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From Passion to Profits: Pura Vida Bracelets

Saturday May 09, 2015 9:31 AM

“The pura vida lifestyle is embodied by the enjoyment of a life lived slowly, the celebration of good fortune, and the refusal to take anything for granted. It’s about being free and living life to the fullest; it’s an attitude.” 

The perfect accessory is one that is as subtle as it is sophisticated.

Amidst an era of ‘slow fashion‘, where consumers are more concerned with the preparation, production, planning, and proficiency of quality made merchandise, many brands have begun to realize the importance of having more responsibility of how they make their products and in what manner that product can in turn do good for other people.

About five years ago, Griffin Thall and Paul Goodman took a five week trip to Costa Rica as a couple of recent college graduates from San Diego State University.

Right then, Pura Vida Bracelets was born.

The vacation was quickly turned into a business endeavor as their inspiration for a fashion brand became a reality.

While on the trip, Griffin and Paul visited a small community in Costa Rica where they crossed paths with two men named Jorge and Joaquin who made their living by selling colorful, hand-made bracelets.

At the time Jorge and Joaquin didn’t have much.

They lived in a single room with three beds shared by several other members of their family.

After seeing this, Paul and Griffin figured not only to create an entrepreneurial opportunity but to also give Jorge and Joaquin the largest order for bracelets they had ever been able to make.

Paul and Griffin asked to buy 400 bracelets in order to take back to the United States; the deal was settled and they all got to work.

Soon after Paul and Griffin returned to the states, this unique friendship had transformed into an instinctive business relationship.

Once they had the bracelets in America, then came the question for Paul and Griffin to answer in terms of what to do with the 400 bracelets.

They went over to put the bracelets into a bowl at a local boutique.

Not long after, all 400 bracelets were sold out.

The simple mystique of the bracelets gave an aesthetic that was unlike many other types of accessories and resonated well with a variety of consumers.

“Pura Vida” (pu·ra vi·da) means “pure life” in Spanish; beyond its translation is the intelligibility of its culture.

The style and look of each bracelet is straight forward with underlying complexities of color arrangement, combinations, and pairing options with other Pura Vida accessories.

Each bracelet is hand-made with extensive concentration and purpose representing the culture of Costa Rica specifically, the village from where Jorge and Joaquin are now able to provide a better life for those in need.

The hard work that goes into making each bracelet represents the dedication and respect for the beauty of their land.

What makes Pura Vida different than any other traditional company?
We sell hand-made bracelets from Costa Rica and provide jobs to over 80 local artisans. We also work with over 160 different charities and have donated over $500,000 since we started.

When was Pura Vida founded?
July 2010

Who are the driving forces behind Pura Vida?
Our fans.

Pura Vida means “pure life” in Spanish. What is the main focus of that statement and in what exact ways does Pura Vida hope to achieve this lifestyle?
We strive to live every day to the fullest and not take anything for granted. Pura Vida is a direct representation of how I live my life as well as the way I want my brand portrayed. We are a very laid back, beach-inspired lifestyle brand. Pura Vida is more than just a saying it truly does represent a lifestyle.

How did you come up with the name Pura Vida? Is there any particular significance?
My partner and I took a surf trip to Costa Rica 5 years ago and we liked how people used that phrase. Similar to how people use the word “Aloha!” in Hawaii.

Where is Pura Vida based out of?
We are based out of La Jolla, CA. We sell our products in 3,500+ retail stores world-wide and are distributed in over 10 countries.

Why should people support Pura Vida? Is it more a point of pride behind your brand or what it is the brand is able to achieve that is able to mark its true success?
I feel that people should support Pura Vida because of what we represent. Pure life just as it should be. We provide jobs to skilled artisans who would not have had the opportunity otherwise. We donate to charity as other people would not be able to. We do all of this through the sale of simple string bracelets.

Would you say that Pura Vida is more than just a merchandising company? If so, would you go so far as to say that the company’s focus is on more issues than just accessories?
Pura Vida is a lifestyle brand that specializes in accessories. Yes, our goal is to provide more jobs to our team in Costa Rica and to donate more each year to our charity partners. Our products are simply a souvenir of our journey.

What would you like to tell younger generations about creating unique identities for themselves?
I would tell them to find something they like and something they are good at and focus on just that. Don’t listen to all the noise and negative comments out there. Follow your dreams and stick to just that. If people want to create change and do that with a brand and I would say go for it. What a better way to make an impact than with your own idea.

Is there anything that our readers at RYOT can look forward to coming out of Pura Vida in the near future?
We have TONS of new styles coming out over the rest of this year. New styles, new categories, and new creative branding to follow up with every piece we release. Big things to come, so make sure to follow us on Instagram!

If you could describe Pura Vida in one word, what would that word be?

– Griffin Thall (Co-Founder, Pura Vida)

This article is brought to you by our partners at RYOT. Click here to view the original article on RYOT.org



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