroughly and often. We are installing sneeze guards at check out and implementing tools for contactless payment. We limit the number of people in our stores based on local guidelines and are using a quarantine process for items that shoppers try on before being returned to the sales floor. Our intention is to ensure that you feel safe shopping in our stores and can enjoy your time with us, worry free. If you’re not comfortable coming inside, we are offering curbside pick-up in select doors with plans to expand the service further.
We’re taking care of our staff as well. We encourage any staff member who isn’t feeling well to stay home and ask them to self-screen for symptoms before coming in to work. And they are all, full time and hourly employees alike, given paid sick leave to ensure they don’t have to choose between being safe and getting paid.
We’ve not yet returned to the office in San Francisco. But we’re beginning to prepare for that as well. When I do come back into the office, I’ll be wearing a mask (Levi’s!). We started making and selling them in the last few weeks. The first batch sold out like that! More are coming. Our mission was to make them lightweight, comfortable, reusable, easy to take on and off. And of course accessible. Given that face coverings are required in many places and recommended in most, they shouldn’t be unaffordable or hard to obtain. Now you can get them from your favorite brand. Trusted and essential. Everything Levi’s is known for. At the same time, we’re making a $75,000 donation to Doctors Without Borders, helping to provide necessary personal protective equipment for doctors responding to medical emergencies around the globe. You can go on levi.com right now and pre-order. But get there soon. They go fast! (Levi’s®️ South Africa will have masks available in the coming months. Watch this space!)
I’m also starting to think a lot about what matters beyond this crisis. I’m starting to think about the deep-seated issues that existed long before the crisis. Much for what we fight for here at Levi’s – namely equality – has been brought to the fore in the last three months. Underserved communities have suffered disproportionately during the COVID-19 crisis. Communities of color have become infected and have died at significantly higher rates and have disproportionally lost jobs at a higher rate than white communities.
Long before the current crisis, the Levi Strauss Foundation invested $7.3 million over the last 10 years in the Pioneers in Justice initiative, which supports leading next generation civil rights activists and community leaders working on the frontlines of social change – primarily in marginalized communities. Leaders like Zach Norris of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, an organization that mobilizes black, brown and low-income people to build power and prosperity. And Pastor Mike McBride from Live Free, an organization committed to reducing gun violence and ending mass incarceration.
In addition to this ongoing work, during the COVID-19 crisis Live Free has initiated a campaign – “Masks for the People“ – working to secure PPE for essential workers, newly incarcerated individuals and vulnerable residents within communities of color. Support for this effort is part of the Levi Strauss & Co. and the Levi Strauss Foundation’s $3.0 million COVID-19 relief fund.
Furthermore, the Levi Strauss Foundation provided a $50,000 grant to Chinese for Affirmative Action to help them respond to anti-Asian bullying and hate crimes. When the virus first broke out in Wuhan, China, anti-Asian sentiment spread seemingly as quickly as the virus. This work – supporting equality and fighting against discrimination – remains paramount for us here at Levi’s. We also remain committed to getting out the vote and sustainability — both of which you will hear more from me on in the next few weeks.
We’re all tentative about heading back into the world and we want to do so responsibly and carefully. We all long for a bit of normalcy and fun, because we are all human. We know that life is precious and worth fighting for, but we also know that life is about the little things – a meal with friends, a live concert. And the small joys include, every once in a while, a new pair of jeans. Something timeless and long lasting, that will be worn as we experience life – the ups and downs, the joys and triumphs, the boring bits, too. What’s better than a perfectly fitting pair of jeans, that molds to fit us over time, and moves through life with us as we journey onwards?
Join us as we re-enter the world. To a new phase of normal. Let’s rejoice in the world, in each other. This is what we fought for. This is what life is about.
Chief Marketing Officer