March 21, 2015

Lovable Lingerie

In 1926, Frank and Gussie Garson founded the Lovable Co., a maker of lingerie, mainly bras. Their son Dan Garson became company chairman after his service in World War II and Dan’s son, Frank II, joined the business later. In the almost 9 decades that this company was in business, it employed over 3,000 workers across the globe.

Right from the start, the Garsons believed in and maintained an integrated work force, which was unheard of during that time. Most, if not all, businesses were segregated and wouldn't dare venture into integration before the Civil Rights Movement occurred. According to Dan’s wife Charlotte Rosen Garson, “Dan and his father felt that unless you raised the whole profile of the black community, this would never be a successful city or country. They believed that in order to be successful, everyone had to work together and they were going to give the opportunity to do so. They embraced racial differences and found business partnerships and friendships along the way.”

Dan and his wife Charlotte had the privilege of meeting with Martin Luther King Jr. for dinner. They had the opportunity to talk over a meal together and joined hands to sing “We Shall Overcome.” They had a mutual dream of equality and Dan made sure it would be a priority in the business world, even if nobody else was doing it.
Dan didn't choose to advertise his beliefs on integration, but he is still admired for being one of the first business owners to stand up for equality. He made strides toward integration before anyone else was doing it and has become a part of Atlanta history. His support for the black community and for integrated businesses was probably looked down upon, but he didn't let that stop him. He was an advocate for education, equality and opportunity for all Americans, which showed itself in his huge support of the United Negro College Fund. 
Despite the Garson’s unpopular, colorblind approach to business, the company was extremely successful. Throughout the 80’s and 90’s the company was one of the largest privately held bra-makers and was the sixth- largest overall. During its best years of success, Lovable Co. had annual sales of about $70 million. Their products were sold at stores such as Wal-Mart, J.C. Penney Co., Sears, K-Mart and more.

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